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Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad
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Pledge of allegiance offered by 33,000 Ahmadi Muslims in bai'at ceremony with the Khalifa
Over 33000 Muslims from across the UK and 97 other countries converged at Hadeeqatul Mahdi (Oakland Farm), a farm site in Hampshire to unite against extremism to mark the UK’s 48th Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s 125th anniversary. The Jalsa Salana is the largest Islamic convention in the UK.
His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Caliph of the community, spoke of peace and inclusion during the three days of the convention, highlighting the values of good citizenship and charity for which the community is renowned. He said: “Islam commands that we must respect all faiths...a real follower of faith cannot be bigoted.”
The Caliph is the fifth successor of His Holiness Mirza Ghulam Ahmad whom Ahmadi Muslims believe to be the Prophet and Messiah prophesised in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The Caliph's message was echoed by civic and political leaders alike.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, Kevin Hurley said: “You are a very special group of people... your beliefs are going to be fundamental to maintaining peace and cohesion among the community...while other people are trying to stir up problems.”
The Mayor of Alton said: “Your motto ‘love for all hatred for none’ is as important today as it was when it was first said... your charitable work both in the local and wider communities is highly commendable... your community is anxious to see what they can do help the local community... including £1500... towards the local food bank project... this Jalsa has been another experience in my Mayoralty for me to cherish.”
A key message that His Holiness conveyed was that all forms of extremism are wholly contrary to the teachings of Islam. He emphasised that a Caliphate cannot be established for political means, as a Caliph must be for spiritual guidance, winning the hearts of people through love, not through force.
The event was made possible thanks to over 3,000 volunteers, who worked tirelessly to manage all aspects of the event; accommodation, communication, logistics, health and safety and to the Langar (kitchen), that fed all delegates over 250,000 free meals from breakfast to dinner for all three days.
The culmination of the event was the International Bai’at, or pledge of allegiance. It was announced that over 555,000 people, from 110 countries had joined the community in the preceding year.
The event was broadcast live worldwide, by MTA International, which broadcasts in the UK on Sky channel 787. Millions followed proceedings, which were simultaneously translated into several languages.
The President of the Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association (PAAMA) UK, Mr Tommy Kallon attended the event and gave a defining speech on ‘A Review of 125 year History of Ahmadiyyat’ stating that: “Despite being denounced by other Muslims who refuse to accept its Islamic status, throughout its glorious history, the Community has continued to sacrifice life, wealth,
time and honour on a global scale for the glory and propagation of Islam and for the promotion of a valued system founded in the service of humanity, rooted in the call of duty and inspired by the love of God.”
As part of Jalsa Salana programme this year, PAAMA UK held a special Pan-African Evening event on Friday 29th August 2014. In attendance were around 500 delegates comprising, African-Americans, African across Europe, delegates from Africa and the members of PAAMA UK. Also in attendance was the Director General of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Major (Rtd.) Albert Don-Chebie and the CEO of Trumpet Media Group - Femi Okutubo, to name but a few.
In his Welcome Address, Mr Tommy Kallon, President PAAMA UK said the event was to bring together Ahmadis of African origin living across various parts of the world to share ideas, discuss matters of common interest and to seek out ways of collaborating together: “The members of PAAMA UK have a noble ambition of bringing hope, guidance and enlightenment to the continent of Africa to enable it to realise its true potential”, he said.
The 125th anniversary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was a rallying cry for religious freedom in the face of growing militancy in the world and countless deaths of innocent men, women and children.
“It was a unique event”, said Mr Tommy Kallon “and we were delighted that PAAMA UK was significantly represented at this year's convention. In a world full of tension and conflict, the Jalsa Salana is a haven of peace and true harmony where the world comes together to focus on prayer and peace.”