by Adil Khan
Last month the International Ahmadiyya Muslim Community held its 51st annual convention, the Jalsa Salana UK, in Hadeeqatul Mahdi, Alton, Hampshire, England. The Jalsa was presided by the head of the AMC, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Fifth Caliph of the Promised Messiah (KhalifaofIslam.com). In all respects this convention was an international convention. Ahmadi Muslims from 114 countries attended this event, and the total event attendance was over 37,393 on-site. Thousands of these were volunteers from the AMC. This does not include the large number of people who participated in the Jalsa via live streaming world-wide. Around 250,000 (a quarter of a million) people watched His Holiness’ concluding address via live stream. According to a very conservative estimate the message of Jalsa was conveyed to over 128 million people through news and online media. It was announced by His Holiness during this event that 609,000 joined the fold of Ahmadiyya Islam, and that the sect, a revivalist movement of Islam’s true teachings (TrueIslam.com) was now established in 210 countries of the world. And this event took place in England of all places?! All this is enough to make any normal person cry out in fear. Right? Wrong.
From the beginning Jalsa has been a place where guests from various backgrounds are hosted, and this year’s event was no exception. Here’s what world leaders, as well as normal everyday people say that they think about Islam. Mrs. Maryam Boni Jialo, the former foreign minister of Benin and advisor to the president writes, ‘”through this Jalsa I was able to understand the Ahmadiyya Jama’at in greater depth. I am greatly impressed by the management of the Jalsa. Everyone sacrificed their own comfort and was ready to provide comfort and ease to others. I will never in my life be able to forget the smiling faces, which found happiness in serving other guests. She says that women have been given a great status and only through this can a healthy and peaceful society be established’
Mrs. Iliena Calles, an MP from Guatemala stated that the Jalsa was a very unique and astonishing experience, noticing the scenes of volunteers serving thousands of guests. She also noted the teaching of paradise lying at the feet of the mother in His Holiness’ address to the ladies side. She noted that as opposed to the men’s marquee, she greater comfort, freedom, and ease in the ladies’ marquee.
Mr. Sergio Moya, a professor at the National University of Costa Rica, stated, “”I have witnessed a new picture of Islam through this Jalsa. I have seen a community of Muslims that is exemplary in mutual love and affection who present a practical depiction of their faith.”
Mr. Joseph Pierrer Duplan, the representative of the President of Haiti, says, “Every single person was demonstrating simplicity and patience. There was an aura of brotherhood in the atmosphere.” Further, “I am not a religious person but after attending this Jalsa and meeting with the Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community my heart concludes that if there is to be a true religion, then it is Islam and Ahmadiyyat.”
Mr. Zoucomore, president of the Human Rights Commision of Burkina Faso, states. “ “I have heard addresses of many religious leaders. They speak as if they are the only people treading on the right path and play with people’s emotions. However, I heard the address of the Imam of Jama’at-e-Ahmadiyya with utmost attention. The focal point of all the speeches was establishment of world peace. And this is the teaching…that can lead to the establishment of world peace. And we can defeat terrorism and injustice.”
Mrs. Katrina Celjak arrived to the Jalsa with a Croatian delegation. She says, “Previously I was a nun at a church, but now I am in search of the truth.” She further states “the Jalsa environment, the exhibitions here, and other information about the Jama’at has enlightened my mind. I sense that my journey in search of the truth will reach its destination soon.” An elderly couple from this Croatian delegation had attended last year as non-Ahmadi Muslims, but having converted, attended this year as Ahmadi Muslims.
Mr. David Martin, a senior barrister of the Queen’s (of England) Council, said, “”whatever I am saying is not my words but it is the voice of my heart. Up till now I have never attended a ceremony like this one. The people are so nice and the community is so beautiful. I say with full conviction that never in my life have I witnessed something like the Jalsa Salana.”
Mr. Winson Williams, a new convert to Ahmadiyya Islam, who was attending from Jamaica, says ‘The addresses of [His Holiness] and in particular the International Bai’at (pledge of allegiance) was an extremely emotional experience.’
A journalist working for a national news channel in Bolivia states, “’According to the West, Islam holds women back and they are considered to be given no importance. However, I saw that the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community was giving awards to women who had achieved notable success and each person was individually being called up by their names.”
My dear fellow Americans and citizens of the world, it is with great pain and sincerity that I tell you that I did not make these things up. Rather, they are all impressions from real people, and they are not even all of them. Islam means “peace” and is a religion of peace. The Ahmadiyya Community, the fastest-growing sect of the world’s fastest-growing religion, Islam, is a revivalist—not reformist—movement. Naturally there would be more questions. I invite all readers to google the “Ahmadiyya Muslim Community” for more information.