US concerned over spike in blasphemy cases in Pakistan

US concerned over spike in blasphemy cases in Pakistan

KARACHI: The United States has expressed concern at the increase in the number of blasphemy cases and the use of such charges as “justification for mob justice” in Pakistan even as it noted increased government action to curb sectarian hate speech.

It pointed out that armed sectarian groups connected to banned terror organisations continued to stage attacks on Christians and Shias, including the predominantly Shia Hazara community. Incidents of forced conversions have also continued.

This was stated in the US State Department’s annual report on International Religious Freedom which was released on Wednesday. The report takes a comprehensive look at the situation in more than 200 countries in 2015.

Source/Credit: The Express Tribune

Perspective: Ways may be different, but worship the same | Usman Mahmood

Perspective: Ways may be different, but worship the same | Usman Mahmood

As an Ahmadiyya Muslim, I agree with Pope Francis that the world is at war not due to religion, but because of lust for power, money and resources.

Religion is to establish peace by uniting us on common grounds.

Our ways may be different, but we worship the same God, creator of our universe.

It is a condition of my faith to believe in all previous prophets.

Usman Mahmood, South Bowenfels.

Source/Credit:Goulburn Post

USA: Chicago Ahmadiyya Muslims reach out to neighbors

USA: Chicago Ahmadiyya Muslims reach out to neighbors

You might be able to guess that by the traditional clothing he wears, his beard or the way he talks. But he would prefer if his actions spoke louder than stereotypes and first-glance impressions.

“I follow my religion, and people often ask me about Islam,” Malick said. “I want to represent Islam for what it really is. My actions and being a good person will guide people and tell them what Islam is, what it is I believe.”

There are between 60 and 70 Muslim families in DeKalb and between 400 and 500 Muslim students at NIU. A 2015 estimate made by The Pew Research Center estimated that there are approximately 3.3 million Muslims living in the US and that Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion.

To answer questions and start an interfaith dialogue, a Holy Qur’an Exhibition took place July 16, at the Sycamore Public Library, 103 E. State St. Representatives from the Chicago Northwest chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, an auxiliary wing of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, met with locals to give an introduction to Islam and educate and dispel common myths and misunderstandings about the religion.

“We held the event to answer questions and clarify misconceptions about Islam,” Iftekhar Ahmad, national assistant director for outreach and president of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, said. “With everything that is happening in the world – attacks, violence and bombings – we wanted to tell the truth of what our religion is really about. We have more in common with other religions than you might think. If we focused on that common ground instead of our differences, the world would be a better place.”

Jake Swick of Sycamore, a junior at Northern Illinois University, attended the exhibition with friends and discussed his experiences studying in Africa for three and a half weeks this summer.

“My experience in Africa showed me how not to be biased and to look beyond race and religion,” Swick said. “We are all equal, and there are good and bad people in all religions. We’re all in the same boat, with the same situations. If we just recognized that, it would be a much better world to live in.”

Source/Credit: The Midweek

Messi rejoins Argentina for love of country

Messi rejoins Argentina for love of country

BUENOS AIRES: Star striker Lionel Messi will return to play for the Argentine national football team for “love” of his country, despite earlier vowing to retire in frustration, he said on Friday.

Argentina’s new coach Edgardo Bauza promptly named him to the squad for two looming qualifying games for the 2018 World Cup.

It was heartening news for the country’s demanding soccer fans after Argentina were knocked out of the Olympic Games this week in the group stage, their latest in a string of humiliations.

The 29-year-old Barcelona superstar had abruptly announced his international retirement in tears after Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile on June 26.

“A lot of things went through my mind on the night of the final and I gave serious thought to quitting, but my love for my country and this shirt is too great,” he said on Friday in a statement released by his management company.

His earlier vow to quit had dismayed fans, many of whom held street rallies and posted online messages begging him not to go.

It became practically an affair of state when Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri called on him to stay. “It is a gift from God to have the best player in the world in a footballing country like ours,” Macri said in June.

“Lionel Messi is the greatest thing we have in Argentina and we must take care of him.”

Source/Credit: Dawn