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Merton Park Ward Residents Association Autumn 2002

The Ahmadiyya Mosque

One of the unexpected pleasures of being a new councillor is receiving invitations to attend the meetings of organisations bases in Merton Park organisations of which I was aware but knew very little about, or what they did.

The most visible of these in our ward is the Bait-ul-Futuh Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association now rapidly taking shape on the site of the old Express Dairy factory in London Road, Morden. So I was pleased to attend the recent AMA Liasion Group meeting chaired by our ex-councillor Bridget Smith in July. The Liasion Group was set up some years ago to meet local residents' concerns about such a large development taking place in their midst, and brings together representatives from the council, the police (PC Elaine Kendall, our beat manager), St Lawrence's Church, the local scout group and residents associations as well as councillors from neighbouring wards, to discuss common concerns with those in charge of the mosque, notably Nasser Khan, the Project Director, and Rana Mashhood Ahmed, the Imam.

It is important to realise that Islam includes many sects and that al Qaeda terrorists are no more representative of Islam than extreme groups like the Davidian cult in Waco are representative of Christianity. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded over one hundred years ago in Qadian, a tiny hamlet in Punjab province of India in 1889, by Hadhrat Ahmad who was proclaimed as the promised Messiah. He preached to his followers that they could achieve peace both amongst themselves and with other communities and nations only by adhering to the true teachings of Islam. Until man learns to live at peace both amongst themselves and with other communities and nations only by adhering to the true teachings of Islam. Until man learns to live at peace with himself and his fellow human beings he cannot live at peace with God. Ahmadiyya leaders in London were forthright in their condemnation of the al Qaeda attack on the World Trade Centre: "Terrorism has no place in Islam and we unequivocally abhor and condemn the attacks which took place in the USA".

The first overseas mission of the Ahmadiyya Community was established in London in 1913, and the first mosque in the UK was built in Gressenhall Road, Southfields in 1924 (it is visible from District Line trains). Around the world the Community has spread through 117 countries and now numbers 130 million members - about 2% of the world's population. The present leader of the Community is Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad who was elected in 1982 and lives in the UK.

Plans to clad the exterior of the Bait-ul-Futuh Mosque in marble should make it a real landmark building for Morden. The old industrial buildings on the site are being converted into sports halls, conference facilities and administrative offices and have an exceptionally spacious feel because of the original structures. The sports facilities will be open for other local groups to use, not just members of the Ahmadiyya Community.

MPWRA members who would like to join an organised tour of the Mosque should contact me, and I will see if a visit can be arranged later this year.

Councillor Peter Southgate

Merton Park Ward Residents Association Autumn 2002

Baitul Futuh,
181 London Road
Morden, Surrey SM4 5PT,
United Kingdom
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