Youths are happy to chip in
Ahmadiyya Muslim group sets goals of helping charities and ‘fully assimilating into Australian society’
AS BELIEVERS gathered at the local mosque recently to observe Eid ul-Fitr – the festival marking the end of Ramadan – Ehsan Ullah Malhi wants people to know there are Muslims in the community working hard to make it better for everyone.
Mr Malhi, 25, of Plumpton, is an Ahmadiyya Muslim and eager to talk about how he and the members of his mosque’s youth group focus on community works.
At the Eid ul-Fitr festival, Mr Malhi, along with everyone in attendance, donated $17 to assist the disadvantaged in the community.
Mr Malhi, a quality assurance worker, said the Ahmadiyya denomination of Islam, which began in India, is different to the Shia and Sunni Islam.
Their persecution at the hands of other Muslims around the world forms the background for their attempts to improve the lives of the poor and fully assimilate into Australian society.
“We face a lot of persecution in countries like Pakistan,” Mr Malhi said.
“The government actually bans and persecutes us.
“A law says Ahmadiyya can’t identify themselves as a Muslim and you can be jailed for two years or fined.”
Recently Mr Malhi and colleagues in Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth, a national organisation based at a Marsden Park mosque, raised money for the Red Cross, contributed the most volunteers per head to Clean Up Australia Day and went on the Alzheimers Walk around the Nepean River in Penrith.
“We want to dispel the bad ideas of what terrorism has done to Islam,” Mr Malhi said.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Australia president Waqas Ahmad said the group had consciously focused on humanitarian work this year.
“We want the youth to engage ... learning about their religion at the mosque is one part but secondly we want them to learn about Australia and integrate into society,” he said.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth members Waleed Khalid, Ehsan Ullah, Ahmad Khan, national president Waqas Ahmed and Abdul Wahab. Picture: Carmela Roche