Originally published in The Longview News Journal
Catholics in the United States have awaited the arrival of Pope Francis for his first visit. As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, I welcome the pontiff.
We applaud his efforts to bridge gaps between faiths and ethnicities and this is in line with the true teaching of Islam, which the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community adheres to. The Holy Quran states that those who make peace among men shall have a great reward (4:115) and the Holy Bible states that blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9). Regarding peace we have an important commonality.
Our community’s feeling toward the pontiff reflects that of our Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who congratulated the pope in 2013 after his election, saying, “May the appointment of the new pope prove to be blessed not just for the Christians but for all the people across the globe.”
The pope’s attitude toward Islam — from praying in the Blue Mosque of Istanbul facing Mecca to his comments, “Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence” — is refreshing and encouraging.