Muslims Amass for Landmark Islamic Convention in English Countryside

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Thirty Thousand Converge for Britain’s Biggest Annual Islamic Gathering Organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

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We must turn to God and make every effort to work for unity and to help all those who are suffering. That is the true path to peace

- 50th annual Convention celebrates Golden Jubilee in Britain

  • Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim leader Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad to renew calls for freedom, peace and justice – and for Muslims to redouble efforts to counter terrorism and extremism
  • Three-day event to remember victims of terrorist atrocities in many parts of the world, including France and Belgium
  • Ahmadis will reflect on how they themselves have been targeted by extremists – including the murder of Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah

Interview and Photo Opportunities: 5-14 August
Convention Dates: 12-14 August

Over 30,000 Muslims are expected to attend a landmark Islamic convention to be held 12-14 August in the British countryside. They will pay tribute to Britain for the freedom it gives its citizens and see delegates pledge loyalty to their nation as a fundamental part of their faith.

The Worldwide Head – or Caliph – of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, will lead the three-day convention of more than 30,000 people with a rallying call to members to serve the country they live in and to work for peace at every level of society.

And, all delegates will take a pledge -as they have done every year- reaffirming their loyalty to their country of residence. This year’s convention – called Jalsa Salana – is special as it marks the 50th anniversary of the spiritual convention.

A tented village, rows upon rows of stalls, fluttering flags, tens of thousands of people and an organised programme of events provide all the hallmarks of a country festival but its focus on faith and fraternity and the sheer scale of the convention sets this apart from all other gatherings.

The Jalsa Salana of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is an extraordinary event and it marks over100 years of the community in Britain and tells the story of a community in exile- persecuted in lands where extremists hold sway.

The convention comes at a time when there is growing unrest in the Muslim world and the fear of extremism is escalating. His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“We continue to witness grave injustices being committed against innocent people, be they Muslims, Christians, Jews or people any faith or of no faith. This is most reprehensible and there is no justification for such atrocities. All people who wish to promote peace must stand united against such bloodshed.

“Furthermore the world powers must use their influence to engender justice for all. Without justice there can never be peace and unless serious thought and selfless action is taken by governments then the world is slipping rapidly towards an increasing state of conflict. We must turn to God and make every effort to work for unity and to help all those who are suffering. That is the true path to peace”

Rafiq Hayat, President Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK said:
“The 30,000 plus people from over 90 countries gathering at the convention come in the spirit of fraternity – and to give thanks for the security and freedom they have found in Britain.

“Many have fled persecution in other countries and together, they will re-affirm their pledge to follow the true teachings of Islam – that are teachings of peace - and to counter all forms of extremism and intolerance.

“We have much to be grateful for in Britain which has allowed our community to prosper and contribute to British life for more than 100 years. We count ourselves proud to call ourselves British Ahmadi Muslims.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslims have special reason to be grateful – their enlightened and tolerant thinking has made them bitter enemies of firebrand clerics hell bent on using religion to incite hatred and violence.

But despite severe persecution abroad, Ahmadiyya Muslims are flourishing in Britain and many other parts of the world, so the annual convention will be a chance for them to give thanks for the freedom to worship they have here in the UK.

One of the many exhibitions onsite will highlight the persecution the community faces in countries where extremist Muslim clergy preach hatred, particularly Pakistan where hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims have been murdered.

Rafiq Hayat said:
“Despite persecution, the abiding message of our community is Love for All, Hatred for None. And despite the efforts of extremists, our message of peace has prevailed and we continue to counter hatred, terror and prejudice with strength of faith and purpose. When we say Islam means peace-we practice it by example in our everyday lives and through our contribution to the well-being of the nation.

“As the world rallies against the onslaught of extremists, the example of our community demonstrates that peace will always find a way to triumph over adversity.”

The 50th Jalsa Salana (annual convention) takes place 12-14 August at East Worldham, Alton, Hampshire GU34 3AU
Ends

Note to editors:
In London, we are offering opportunities for interviews, filming and photography, commencing one week in advance of the convention, starting Friday 5th August.

Also, Ahmadiyya Muslim branch offices located in all major towns and cities of Britain, from where the majority of the UK conference delegates would arrive, are available for direct media contacts. Please ask for contact information.

Ahmadi Muslims – one of the oldest Muslim groups in Britain, accept Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a 19th century spiritual reformer from India, as the Messiah awaited by all major religions. The Community, now established in some 200 countries, is at the vanguard of the revival of true Islam.

His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Caliph of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, currently based in West London, will host the annual convention and address it on each of the three days.

Ahmadi Muslims are active in their communities; they raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities each year and have their own charity Humanity First that is serving humanity locally as well as in all parts of the world irrespective of colour, race or religion. Ahmadi Muslims are the pioneers of interfaith dialogue. In 2003 they opened the largest purpose built mosque in Western Europe in Morden Surrey, which can accommodate more than 13,000 people. The community also built the first mosque in London in 1924.

Contact details:
Name: Basharat Nazir +447703 483384
E-mail: media(at)ahmadiyya(dot)org(dot)uk
Mahmood Rafiq +447971 060 962
Twitter: @JalsaUK @AhmadiyyaUK
http://www.alislam.org/
http://www.loveforallhatredfornone.org/

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Basharat Nazir