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Muslim leader sounds off on Trump, islamaphobia and Syrian refugees in Calgary

Head of the world's Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Caliph Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, speaks to media in Calgary, on Wednesday, November 9, 2016. Masroor Ahmad says he does not believe the Republican president-elect will go ahead with a campaign promise to crack down on Muslims.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Lauren Krugel

Thousands have descended on the Baitun Nur Mosque this week to hear the words of his Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad but it didn’t take long for attention to turn to that of Donald Trump.

His Holiness is in the midst of a Canadian “peace” tour meeting with the faithful and spreading his message of peace, god and love.

The Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, one of the world’s largest sects of Islam, isn’t worried about President-elect Trump, in fact he appears ready to embrace it.

He was peppered with questions from reporters and followers about what now after Trump was quoted as saying some callous things about their religion.

He later granted a one-on-one interview with 660’s Ian Campbell.

His Holiness was first elected to his post in 2003 and admitted he, like many Canadians, was surprised to see American voters elect the billionaire and CEO.

“Even Americans were not expecting this result, for the last few days you could predict that this may happen because there was a 50/50 chance for both of them to win,” he said. “It wasn’t like weeks before, it was somewhat surprising but not that much.”

“He’s ignorant with regards to Islamic teachings, had he known the true teaching of Islam he would have not said all these things. Secondly, some of the Muslim extremist groups, all people in the name of those Muslim groups, are committing some brutal activities, so his reaction might be the natural reaction but instead of searching for the true teaching of Islam and asking somebody what they are doing is actually the teaching of Islam, he plainly started abusing Muslims and Islam across the world.”

He says there are a few thousand committing these activities while 1.6 billion are not doing anything, it’s his belief he needs to do a better job at correcting that relationship.

“I think now once he comes to office, he will also try to understand what true Islam is because that was election campaign tactics and now he’s going to rule the government, and I don’t think American presidents are given such a free hand as to whatever he likes he can do, he’ll have to follow through some obligations.”

He adds if he were to do that, there would be chaos in the country, a “civil war” even, and lead to disturbances across the world.

“As far as we are concerned, we are a missionary community and spread the message of love, peace and harmony according to the true teachings of Islam and mention the holy book of Muslims. We are a law abiding people, we don’t retaliate the way we are being treated.”

The Caliph himself was exiled from his own country of Pakistan for being a member of his faith.

“I don’t think … the situation of the present day world is such that any of the big powers can afford to behave in this manner, that you would disturb your citizens to leave the country.”

He believes it’s ignorance that’s led to cases of islamaphobia, it’s part of their religion to always be law abiding.

He admits the crimes of the ISIS have presented more challenges to their community in the years since 9/11.

“We have to work harder than ever before,” he said.

The Caliph attributes cases of islamaphobia to ignorance and people’s vested interest.

“The prophet of Islam is the mercy of all mankind, if that’s true how can you commit those brutalities and think you’ll be spared indefinitely? Those who are commiting those brutalities in the name of Islam and all those things, you’ll come under the wrath of God almighty.”

In terms of Syria and the millions of people fleeing the war-torn country, he says whatever is being done now is good but there could be more being done.

“Still, they have access on the oilfields and oil refineries, they are selling their oil to the neighbouring countries even, there is free flow of dollars in the ISIS area and bank to bank transactions are going on and supply of arms, where are they getting the arms from, all of these things show that it’s not enough.”

“We have to live peacefully,” he said to his followers. ‘As far as our followers and the anti-Muslims are concerned, we always live peacefully and believe in mutual understanding and living amicabally with each other. This is my message and I delivered this message in my sermons to the community members across the world and through our channel, that we should never stand up, we can raise our voice as far as the law permits us but we should never retaliate in a manner that is not according to the law of the land.”