The 48th Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Retreat was held in Yosemite this weekend. Ahmadiyya Muslims put an emphasis on non-violence and toleration of non-Muslim religions.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community is often persecuted by other Muslims, particularly in Pakistan, largely because of the Ahmadiyya belief that Divine revelation continued after Muhammad. The United States and — ironically — Israel are two countries that have provided a refuge.
According to KQED, the youth discussed “faith and mortality” and held a “Quran recitation contest.” Additionally, the participating youth took part in physical activities like “hiking, biking, even rafting.”
The annual retreat is attended by “about 500 young Muslims.” Youth association president Bilal Rana said, “It’s kind of like Boy Scouts of America for Muslim youth. Muslims get a strong sense of identity through this youth group.”
The youth are encouraged to speak out against terror acts that have been conducted under the banner of Islam. Rana said:
If you don’t condemn each and every act of violence committed by lunatics and nut-jobs around the world who call themselves Muslims, if we don’t condemn them, then somehow we are tacitly accepting. And that’s a very unique experience for Muslims that I don’t see really happening with others.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community spokesman Harris Zafar added:
Our bread and butter is a confrontation of radical ideology. It’s just part of the DNA of our community. Anything that’s an irrational ideology or irrational thought is what we speak out against.
We believe Jihad is something we wage with a pen, not with a sword. That’s the term that the Messiah used, Jihad by the pen. We engage in a rational dialogue in order to rigorously defend Islam.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.