By Jessica Gould
Thousands of Ahmadi Muslims have converged on Chantilly, Virginia, where the group is holding its annual convention.
Tamara Rodney traveled from St. Louis, Missouri to attend this year’s convention, which members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community call Jalsa.
"When you say Jalsa, you think gathering," she says. "You think strength or strengthening. You think rejuvenating."
She says she always looks forward to the event. But this year, she says, the convention has special meaning. In May, gunmen attacked two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, Pakistan, killing more than 80 people.
"For me, this convention’s flavor is different," she says. "It’s about recognizing that, though there were some among us that we lost, that’s just brought us closer together."
Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believe the messiah has already come in the form of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who preached peace, justice and the separation of mosque and state.
The group has millions of members in more than 195 countries across the world.