By Carlotta Mohamed
It was a joyous occasion for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Holliswood last week as they celebrated the unveiling of their official street sign “Ahmadiyya’s Way.”
“As you know our community strives to build bridges,” said Imam Mahmood Kauser of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Masjid. “It is our goal to establish peace and just imagine in the wake of the recent increase of Islamophobia look at how beautiful New York City is. Today they’re honoring a street with a Muslim name — the first of its kind.”
City Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Holliswood) along with other elected officials and community members unveiled the sign at the street renaming ceremony last Friday at the southeast corner of the Grand Central Parkway and 85th Road, adjacent to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Masjid at 188-15 McLaughlin Ave.
“You know once you have a street sign in your name, you’ve made it,” said Grodenchik.
Last year, Community Board 8 voted to approve the co-naming because of the Ahmadiyya Community’s longstanding presence, significant contributions and positive impact. The co-naming was then approved by the City Council in June.
“One of the joys of this job are street renamings,” said City Councilman Daneek Miller (D-Jamaica). “It is really how we tell our story as communities transform, as people come and go, as we attempt to cultivate and grow our next generation in leadership as they come through our community and wonder who those folks are…we get to tell our story.”
Mahmood added that Ahmadiyya’s Way is a great victory for Islam in general and for New York City, showing that there is tolerance.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a fast-growing international revival movement within Islam, has held interfaith forums to foster peace and understanding as well as helping the elderly and those in need by hosting successful blood drives.
According to Mahmood, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been able to form a relationship with residents of Holliswood by keeping their mosque doors wide open.
“All of our mosques are wide open, anyone and everybody is welcomed,” said Mahmood. “We’ve launched a ‘Coffee Cake and True Islam’ weekly meetup at our mosques around the country, and the key is let to people come and know who we are.”
Mahmood said the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has also launched a Muslim for Peace campaign to combat radicalization and misconceptions of Islam, a Muslim for Life Campaign to honor the victims of Sept. 11, and an annual blood drive held every year across the country.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded in 1889 by leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a revival movement within Islam, emphasizing its essential teachings of peace, love, justice, and sanctity of life, according to Al Islam, the official website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
The AMC spans over 200 countries with membership exceeding tens of millions with its headquarters in Britain. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United States, established in 1920, is America’s largest Muslim organization under one leader.
“We rise and fall together as New Yorkers, as Americans, as children of god, and that is my pledge to you this day,” said Grodenchik. “This street renaming is a token of our affection for this community, and it shows how important that we feel about the Ahmadiyya community here in Queens and throughout New York City.”
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha