As an American Muslim mother of two, being born and raised in the suburbs of Connecticut to a typical middle-class family, I’m really as American as they come. As a Muslim, I follow the religion of Islam. I’m not talking about the Islam that’s portrayed on TV, but the true Islam which teaches “love and loyalty to one’s country as a part of faith.” Of course, as a Muslim who follows the true teachings of Islam by reading the Holy Quran, it’s hard for me to understand why society fears me.

There are endless stereotypes of Muslims today, whether it’s Donald Trump’s outrageous proposal to ban all Muslims or the media’s constant coverage of his hate-speech, it’s no wonder people are afraid. When people fear the unknown, they react and become protective, so I can’t blame society for their views towards Muslims. I’m not speaking for those hijackers, but as a true Muslim living in America who actually reads and follows the Holy Quran, anyone can see Islam teaches peace, love, and tolerance, luckily I chose to be Ahmadi Muslim, and we take things a step further because we enact those beliefs.

As Ahmadi Muslims, we are Muslims who believe in both Messiahs, Jesus of Nazareth and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. We believe him to be the second coming of Jesus. He notably declared, “Obedience to governmental authority is one of [Islam’s] imperatives” (Works and Speeches, Vol. I, p. 261), and “To entertain ill-will against a government under whom life is lived in freedom and there is complete security and religious obligations can be discharged to the full is a criminal step and not Jihad…” (British Government and Jihad).

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad heralded to fight the greater jihad, just as Jesus did, not by any sword or acts of violence but through intellectual dialogue, love, and a mutual understanding.

Today the Ahmadiyya Muslim community is guided by our beloved Fifth Khalifa of Islam, Mirza Masroor Ahmad. While the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is welcomed throughout countries across the world, Ahmadi Muslims have been facing persecution by other Muslims especially in Pakistan for over 100 years without receiving any justice from the government. Although this harsh reality is hard to digest, as Ahmadi Muslims we follow the sunnah or practice of the holy prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), despite what other Muslims believe about Ahmadis, he is our greatest example of a true Muslim.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) emulated the Holy Quran and through his example we are taught always to forgive, respect and love one another. As Ahmadi Muslims, we never seek to retaliate but bear with patience and continue to spread our message of “love for all hatred for none.”

We are encouraged to help others and to be productive members of society. Under the guidance of our Khalifa, our community has launched numerous international and national campaigns, whether it’s working with the American Red Cross to save lives or to educate society and combat youth radicalization, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community is always there to serve its country as well as mankind. Currently, we have launched a nationwide campaign called True Islam. On young and old can go on the site and endorse the 11 points True Islam teaches and not what these “religion hijackers” claim.

There are over 72 sects in Islam, it’s nice to know who the good guys are. I’m grateful to have chosen to be part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community who are living proof of True Islam. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community champions loyalty to one’s country, so let’s strive together in goodness and really “make America great again.”

Syeda Sana K. Shah-Mannan is the press and media representative for the Women’s Auxiliary of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Connecticut, Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque.

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