Ahmadiyya Muslims


KIM LAWTON (Correspondent): In New York’s Times Square, it was an unexpected sight: Nestled amid ads for rum and hit TV shows, a sign proclaiming that Muslims are for peace. The billboard was part of a high-profile campaign by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.

HARRIS ZAFAR (National Spokesman, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA): We just want people to know if you’re going to judge Islam, judge it based off its true teachings, not based off of this political ideology that’s now all over the Internet and all over television.

LAWTON: Ahmadis have been active in several cities across the country sponsoring bus ads and leafleting drives, trying to get out the message that Muslims are for peace, for loyalty, and for life. They say ten years after 9/11, that message is more important than ever.

An Ahmadiyya Muslim volunteer hands out flyers in Times SquareZAFAR: We want to stress that there are Muslims, especially living in America, that emphasize on peace, liberty, democracy and just the freedoms that Americans love, and there have been so many people that ask where are these modern Muslims that promote these ideals, and we’ve been promoting these ideals for a long time.

LAWTON: The campaign has disturbed some Muslims who resent the idea of the controversial Ahmadiyya Muslim Community speaking for Islam. Many mainstream Muslims say they, too, hold those ideals, although they have significant theological differences with Ahmadis. John Esposito teaches Islamic studies at Georgetown University.

JOHN ESPOSITO (Professor of Islamic Studies, Georgetown University): The majority of Muslims would view the Ahmadiyya— the Ahmadiyya would either be seen as not Muslim, or they would certainly be seen as a very, very marginal group, you know, at best by most mainstream Muslims.

LAWTON: The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a reform movement that grew out of Sunni Islam. It was founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus and the divine guide, whose appearance was foretold by the Prophet Muhammad. Most Ahmadis believe he was the long-awaited mahdi or messiah.

Saliha Malik, National President, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA Women's AuxiliarySALIHA MALIK (National President, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA Women’s Auxiliary): We believe that the promised messiah has come, as he was promised by the Holy Prophet so many years ago, 14 centuries ago. He came according to all those prophecies at the right time, and we have accepted him.

LAWTON: Naseem Mahdi is national vice-president and missionary-in-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. He says Mirza Ghulam Ahmad came to bring Muslims back to the true teachings of Islam.

NASEEM MAHDI (National Vice President, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA): According to the prophecies of Prophet Muhammad, that when the messiah would come he will be a sort of an arbitrator. He used the word arbitrator. That he will tell you what is right and what is wrong, because with the passage of time, Muslims have practically abandoned the real teaching of Islam, the real teaching of the Holy Qur’an.

ESPOSITO: In Islam, the notion is that the Prophet Mohammad is the final prophet, the last of the prophets, and so then the question becomes for, in the eyes of many other Muslims, are these people really Muslims or not?

LAWTON: Many Ahmadis respond that while they do believe Muhammad was the final prophet to bring the law, that didn’t preclude a prophet like Mirza Ghulam Ahmad from coming to bring Muslims back to that final law.

post01-ahmadiyyamuslimsZAFAR: He came to revive the teachings of God, and he came bringing the truth.

LAWTON: Mirza Ghulam Ahmad preached what he called “jihad of the pen” or persuasion through discourse, saying that violence was not necessary to defend and propagate Islam.

ZAFAR: He said we live in a time where jihad, an aggressive jihad by the sword, is no longer needed, because you don’t have to ever defend freedom of religion physically. He said we live in a time where you’re no longer physically attacked simply for being a Muslim. So he said jihad by the sword is done.

ESPOSITO: For many Muslims, and certainly in South Asia as the movement was developing, extraordinarily controversial, rejected, it was seen as the equivalent of heresy.

LAWTON: And that view persists. Today there are millions, some say tens of millions, of Ahmadi Muslims spread across 195 countries. In many parts of Asia and the Middle East they face severe persecution. In Pakistan, Ahmadis are even officially declared non-Muslim. They are legally forbidden to call themselves Muslims or their houses of worship mosques. And they are frequent targets of violence.

