Who are you calling ‘basic’?

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Originally posted on The Daily Tribune

Recently, there have been allegations within the media regarding discrimination in the City of Rochester Hills. Our Mosque, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center, is located in this beautiful city and though I cannot speak to every aspect of discrimination, or for other groups claiming to be discriminated against, I can say we have experience that is contrary to what others may allege.

For the past eight years, every Ahmadi Muslim in the Metro Detroit area has called Rochester Hills their home. Though many of us may not be residents, our Mosque is located in Rochester Hills. To us this mosque is home, and the citizens of this city are our fellow citizens. We are one with them, and we are so grateful that they have embraced us.

Last April, the City Council invited our local president to lead the city council in the Pledge of Allegiance during their meeting. Would anyone call them “basic and provincial-thinking”?

Last summer, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community hosted community and city government leaders at a Ramadhan open house dinner where guests embraced us and graciously took part in our fast-breaking festivities. Citizens and leaders of Rochester Hills attended a dinner at a Muslim house of worship and broke bread with Muslims. Would anyone call them “basic and provincial-thinking”?

Back in 2013, the Rochester Hills Public Library approached the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to prepare presentations and a Q-and-A discussion to better educate the general public on Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. This forum was open to the public and over 150 citizens of Rochester Hills commended the program and embraced our efforts. Would anyone call them ”basic and provincial-thinking”?

Our youth auxiliary, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, has been given the honor of being the prime sponsor at this year’s 2015 Arbor Day Ceremony & Tree Planting by the City of Rochester Hills. Would anyone call them “basic and provincial thinking”?

I agree with Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett when he said, “Our community is anything but basic or narrow-minded”. Check out Auburn Road. You’ll find an Albanian Catholic Church next to a Sikh Temple, next to a Sunni Mosque, down the road from a Baptist Church, down the road from an Ahmadi Mosque.

With this much cultural diversity, I wouldn’t call us “basic and provincial-thinking”. With a community as open-minded and caring as ours, I wouldn’t call us “basic and provincial-thinking”. We are proud of our city. And we will stand up for it when its integrity is attacked.

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