Dr. Basharat Munir Mirza Passes Away
Dr. Basharat Munir Mirza of Athens Majlis passed away on February 8, 2013 at the age of 78, Innā lillāhi wa innā ilaihi rāji‘ūn. He served the Jamā‘at in various capacities for a long time. He was an acomplished person in every sense and one his most notable one was establishing America's first Muslim Printing Press, Fazl-i- Umar Press, in Athens, Ohio. It has been instrumental in printing and mailing various Jamā‘at publications for almost five decades since the early 1960s.
Dr. Mirza was a Professor of Nuclear Physics at Ohio University, conducting pioneering research at Brookhaven National Lab for eleven years. He actively served the community he lived in. In 1990, Dr. Mirza started a food pantry for the town of Chauncey—a small municipality next to Athens, Ohio. In 1991, he helped the Athens County Adult Education program that was about to be eliminated and managed to keep it running. At that time, he received a letter of commendation from the Ohio House of Representatives commending him as a “remarkable individual, combining civic concern and commitment with selfless initiative to become a dynamic leader.” Noting his services in terms of giving of his time, energy, and resources, the letter said, “we commend you for your dedicated service to the community and salute you as one of Ohio’s finest citizens.”
"Read Obituary in the Athen News"
In 2007, Dr. Mirza was elected to the town council for a four-year term. In 2008 and 2009, he was elected as the president of the town council for one-year terms, for two consecutive years. On March 9, 2009, Dr. Mirza became the Mayor of Chauncey when the sitting mayor resigned. As such, Dr. Mirza became the first Aḥmadī to become a mayor of a U.S. town. Upon hearing from Dr. Mirza about his appointment, Ḥaḍrat Khalīfatul Masīḥ V (may Allāh strengthen his hands) congratulated him and said “Alḥamdulillāh,” and prayed that may Allāh empower him to discharge his duties efficiently, and that may He be his Protector and Helper.
In the publication of March 4, 2009 of The Athens Messenger, a citizen recognized Dr. Mirza’s services for the town and referred to him as one of the “Champions of Chauncey.” In his letter to the paper’s Editor he writes: “Dr. Mirza, the president of Village Council, has donated his time as well as his money many times over the years to help out the village. Even before his elected position he bought spreaders for the village dump truck to help keep the streets and roads, clean and safe. He has paid for blacktop out of his own pocket to fill and repair potholes in the village. He has run a food bank and helped with the homeless, among other things, all with very little or no thanks or recognition.”
Dr. Mirza is survived by his wife of 56 years, two sons, two daughters, thirteen grandchildren, and three great- grandchildren. Members are requested to pray that may Almighty Allāh accept his services that he offered in the cause of Islam and Aḥmadiyyat, and humanity, and that He enables his offspring to follow in his footsteps. Āmīn.
A Follow-up from his grandson Zahir Mannan (Connecticut Majlis)
In the name of Allah, the Most Graceful, Ever Compassionate Dear all: Peace be upon you and the mercy and blessings of God. As you may know, two weeks ago on Jumu'ah (Friday), February 8th 2013, a passionate and historic servant of the Beloved Allah and mankind, Dr. Basharat Munir Mirza son of Hazrat Master Mirza Nazir Hussain (with whom God is pleased), returned in peace and submission to his Everlasting Lord to whom he belonged. He was the founder of America's first Muslim Press and the first Ahmadi Muslim Mayor of an American town. He also had the distinction of being the son, grandson, and great-grandson of prominent companions of the latter-day universal Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani (on whom be peace). I wanted to share my piece about my grandfather's inspiring life and revolutionary achievements entitled; My Grandfather: A Bearer of Glad Tidings, A Blessed Light http://hartfordfavs.com/culture/family-relationships/my-grandfather-a-bearer-of-glad-tidings-and-a-blessed-light. You may also read it here http://www.examiner.com/article/my-grandfather-a-bearer-of-glad-tidings-a-blessed-light. Please remember him and his family members in your sincere supplications. God's love be with you always from your humble servant, Miyan Zahir Muhammad Mannan