Naseem Mahdi, National Vice President, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USAMAHDI: I go with this fear that during the night I might get a phone call that some of my very close loved ones have been kidnapped or killed or their properties have been looted, and this kind of fear is going on, and nobody can do anything.

LAWTON: Mahdi says it’s painful, but his faith forbids any kind of retaliation.

MAHDI: Islam promotes peace, and Islam does not need any kind of blood-shedding in the name of Islam.

LAWTON: According to Esposito, despite the persecution, Ahmadis have a strong missionary tradition.

ESPOSITO: Ahmadiyya in general are very concerned about spreading their faith. That’s very much part of what they do.

LAWTON: Ahmadis established a community in the US in 1920. They claim they were the first official American-Muslim organization. Their US headquarters is in Maryland, and they have thousands of members here. After the events of 9/11, Ahmadi leaders say they realized the need to do even more aggressive outreach, and the Muslims for Peace campaign began. They ratcheted the campaign up even further after the failed terrorism plot by a Muslim-American in Times Square.

Muslims for Loyalty pamphletsZAFAR:We noticed that after the failed Times Square bombing attempt by Faisal Shahzad in May of 2010, that there was what people kept referring to as a deafening silence within the Muslim community. So that’s where we decided, well, hey, we’ve been here the longest, It’s incumbent upon us to do something.

LAWTON: They developed another project called Muslims for Loyalty, which emphasized the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings that Muslims should be loyal to the countries where they live.

LAWTON: For the tenth anniversary of 9/11, they launched a blood drive called Muslims for Life. Their goal was to collect 10,000 units of blood.

MAHDI: Ten-thousand units would save 30,000 lives, which would be ten times the lives lost on that day of heinous crime against humanity ten years ago. We are promoting a religion which gives life and not destruction, which promotes peace and not terrorism, and this is not just a statement, but giving our blood.

Muslims for Life blood driveLAWTON: They ended up collecting nearly 12,000 units of blood, and they’re continuing to hold other blood drive events. Ahmadi outreach includes an active women’s movement.

MALIK: We are given a voice. Our community, the women have a voice. And we have, we are very well educated, and we are very knowledgeable about our religion.

LAWTON: And in many communities, Ahmadis are deeply involved in interfaith dialogue, although that can complicate relationships with mainstream Muslims. Esposito says US Ahmadis have an influence beyond their numbers.

ESPOSITO: Although they are a relatively small percentage of the American Muslim community, they play a significant role. They’ve been out there doing their work, but far more, I think, well organized and visible in terms of the public-relation side of things.

LAWTON: Ahmadis say they are just trying to live out the tenets of their faith.

ZAFAR: As part of the Ahmadi Muslim community, we believe that we have a true message, and we want people to know it.

LAWTON: And they pledge to continue those efforts, despite the controversy they may generate.

I’m Kim Lawton reporting.

  • Sunshine284

    This was a fascinating story. I had heard of the Ahmadiyya before but wasn’t sure exactly what they were about. They seem to have a wonderful message and have a powerful voice. And if the “mainstream” Muslims have an issue with them, that actually may be a good thing for them and it sounds like it proves their point that Muslims have strayed away from the teachings of Muhamad. I applaud them for their words and actions and will try to learn more.

  • anwar ahmad

    Fewer people believed in the Messiah of Judaism(Jesus), than the Messiah of Islam(Ahmad). Does this make Jesus a false messenger?

  • O J DEEN

    LOVE 4 ALL . HATRED 4 NONE !!!

    If you are mindful of your duty to Allah,

    He will bestow upon you a mark of distinction,

    and will remove from you your ills,

    and will forgive you.

    Allah is Lord of great bounty.

