We do not usually publish press releases, but this one came across our desktop this week and it is pertinent to our membership.
On Friday, May 1st, Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA), the youth organization of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, brought 150 young Muslim leaders from across the country to Capitol Hill for its second annual “Muslim Youth Day on the Hill” event. The youth had organized and individually met with 100 members of congress and their staff during the day about stopping the growth of radicalization and seeking their support for House Resolution 1568, which aims to protect religious minorities who are being persecuted by ISIS – particularly Christians and Yazidis.
A highlight of the day was when the youth joined Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Ted Poe (R-TX) in the Capitol building to re-launch the Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus for the 114th Session, which aims to stand up for persecuted religious minorities. The event was attended by the U.S. State Department, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, HIAS Refugees, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and Shia Rights Watch
Representative Speier was the first to speak at the Caucus launch event, where she identified the problem of religious intolerance around the world and the work of AMYA to combat radicalization. “Your efforts to denounce and stop the radicalization of young Muslim women and men is deeply appreciated by all of us in this country,” Rep. Speier remarked. “The religious intolerance that we see today is frightening, and it then foments, I think, some of the militaristic actions that we have seen by some and that we must put down.”
Representative Poe then addressed all in attendance expressing not only outrage for the persecution that many religious groups face around the world (including the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) but also praising AMYA for its work. “Efforts like this are a great way to expose the brutality of ISIS and to eliminate that philosophy that a lot of people throughout the world have: that all Muslims are the same. And with a broad swipe, [they] blame all Muslims for the conduct of a radical group of Muslims.”
The event closed with remarks by Dr. Basiyr Rodney, Executive Vice President of AMYA. Dr. Rodney began by addressing the carnage created by ISIS in a large region of territory between Iraq and Syria. Dr. Rodney spoke about the ongoing commitment of AMYA to counter radicalization, epitomized in the nationwide STOP THE CRISIS initiative. After explaining how protection of non-Muslims is an Islamic duty firmly established by the Prophet Muhammad 1,400 years ago, Dr. Rodney said: “we have another opportunity to stand up against the forces of destruction and aggression by offering our unyielding support for all refugees who have fled ISIS’s grip. We ask our congressional representatives to adopt house resolution HR 1568 sponsored by Rep Vargas, which calls for protecting religious minorities persecuted by ISIS. It is an important step toward granting freedom to victims of brutality, and we support all efforts towards the universal protection of freedom of conscience.”
The 150 Muslim youth then gathered at the National Mall outside and performed the Islamic Friday Prayer service in the open public. People passing by both listened in to the sermon and took pictures of the young Muslims engaged in worship.
About Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association:
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) is a nationwide youth group that works with young Muslim men and boys around the country. The association serves as the young men and boys auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Officially established in the United States in 1939, AMYA is one of the earliest Muslim Youth organizations in the United States.
AMYA is a dynamic and vibrant association serving not only the needs of its members but of its local communities and nation. The association is comprised of more than 3,000 men and boys aged 7 to 40, spread across 70 local chapters. Previous members of AMYA include Grammy Award winning artists and Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. AMYA is headquartered in Silver Springs MD.