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Historic prayer duel leads to new mosque

SHOTLIST:RESTRICTION SUMMARY: ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 16 September 20221. Zion, Illinois' welcome sign ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 20222. Archival bell tower from the 1900s3. Community members shopping at the Shiloh House yard saleASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 14 September 20224. Members of the Church of Christ singing at bible studyASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 16 September 20225. Various of Friday prayer at the Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 15 September 2022++SOT PARTIALLY COVERED++6. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike McDowell, Board member, Zion Historical Society:"The way I like to start talking about her is some of it's good, some of it's bad, and hopefully it's not boring."ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 20227. The exterior of the Shiloh House, John Alexander Dowie's original home, now the Zion Historical societyLIBRARY OF CONGRESSSt. Paul, Minnesota - 24 June 1903++STILL++8. Article about Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's prayer challenge to DowieASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 20229. Historical photo of the original Zion community LIBRARY OF CONGRESSZion, Illinois - July 1904++STILL++10. Photo of the Zion community in front the Shiloh TabernacleASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 15 September 202211. Book of personal letters by DowieASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 202212. Dowie family photos at the Shiloh HouseASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 15 September 202213. Old news article about Dowie and family 14. Tahir Ahmed Soofi going through Zion historical documents and newspapersON SCREEN TEXT: In 1900, faith healer John Alexander Dowie founded the town of Zion as a Christian theocracy. ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 202215. Photo of the founder of Zion, John Alexander Dowie16. Zion town sealASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 15 September 2022++SOT PARTIALLY COVERED++17. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike McDowell, Board member, Zion Historical Society:"So this is a life-sized photograph of John Alexander Dowie. He was five foot two inches tall. So if you measure that picture, that's about what it is, five-two. ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 2022++STILL++18. Photograph of DowieASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 15 September 2022++SOT PARTIALLY COVERED++19. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike McDowell, Board member, Zion Historical Society:"Dowie was an entrepreneur. He was a visionary. He had a huge vision of starting a community and making it self-sufficient."ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 2022++STILLS++20. Photograph of Dowie21. Photograph of Dowie and church communityASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 15 September 2022++SOT PARTIALLY COVERED++22. SOUNDBITE (English) Dhiya Tahira Bakr, National president, Ahmadi community women's auxiliary:"His vision was to make Zion a city of God. But just like with some human nature, people get wrapped up into that and they lose sight of the purpose, which was to reflect the teachings of God."23. Painting of Dowie, left, with another religious figureASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 202224. Floor plans for the original houses of Zion++STILLS++25. Portrait of Dowie made out of lace, a large source of income for Dowie and the town26. Dowie Family portrait including his wife, son and daughterASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 15 September 202227. Archival image of the original Zion town membersON SCREEN TEXT: While Dowie welcomed Black people and immigrants, he had harsh words for politicians, medical doctors and particularly, Muslims.28. Various of McDowell looking through one of Dowie's spiritual writings called "The Leaves of Healing"++SOT PARTIALLY COVERED++29. SOUNDBITE (English) Dhiya Tahira Bakr, National president, Ahmadi community women's auxiliary:"That was to the detriment of the founder when he started in proselytizing as if he was the third Elijah and the only religion was Christianity and he started preaching against Islam. And then our founder, who was way over in Qadian, India, you know, heard of this."30. Dowie's "Leaves of Healing" booksASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 202231. Books showing photos of Dowie and original members of the Zion community and churchASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 15 September 202232. Photo of the "Promised Messiah" Mirza Ghulam Ahmad++SOT PARTIALLY COVERED++33. SOUNDBITE (English) Tahir Ahmed Soofi, President, Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community:"The 'Promised Messiah,' peace be upon him (arabic), defended Islam and started to write back to John Alexander Dowie and started to correct some things. And then there was a challenge, a prayer challenge."34. Soofi looking through archival documents on Zion and Dowie++SPLIT SCREEN++35. Photo of AhmadASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 2022++STILLS++36. Photograph of DowieON SCREEN TEXT: Mirza Ghulam Ahmad called for a prayer duel, suggesting that "whoever is the liar may perish first." 37. Lake Mound Cemetery ON SCREEN TEXT: Some say that Dowie did not accept the challenge.ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 15 September 2022++SOT PARTIALLY COVERED++38. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike McDowell, Board member, Zion Historical Society:"On the side of the Ahmadiyya. It's a very important event on the side of Dowie, not so important."ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 202239. Dowie's graveON SCREEN TEXT: But in the following years, Dowie's fortunes and health began fail. He died of a paralytic stroke in 1907.ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 16 September 202240. Women of the Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community at Friday PrayerON SCREEN TEXT: The Ahmadiyya Muslim community saw it as a sign their prophet had won. ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 15 September 2022++SOT PARTIALLY COVERED++41. SOUNDBITE (English) Dhiya Tahira Bakr, National president, Ahmadi community women's auxiliary:"So the demise of Alexander Dowie just kind of opened up the path for the Ahmadi Muslim community to take up that foundation and build upon it."ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 16 September 202242. The old Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community building and prayer hall43. Various of men during Friday prayerON SCREEN TEXT: On Oct. 1, the Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community will inaugurate its first official mosque in Zion, drawing thousands of Muslims to the city.ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 15 September 2022++SOT PARTIALLY COVERED++44. SOUNDBITE (English) Tariq Naseem, Imam, Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community:"So we're actually sitting in the newly constructed Fath-e-Azeem mosque. It means the great victory. And this mosque is a representation, is a beacon, to the acceptance of prayers, to the acceptance of a prophecy."ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 16 September 202245. Various of the exterior of newly constructed Fath-e-Azeem mosque46. Women at Friday prayerASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 14 September 2022++SOT PARTIALLY COVERED++47. SOUNDBITE (English) David Padfield, minister of Church of Christ:"Well, I imagine the founding fathers of this town are rolling over in their graves, but they were probably rolling over in their graves when this building was built. So, I mean, it's they were not real fond of anyone that didn't practice what they practiced."48. Various of Church of Christ members at Wednesday Bible StudyASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 16 September 2022++SOT PARTIALLY COVERED++49. SOUNDBITE (English) Suriyya and Junayd Latif, Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community members:"We believe that, you know, the peace that he was hoping for it to be seen and it will prevail. And but it will be one where all of us can, you know, enjoy that peace together, you know, regardless of race, religion, you know, nationality, you know, status."ASSOCIATED PRESS Zion, Illinois - 17 September 202250. Old panoramic photo of the original Zion neighborhoodsSTORYLINE: It all began with a Christian utopia, fighting words and a prayer duel."The way I like to start talking about it is some of it's good, some of it's bad, and hopefully it's not boring," said Mike McDowell, a board member for the Zion Historical Society.In 1900, faith healer John Alexander Dowie founded the town of Zion, Illinois, as a Christian Theocracy. Some would say he was an entrepreneur, a visionary ahead of his time. "He had a huge vision of starting a community and making it self-sufficient," said McDowell. And people were drawn to the town for Dowie's his healing ministry.And at time when it wasn't widely accepted, Dowie welcomed black people and immigrants. However, he had harsh words for politicians, medical doctors and particularly, Muslims."His vision was to make Zion a city of God," said Dhiya Tahira Bakr, the National president for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community women's auxiliary. "But just like with some human nature, people get wrapped up into that and they lose sight of the purpose, which was to reflect the teachings of God."Dowie proclaimed he was the prophet Elijah and started preaching against Islam in his worldwide, spiritual journal the "Leaves of Healing." His sermons traveled as far as Qadian, India, where the "Promised Messiah" Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community lived."The "Promised Messiah," peace be upon him (arabic), defended Islam and started to write back to John Alexander Dowie and started to correct some things," said Tahir Ahmed Soofi, President of the Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community. "And then there was a challenge, a prayer challenge."Ahmad called for a prayer duel to ascertain who was the true prophet and which was the true religion. The widely publicized challenge suggested that "whoever is the liar may perish first." Some say that Dowie did not accept the challenge. But in the following years, Dowie's fortunes and health began fail. He died of a paralytic stroke in 1907 and the Ahmadi Muslim community saw it as a sign their prophet had won. "The demise of Alexander Dowie just kind of opened up the path for the Ahmadi Muslim community to take up that foundation and build upon it," said Bakr.So on Oct. 1, 2022, the Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community will inaugurate its first official mosque in Zion, drawing thousands of Muslims to the city.The new mosque was named the Fath-e-Azeem mosque, meaning "the great victory.""This mosque is a representation, is a beacon, to the acceptance of prayers, to the acceptance of a prophecy," said Tariq Naseem, Imam at the Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community."I imagine the founding fathers of this town are rolling over in their graves," said David Padfield, minister of Church of Christ, "but they were probably rolling over in their graves when this building was built" ... "They were not real fond of anyone that didn't practice what they practiced," he laughed.Many Zion residents today don't know the full history of the town and have never heard of the prayer duel or Dowie's intolerance for Islam. And many are welcoming of the new mosque.But the Ahmadi community plans to embrace their history and continue the positive parts of Dowie's legacy, a self sustaining community with God and good will at its center. "But it will be one where all of us can, you know, enjoy that piece together, you know, regardless of race, religion, you know, nationality, you know, status," said Junayd Latif of the Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community.___Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. 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