    HOLY QUR’AN (8:30)

  • wahmad

    assalamoalaikum – greetings of peace everyone! Wonderful report and amazing work to spread the true peaceful message of Islam. Was-salam – and peace! Wahmad

  • AnisAqeel

    Ahmadiyyas are the most misunderstood, misinterpreted and severely hated sect of Islam yet they are the most practical, well educated, progressive and loyal to the teachings of true Islam. All what you have mentioned in this feature is true to the letters and any reasonable Muslim will not deny it except claiming that, no matter what the Ahmadi’s faith and practice is, they still are infidels!!!
    Isn’t it time to check by ourselves and make our own decisions instead of any uneducated, fanatic and terrorist minded Mullah to decide any one’s faith. Thank you PBS for airing such an educative episode.

  • Atiya

    I remember seeing a program on 60 minutes about Muslims in America which ended with the host saying: Well if not all Muslims are terrorists, then where is the voice that opposes terrorism? She said, I want to hear those Muslims shout out that we are peaceful. And I watched the show and thought, if only you had done better research for the show! That voice is there! It has been for over a centenary. The Ahmady Muslims are fighting this image of savage blood thirsty bearded “Muslim” men every day. Our daily life consists of being an example of peace, to show that not all Muslims are hateful, in fact Islam teaches peace and love.

    Thank you PBS for this wonderful contribution, as always you have lead the way! I hope other channels will follow your example and show the true Islam, so viewers can make their own opinion. Why not leave it to the viewers to decide for themselves? Aren’t they capable of making their own decisions?

  • AnisAqeel

    Ahmadiyyas are the most misunderstood, misinterpreted and severely hated sect of Islam yet they are the most practical, well educated, progressive and loyal to the teachings of true Islam. All what you have mentioned in this feature is true to the letters and any reasonable Muslim will not deny it except claiming that, no matter what the Ahmadi’s faith and practice is, they still are infidels!!! Isn’t it time to check by ourselves and make our own decisions instead of any uneducated, fanatic and terrorist minded Mullah to decide any one’s faith. Thank you PBS for airing such an educative episode.

  • jhimmi

    If you only read Esposito’s words, you understand the truth: The Ahmadiyya movement is a tiny, marginalized, fringe movement within Islam (like Jehovah’s Witnesses is to Christianity), whom the vast majority of Muslims do not consider to be Muslims. Andy yet, they play a significant role in terms of the “public relation side of things”.

    What does this mean? It means that while Ahmadi’s do actually preach non-violence and peace and understanding, they don’t really denounce radical Islam, or distinguish themselves as separate from mainstream Islam, because they want to try to convince a billion other Muslims that they are Muslims, too.

    Intentionally or not, Ahmadiyya PR efforts disarm legitimate criticism of (violent, fundamentalist, politically supremacist) mainstream Islamic dogma, by falsely implying their reasonable approach represents Islam.

  • Don Steckdaub

    Thank you for this story. We need to be reminded that there are peace seekers in all religions. If we could all relax, take a deep breath and focus on the oneness of God…what a world this would be.

  • Mubashar A. Nasir

    Ahmadi Muslims believe in the Real Islam.
    They are being persecuted all over the World.
    They preach, “LOVE FOR ALL HATRED FOR NONE.”

  • Maudood A. Bhatti

    Very well and neutrally conducted in a concise manner.

  • kausar chaudhry

    As an muslim,as an ahmadi i appreciate your coverage on our concentrated effort of ours to reassure all that islam is about peace,and not about terrorism,as is the prominent political view.
    The great majority of muslims are peaceful,law abiding loyal citizens of their respective countries.
    (yes ahmadi muslim suffering in pakistan,indonesia and bangladesh is deplorable–sigh-but i do not wish to derail)
    I know not all, but i am not aware of any muslims or muslim ahmadis that rejoiced when the twin towers fell. A most heinous and inhumane act against humans by humans.
    May God have mercy on the dearly departed and their families–infact their generations to come!.
    God Bless America!

  • Shahina Bashir

    I would like to thank PBS for the very balanced documentary on the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. I hope to see more on this moderate Muslim group’s work to establish peace and justice in the US and the world.

  • Humanist

    It seems this is a better version of Islam compared to what the Saudis have been exporting.

