CALGARY, July 6 /CNW/ – The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, along with other distinguished guests, attended the banquet hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Canada to celebrate yesterday’s inauguration of the Baitun Nur Mosque. The mosque, one of the largest in North America, is a spectacular 48,000 square foot complex.
The mosque inauguration was particularly significant as it occurred during the centenary celebratory year of the establishment of the institution of Khilafat (Succession) in the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, as well as its re-establishment in the Islamic world-at-large. Both the inauguration and the banquet were graced by the presence of the current Khalifa of the Community, His Holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (may Allah strengthen his hands).
During his banquet address, His Holiness emphasized that the Baitun Nur Mosque will convey messages of peace, love and harmony. He encouraged the political, community and faith leaders in attendance to join with his Community in conveying these messages.
His Holiness explained that, according to the teachings of Islam, Muslims must defend the sanctity of all places of worship, which includes churches, synagogues and temples, as well as mosques. Causing harm to and forcing religious beliefs upon others are against the commandments of God and the true
concept of Islam.
His Holiness warned that the world’s arsenal of nuclear armaments and weapons of mass destruction have brought humanity to the precipice of destruction, and future generations will not forgive any failure to contain this arsenal. Humanity needs to turn towards a true concept of religion and
strive towards loving God. To love God is to selflessly love and serve humanity in order to seek God’s pleasure. The Baitun Nur Mosque will be a center for such love and service.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised the Community by stating, “Ahmadis are renowned for their devotion to peace, universal brotherhood and submission to the will of God, the core principles of true Islam. They are also renowned for working together to serve the greater good through social, health and education initiatives, wherever they live in the world, Ahmadis are renowned for participating in the larger community and peacefully co-existing with people of all faiths, languages and cultures.”
Prime Minister Harper also paid tribute to His Holiness by referring to him as a champion of peace and religious freedom. The Prime Minister stated, “We especially applaud the Khalifa for denouncing those who pervert faith by claiming it as a justification for violence. Calgarians, Albertans and Canadians will see the moderate, benevolent face of Islam in this mosque and the people who worship here. They will see your love for Canada and your patriotism, and they will see that just as Ahmadis have embraced Canada, Canada has embraced you.”
Also sitting at the banquet head table were the Right Honourable Stephane Dion (Leader of the Opposition), Honourable Deepak Obrai, Honourable Lorne Calvert (former Premier of Saskatchewan), Honourable Ron Stevens (Deputy Premier of Alberta), Don Morgan (Saskatchewan Minister of Justice), Honourable Greg Sorbara (former Ontario Minister of Finance), Dave Hayer (BC MPP), Mohammed Amiri (Alberta MPP), His Worship Dave Bronconnier (Mayor of Calgary), Her Worship Susan Fennell (Mayor of Brampton), His Worship Don Atchison (Mayor of Saskatoon) and Bishop Fred Henry. Total attendance consisted of 6 Members of Federal and Provincial Parliament, 20 MLA’s, 9 mayors, 20 councilors and
aldermen, along with community, faith and leaders and members of academia and the media.
The banquet was televised live around the world via the Community’s 24-hour satellite television service, Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA).
For more information, please visit www.baitunnur.org or www.ahmadiyya.ca or www.alislam.org