As Muslim Americans who believe in the Messiah Ahmad of Qadian, we sincerely advocate how our faith condemns the tragic shooting in Orlando that affected so many innocent lives and fellow Americans. We wholeheartedly join Muslims and Americans, domestic and abroad, in offering sincere prayers for the victims and their families, especially during Ramadan.

This terrorist attack was not only inhumane and disturbing but wholly un-Islamic and un-American. Neither the Holy Quran nor the U.S. Constitution call for violence in any shape or form towards homosexuals or any community unjustly. On the contrary, both the Holy Quran and the U.S. Constitution teach sanctity of each and every life irrespective of their orientation. The Quran actually equates the murder of one innocent life as the slaughter of all humanity. It further declares the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as “a mercy to all people,” not just straight people, and Allah as “the Lord of all the worlds,” not just who we deem worthy.

That’s how we live by our motto “love for all hatred for none,” the true essence of Islam.

Our faith teaches us to love, serve, and preserve the creation of the Gracious God irrespective of background in a peaceful manner that builds bridges primarily for the Creator’s pleasure and nearness. It’s certainly not our place to judge or hurt anyone. In fact, when the Holy Prophet Muhammad was mercilessly stoned out of the city of Taif after only humbly sharing the Divine message with the utmost love, and was dripping pools of blood, he yet stopped an offer to retaliate or harm the persecutors in any way.

He led by example demonstrating ways of mercy and love for humanity. He dared to have hope! He prayed and worked for the respect rights and rights of others. This is the example Ahmadiyya Muslims  follow.

Apart from it being wrong to take the law into your own hands in Islam, the religion of peace, which is what Islam means, teaches love and loyalty to one’s country of residence, patriotism, and obedience to the laws of the land. As un-Islamic as this barbaric act was, it was also flat out un-American. This progressive message was revived over a century ago through the words and deeds of our Community’s holy founder, the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, peace be upon them.

It came as even more of a shock because it happened during the sacred, merciful month of Ramadan wherein we fast from dawn to sunset in commemoration of the revelation of the Holy Quran. Muslims are not only called to eschew food in observance of this ninth lunar month but also minor quarrels, let alone disorder. Besides, there are more fruitful ways of engaging different communities, and that’s through dignified dialogue. Our strivings, especially in Ramadan, are rooted in elevating our relationship with the Divine, His communion, worship, charity, and harmony on all levels, not satanic whisperings.

It’s no wonder real spiritual leadership matters guiding souls away from extremism towards enlightenment. The peace-loving leader of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Khalifa of Islam Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, recently said: “We can all see how satanic influences are leading to brutality and murder. Innocent people are being slaughtered and the perpetrators claim they will be rewarded with a place in heaven…”

It’s time for thoughtful prayers and an intellectual jihad in stopping such senseless violence in our nation and world. To this end, our Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, spanning the nation and even abroad, prayed for the victims and those affected by the tragedy in their Mosques, like we did at the House of Peace and Prayer.

Thank you and God bless for joining us, praying with us and hearing us. Let’s keep unifying with prayer and action in a heavenly illustration of solidarity. It’s only together that we can rectify the rhetoric and change the world, God willing!

Miyan Zahir Muhammad Mannan is Outreach Director and Mohammed Qureshi, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Connecticut Chaper, Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque in Meriden.

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