About 1,500 Ahmadis -- a Muslim minority in Pakistan -- live in Southern California, and 20,000 nationwide. Persecuted for years, Ahmadis are considered heretical for believing there was a prophet after Muhammad.
They're gathering at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino this weekend for their annual convention. Discussions at the event, which is open to the public, will focus on the life of the Prophet Muhammad and his significance for people of all faiths.
Over the last decade, various religious groups have welcomed and worked alongside Ahmadis, said Amjad Mahmood Khan, of the national Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA association. Among the causes they have taken on: a blood drive organized soon after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
“We held blood drives in synagogues, in churches, in temples, in the deep south, East Coast, West Coast," says Khan. "And to do it here in Southern California with other Muslim groups was wonderful, particularly since it has been such a difficult time for many of our community members here in Southern California, who are immigrants, or refugees, who have fled their country because they weren’t able to practice their Ahmadi faith.”