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Inauguration ceremonies will be held in Chino...

Inauguration ceremonies will be held in Chino on Friday for the first California mosque of a Muslim sect whose founder 100 years ago claimed to be the embodiment of the Christian messiah and the prophesized mahdi in Islam who would revive the worldwide faith.

The $1.4-million Baitul Hameed Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Movement, which serves a Southern California congregation of about 500, will be dedicated by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, 60, the fourth successor to the founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

The current spiritual leader lives in London, in exile from his native Pakistan where members of the movement are regarded as a “non-Muslim minority” and are prohibited from practicing their faith openly, according to Anwer Khan, a spokesman for the new mosque.

The movement, claiming a worldwide following of 10 million, has established congregations in 122 countries, Khan said.

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Construction of the 11,000-square-foot mosque, which mixes a Spanish-tile roof with low minarets, began after Mirza Tahir Ahmad laid the foundation stone in October, 1987. Prayer services were held in the building during the recent month of Ramadan, but Khan said full operation of the mosque will not begin until next week.

PEOPLE

The Rev. Norman Lund, dean of faculty at the Lutheran Bible Institute in California, a 100-student school in Anaheim, has been elected by the theologically conservative American Assn. of Lutheran Churches to head its fledgling seminary program. The denomination of 62 congregations, plus 25 churches served by affiliated pastors, was born in reaction to the 1987 merger that formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Lund said he switched his affiliation to the conservative denomination at its convention last week in Moorhead, Minn.

Radio broadcaster James Dobson, through a spokesman at his Pomona-based Focus on the Family Ministries, says that he has dropped his backing for the book, “The AIDS Cover-Up,” by Gene Antonio. U.S. Surgeon General C. Edward Koop recently criticized Dobson and another evangelical broadcaster for echoing Antonio’s assertions on spread of the disease. Dobson interviewed Antonio on his program and offered his book for a time, but the spokesman added that “we gave careful consideration to the feedback we subsequently received from members of the medical community and made the decision to discontinue it.”

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MEDIA

KNBC has decided to cancel “Checkpoint,” a religious/public affairs program that succeeded the all-religious “Odyssey” program. That leaves KCBS’ “Today’s Religion” as the last television religious program produced and regularly aired by a Los Angeles station. KNBC’s magazine-style show was dropped for “economic considerations,” says producer Beth McKenzie, although programs still unaired and reruns will continue through the end of 1989. McKenzie will be leaving the station this month after 14 years with the program. She said the program has had a following despite its recent 5:30 a.m. Sunday time slot because of people who videotape the program for later viewing.


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