  • Atif

    I appreciate this enlightening PBS publication.
    Ahmadis represent essence of Islam: peaceful
    worship of one Creator and self-less service to humanity.

  • Marcello

    Who would argue with those who carry a message of peace and friendship? If the Ahmadis are heretical, that is between them and God. America has often been a haven for peoples with unorthodox beliefs, especially those who are escaping persecution. I hope the Ahmadis will continue to feel welcome here.


    Nhat D. says ” I liked the piece especially the valid recognition of women and their impact as a whole.”

    Linda L. say “Interesting report didn’t know about the differentiation with other other Muslim groups.”

    Marilyn R. says ” What a wonderful and informative peace. It was good to be educated on how Ahmadiyya Muslims fit in in America and in the general world perspective of Muslims.It seems to me that Ahmadiyya is to Islam as the Mormons are to the Christian Faith and how Vatican II was supposed to affect Roman Catholics or even how Protestants broke off from the Catholic Church. To me.. What ever your religious preference, if you can internalize forgiveness, peace, tolerance, faithfulness and love and then illuminate and externalize it in your everyday actions , then you have found God.”

    G. Kennedy says ” Education is a slow process, but one that changes views in the end.
    It sounds like a very worthy cause and I support your efforts.”

  • Frank Amin

    Promoting different sects / versions of Islam will not convince the world the central core of Islam. If the Muslim world
    wishes to join and live in peace and harmony with the rest of International Community, Islam MUST reform from within. As long as it views others as heretics – infidels – unclean and imposes death and killings as prescribed in the Qur’an – no one in their right minds will accept Muslims irrespective of their sects whether they are Shiites – Sunnis –
    Ahmadiyya – Wahhabis – and so on.

    Mankind has the right to live in peace irrespective of race – nationality – and geography. It does not need the divisiveness of Mullahs – Bishops and Clerics – Papal Tyranny and subjugation.

    Religion is the curse of mankind and Muslims and bears witness to man’s ignorance and stupidity that only religion has been able to promote and implement throughout history. Without it and its promotion of hatred – separation – divisiveness – vindictiveness – misery – death and destruction history of modern man would certainly read differently. Muslims must witness the advent of Islamic Revolution in Iran as a yard stick of the destruction that religion can bring about. Middle East has just began to bleed. The best of Islamic ” FREAKDOM” is yet to come.

    Only the ordinary educated and learned Muslims of the world can help to bring this abomination to an end.

  • Chicagoman

    What a wonderful group of peace loving people living among us. Their motto says it all.
    Unfortunately they are being victimize by stereotyping. I think it may be a good idea to actually look and associate
    with them closely to get a clear understanding of their faith & belief. We American are generally regarded as fair people when it come to making a judgement. ( Excluding our politics, I guess )

  • MariaK

    That was such a great video, and it’s nice to see the Muslim community being shown in a positive light. Even those who have opposing beliefs with the Ahmadi community surely cannot oppose humanist ideals, such as peace, love and acceptance of one another.

    Additionally, it’s wonderful to see the presence and participation of women in the community. I think more Muslim sects should promote the equity of women, as the Ahmadi community does.

  • nadia siddiqua

    Thanks a lot PBS channel to show this wonderful documentary about Ahmadiyyat.I am ahmadi and i am proud to be ahmadi woman because i get all my rights which islam gives me.we are peaceful and kind towards other human beings thatswhy we are spreading message of real islam in usa and all over the world.we are facing too much persecution but this thing cannot stop us to convey message but this increase our strenght ,patience,faith and trust on Allah.we beleive that we practice real teachings of islam and we are trying to serve humanity as much as we can.May Allah enable us to convey His message and make this world peaceful for everyone.LOVE FOR ALL HATRED FOR NONE.

  • Mubarak

    Islam means Peace. Peace is what is needed in this world now. Ahmadi Muslims to me are true muslims as they are spreading peace and harmony. A true muslim is a person who doesnt harm any other human being by any means. Who else are giving the world an oppurtunity to understand the true teaching of Islam apart from the Ahmadi Muslims. LOVE FOR ALL, HATRED FOR NONE – True teaching of islam is identified in this saying of this community. Keep up the good work.

