U.S. lawmakers, governors, diplomats and faith leaders tout Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as a role model for fighting extremism, pursuing peace
Prominent civic, political and religious leaders across the country lauded the efforts of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA during its 68th Annual Convention this past weekend in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. More than 8,000 convention delegates, including 1,500 guests, attended the oldest and longest running Muslim convention in America to discuss efforts to combat extremism and the role of the new “True Islam” campaign in that effort.
Former Maryland Governor and U.S. Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley headlined the guest session and spoke to the audience about the work being done to end extremism. He said, “The True Islam campaign is a gift. It underscores the freedom of conscience, religion, charity, kindness, and generosity to strangers. These values have been demonstrated the world over by you.”
Ambassador Jackie Wolcott, Commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, who was overjoyed to attend the Muslim convention, discussed her expertise on the war against religious freedom. She stated, “Since your movement's founding, there has been no stronger voice against the rise of extremism and hatred than yours, nor has there been a stronger voice for the recognition that we cannot counter religious extremism of some without defending the religious freedom of all.”
The convention attendees also witnessed an unlikely speaker when Ted Hakey, Jr., a former Marine who shot at the Community’s mosque in Connecticut in November 2015, took the stage and explained why he was there. “Nobody is more surprised than me that I'm here today. I see the banner on the wall: Love For All, Hatred For None and I'm living proof that it works. Forgiveness, education, and Grace of God will overcome hatred every single time.” Since the mosque shooting, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has forgiven Mr. Hakey and he routinely attends the mosque and engages in fellowship with Muslims.