2019 Humanitarian Award: Love for All, Hatred for None

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By: Blake Strayhorn, Executive Director

What an experience I had as I proudly represented Durham Habitat and our work building Interfaith partnerships at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's 2019 Jalsa Salena in Harrisburg, PA.  Thank you, Durham Habitat partners, for creating and being a culture that embraces the values that led to this experience! 

When I heard I was selected as one of two 2019 Humanitarian Award honorees by the Ahmadiyya Community, I was quite surprised, and to be honest, apprehensive. I didn't know all that the Community stood for, and I really don't like public speaking! But a personal mantra is to always go to Plateau Point, so I went.  And I'm very glad I did. The hospitality was through the roof, I learned a lot about the Ahmadiyya Muslims, and I shared the stage with some incredibly impressive speakers (see list below).  

 

 (link: https://youtu.be/j6UF6Wn-Az0)

The Ahmadiyya Community was founded to promote 'true Islam' values of "Love for All, Hatred for None." A key tenet is a strong commitment to provide humanitarian aid to those in need. Banners and pins throughout the conference proclaimed 'Love for All'. Respect for others was highly evident; one of the other speakers represented the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Jalsa Salana's are the formal annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya Community. Jalsa Salana's are held annually around the world, and attendance tops 40,000 - 50,000 in Germany and India.

Most of all, I left the weekend feeling totally affirmed in my belief that we humans are much more alike than we are different, that we all benefit when we grow cross-cultural relationships, and that we should respect and value our differences, not fear them. Affirmed that building with Durham Habitat is a great way to put these ideas into action. Love for all, indeed!  

List of speakers: 
- Kurt J. Werthmuller, Policy Analyst, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
- Representative Andrew Lewis, Member, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
- U.S. Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-CA) (Ahmadiyya Muslim Humanitarian Award honoree)
- Blake Strayhorn, President/Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity Durham (North Carolina) (Ahmadiyya Muslim Humanitarian Award honoree)
- Sue Henderson, Vice President of U.S. and Canada, Habitat for Humanity
- Honorable Neftaly Aldana Herrera, Judge, Constitutional Court of Guatemala
- His Excellency Siddique Abou Bakr Wali, Ambassador of Sierra Leone to the United States
- Craig Considine, Author and Professor of Sociology, Rice University


Habitat Success Stories

“Five years ago, a tree fell on my house and caused all but one room to leak. I used all my funds, so I called Habitat for Humanity, which helped me build a new roof. I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life, and I just want to thank everyone at Habitat. God bless you!" - Rita

Rita