  • Basharat Hayee

    PBS has done very well. This is an example of a living community. In spite of so much adversaries, abuse and cruelty, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the most growing community in the world. US Ahmadiyya Community proves to be a well organized and rich in activities for love and peace under the guidance of Naseem Mahdi, Missionary of Ahmadiyya Jama’at.


    Ahmadis are peace loving people, you can find them in all parts of the world, Africa,Asia, America ,Europe. just name it. They practice what they preach, if all Muslims can be like them it will be good for Islam.They represent true Islam.
    May God help them in their crusade.

  • FauziaK

    It was a reassuring to read the report, to know that there are people reasonable enough to try to understand what Ahmadiyyat ( true Islam) really stands for.The slogan “Love for all Hatred for none” is practiced by Ahmadis all over the world.

  • Mushtaq Ahmad Malik

    I being an Ahmadi, a follower of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, a Reformer and Massiah of the Age and hold a highly revered status unfortunately say that I am being persecuted in my own Jamaat and my own family as I forcefully raised the voice against the lies that their Khalifa Mirza Tahir Ahmad who claimed that from 1993-2002 he proudly converted more that 160 Million people to Ahmadiyyat. Out of 160 Million, he said on OATH that more than 80 Million converts were only in India and the remaining 80 Million were from the rest of 199 countries of the World. There are about 140 Million Muslims in India. If I accept the claim of their Khalifa Mirza Tahir Ahmad to be true that Ahmadies shall exceed the number of all the rest of the Muslims in India alone. They should not be in Minority any more atleast in India alone and they should proudly present to the whole World about their splendid success in attracting Millions to them because of their peaceful propaganda and slogan Love for all, Hatred for none. Are they really that loving to their own members like myself who try to question their Leadership?

    May Allah SWT guide us and help us in True and Straight Path and not mere exxagerations and untrue fictions.

  • A.K


    Clear Proof from Hadith, that refutes the claims of Mirza Ghulam Qadiani:

    “In My Ummah, there shall be born Thirty Grand Liars (Dajjals), each of whom will claim to be a prophet, But I am the Last Prophet; there is No Prophet after Me.” (Abu Dawood Vol. 2 p. 228; Tirmidhi Vol. 2 p.45)

    “The tribe of Israel was guided by prophets. When a prophet passed away, another succeeded him. But no prophet will come after me; only caliphs will succeed me.” (Sahih Bukhari)

    “The Hour will not come … until nearly thirty “dajjals” (liars) appear, each one claiming to be a messenger from Allah.” (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim

    and Holy Quran states (translation):

    “O people! Mohammed has no sons among ye men, but verily, he is the Messenger of Allah and the last in the line of Prophets. And Allah is aware of everything.” (33:40)

    Mirza Ghulam Ahmad the founder of Ahmadiyya also insulted Jesus p.b.u.h, whom Muslims also respect so much like their Christian brothers.

    Here is one one example and reference of his vulgarity and false accusations against the noble Prophet of Allah s.w.t:

    “Jesus’s three paternal and maternal grandmothers were fornicators and prostitutes, from whose blood Jesus came into existence.” (Anjam-i-Atham, Roohany Khazaen, Vol. 11, P. 291, addenda; Anjam-i-Atham, P. 9, appendix

  • njqrn

    Jeff M says : I think this was a great piece. It covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time, providing a good overview of the community’s challenges and contributions for people like me who are basically ignorant of the complexities involved. I think it’s sad that ANY religious organization has to go out of its way to show the good they do in the world and challenge negative stereotypes, but it’s heartwarming and uplifting to see the positive things they’re doing. Great work!

  • Dorothy Frohn

    The ones in Oshkosh are our friends. They raised money for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. We have seen them volunteer in more than one place. If we needed help & asked tem, they would give it.
    We supported them when they wanted to open a mosque. We have visited their mosque and been fed sumptuously.
    They shared in a service in our church.

  • Dorothy Frohn

    I believe they are the true Muslims because tehy live by the Koran. It does not condone violence.

  • Ch m akram

    The reporting contained a very encouraging and supportive information on ideas and practices of a community doing lot of positive work but still facing atrocities in many parts of the world.

  • njqrn

    Yvonne G.: I liked it. I love that they are involved in something that brings awareness and thought to this world of ours. cant wait to hear more of this.

  • Heidi

    “Faith, with Feet, Hands, and Heart”: the Ahmaddiyyat women I am fortunate to count as friends prove that no one religion has a monopoly on this kind of strong and active faith. These families have been steadfast workers for peace and social justice; bright, generous, and open in heart and mind. The examples of their daily lives speak as loudly as those of other faiths. I believe the best of us not only live and let live, they love and let love.

  • Muhammad Masood Iqbal

    It is fact that Prophet Muhammad ( saw ) had been avoiding blood shed & wars throughout His life. The society was then all out for wars. Any way He succeeded in averting blood shed on many occasions. He even migrated from Mecca to Medina but His opponents would not let Him live in peace there too. Few wars were thrust on Him and His followers by the disbelievers. Finally He was able to conquer without any blood shed with His 10,000 followers the city of Mecca. This also fulfilled the prophecy of Bible Old Testament ( Istasna chapter:33 verses: 1&2 ) and many more prophesies.
    May God guide the humanity towards this peaceful religion.
    Muhammad Masood Iqbal

  • Anisa

    Mashallah. How beautiful. I wish all the people got this message, the magnificent picture of what Islam in real is. Amen
    And May Allah help this sincere and devoted community to spread this message of love and peace more and more. May Allah enable the people at large to accept it, and come into the folds of universal peace and brotherhood.Amen and Amen again.

  • Idrees Rehman

    Ahmadis believe on true teachings of Islam that is Peace. Islam meanes Peace.

  • Samina I

    I commend the work of PBS for putting on a very informative and brief yet very concise program on Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. It gave a clear message of what Ahmadiyya Muslim Community stands for and believes in. It is encouraging to know that media was able to capture the good that is out there instead of negative that is displayed so often.

  • Professor David B Capes

    Excellent report. I know many Ahmadis and can say this is completely consistent with what I know. I met Naseem Mahdi last year and saw him recently. The Ahmadis are a remarkable people who deserve to practice their religion without fear of persecution.

  • Rabiah Addae

    This message is very tauching, in this 21st century this is the kind of message we need inorder to live peacefully and harmony. It is my prayers that some muslims who are persecuting Ahmmedi muslims in other countries, put a stop to that and always remember that Islam is for peace.

  • Maliha

    No doubt Islam is the religion which will prevail through out the world in the next century, but not the Islam that long bearded rigid mullahs are preaching, who have become a powerful tool in the hands of international terrorist organisations, and are spreading hatered and false picture of islam. Ahmmadiya community is spreading the true picture of Islam, that is “LOVE FOR ALL AND HATERED FOR NONE”

  • Victim

    Many thanks for good work can you save lives snd honour of the human beings which is under serious threat and gepardy by one of your Ahmadi lawyer who is using his knowledge, hand and tongue to victimise human beings by making false claims and involving them into vexatious litigation save soles of han beings from this evil

  • @nZeesh

    Shame upon u, u try to hide ahadees and quran
    Surah al nisa ayat 69 shows prophethood is open for those who love and obey Hazrat Muhammad
    a clear hadees of sahih muslim kitab ul fitan proves there is a prophet to come who is to serve as slave of Hazrat Muhammad s.a.w

    and the reference you told in last, if u have even a little honesty, read it in full context. Hazrat Mirza sahb is telling that a christian was saying so.

    If u don’t like honesty than shame on u.

    Wanna debate with me according to quran o hadees? please come on twitter @nZeesh