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Hundreds of Calgary Muslims gather to honour fallen Canadian soldiers

11/08/2014 01:17 EST | Updated 01/08/2015 05:59 EST
Hundreds of Calgary Muslims gathered Friday to remember the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers ahead of Remembrance Day next week.

The fourth annual Muslims for Remembrance Day campaign was held in nine cities across Canada. In Calgary, one celebration took place at a mosque in northeast Calgary that houses members of the growing Ahmadiyya sect of Islam. The mosque's imam says the Qur'an makes it clear Muslims must love their countries — including the soldiers defending them.

"The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said that love to the country where you live, that is part of your fatih," said Imam Nasir Mahmood Butt. 

His words were echoed by Majeed Ahmad, president of Ahmadiyya Muslims in Calgary, the local chapter of the international Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Ahmad says even though Canada has been fighting in Muslim countries for the past decade, devout Canadian Muslims support the government's decision to go to war and fight Islamist extremists.

"In our community, there is no controversy," Ahmad said, explaining that the bloody rampage waged by ISIS through much of the Middle East is wrong. "That is completely against the teaching of the Qur'an."

Poppies were handed out during the ceremony.

All donations collected from the community will go to the Royal Canadian Legion.

What is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community?

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a sect of Islam that arose in the late 19th century in India.

The movement is currently based in the U.K. and its membership is in the tens of millions.

The difference between Ahmadiyya Muslims and other Muslims is that Ahmadiyya Muslims believe the Messiah foretold by their Prophet Muhammad came to humanity in the form of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the movement.

Followers of the movement believe Ahmad was sent by god to end religious wars and champion Islam's true teachings.

He also advocated for "jihad of the pen" rather than "jihad by the sword" and the faith focuses on spreading teachings of moderation and restraint.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is also the only Islamic sect to advocate for a separation of mosque and state.

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