European Tour 2019 : A Review
After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) stated:
Recently, I toured some of the European countries and two of those countries, Holland and France, also held their Jalsa Salana [annual conventions]. Moreover, inaugurations of mosques and other events with non-Muslims also took place. There was an event at UNESCO headquarters in France, which was held with the permission of their administration and they were also invited. In that event, I had the opportunity to explain the Islamic teachings and to highlight the role of Muslims in the advancement of knowledge and science. UNESCO is an agency of the UN, which has been established for the promotion of education, science and culture. Freedom of the press, eradication of poverty and the conservation of world heritage etc. are also among its objectives. I informed them of the teaching of Islam, the services of the earlier Muslims and their contribution and the role of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community with regards to these objectives.
Likewise, [I presented] the Islamic teaching before politicians and intellectuals in Berlin, which is the capital city of Germany. In view of this notion that exists in the minds of Europeans and it is especially prevalent in Germany and other European countries that Islam is not compatible with the culture and civilisation of Europe and Islam should therefore not come to Europe and also that Islam is a danger to Europe. I presented the Islamic teaching with regards to this. Some prominent intellectuals and politicians as well as some diplomats were also present there. They demonstrated and expressed a positive reaction to it. Likewise, Allah the Almighty granted the opportunity to introduce Islam and its teachings in other events. Alhamdulillah [All praise be to Allah,] that we were able to witness the blessings of Allah the Almighty everywhere.
Now, I will briefly mention some of the impressions of the guests who participated in the various events, which shows how these people were able to understand the true teachings of Islam and to have their reservations removed.
In Holland, I also had the opportunity to address the Dutch guests on the second day of the Jalsa. 125 non-Muslim Dutch guests participated in that event. A councillor from Nunspeet, where our centre is currently located, while giving his impressions, stated, “A long time ago, I did not even like to come here (i.e. having a relationship with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community). However, with the passage of time, our relations improved.” … What I liked most about His Holiness’ address was that he spoke with great courage.” Then, there was a Dutch couple who participated in this event. They said, “The atmosphere of the Jalsa was incredible. Everyone was showing kindness and it appeared to be a heavenly atmosphere.” Another guest, Danny Harking Sahib, participated in the event. He says, “His Holiness mentioned the turmoil that has spread across the world and also emphasised the need to establish peace. We live together on the earth and we should collectively strive to establish peace.”
Then, there was the inauguration of the mosque which was constructed in the city of Almere in Holland, which is the second purpose-built mosque of the Jama’at. The chairman of the church in Almere, Haiyo Witzel Sahib was in attendance. He says, “The message of your Jama’at is a message of peace. Your Khalifa delivered an excellent speech on peace and religious freedom.” An Arab guest, Zakariya Sahib, was in attendance. He says, “I really enjoyed the event. I listened to the address of your Khalifa and if we desire to establish peace, then we should act in accordance with his address.” Then, there was a local guest, Diene Sahiba. She says, “This function was very well organised. I listened to the speech of your Khalifa and it was very good. Excellent arrangements had been made for the women as well. I have attended for the first time, but I will come to the mosque and meet the women of the Jama’at again and increase our acquaintance.” There was another local guest. He says, “Before I came, my neighbour warned me to be careful. He said that one never knows when and what Muslims might do. However, I greatly enjoyed coming here. The members of your Jama’at took great care of us right from the beginning till the end.”
There are countless such impressions, however, I have only mentioned a few. Following this was the tour of France. The Jalsa was also held there and a similar sitting with non-Ahmadi and non-Muslim guests was organised and approximately seventy-five guests attended. One of the guests was a lady, who is an anthropologist by profession. She says, “When the Khalifa said that he condemns the various attacks that took place in France, he made it clear that Islam has no link with such attacks. From the true image of Islam as presented by the Imam of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at, it appears that Muslims can easily integrate into the western world.” Then, there was a non-Ahmadi guest, Murtaza Sahib, from Iran. He says, “The state of the Muslims is such that they are not even aware of their belief and faith. These people should learn Islam from your Khalifa.” Then, a non-Ahmadi guest from Marrakesh, Sufyan Sahib, says, “From today’s address I realised that you people are in fact the true and real Muslims… We did not know how to defend Islam and how to address their fears. Today, your Khalifa defended Islam in an excellent manner.”
There was an event in UNESCO on 8th October which was attended by ninety-one guests. The ambassador of Mali in UNESCO, the Ministers of French Internal and External Affairs, the Counsellor to the Ministry of Religious Affairs in France, the Director of the Religious Department, the President of the NATO Memorial, Members of Parliament, Counsellor, Mayors and other people connected with different institutions of the government also participated in this event. Then there was the opening of the mosque in Strasbourg, which is another city in France, near the border of Germany. Approximately 191 guests were in attendance, among whom was a member of parliament, 5 mayors of different locations, representatives of different religions, heads of different associations, people from various fields and departments, and also people from all the smaller neighbouring villages. These people came especially due to the fact that they had reservations against Islam, rather some harboured hate, but when they came and attended, their impressions were completely changed.
Thereafter, we travelled to Germany and on 14th October the mosque in Wiesbaden was inaugurated. The inaugural ceremony took place in a well-known hall there as there was limited space in the actual precinct of the mosque. A total of 370 guests attended this function, including the Lord Mayor, among others. A representative of a Church in Mainz was also in attendance. He says, “What His Holiness said about the rights of neighbours and the Islamic teachings he presented was very much new to me and very interesting. This is the first time I have heard any religious leader give so much emphasis on the rights of neighbours.” The Baitul Hameed Mosque was also inaugurated in Fulda and 330 guests attended the ceremony. The Lord Mayor was in attendance, however, after welcoming us outside he then left. The people of Fulda have many reservations about Muslims, in fact, there is opposition there. This was an old centre for Christianity and is famous for upholding their traditions. May Allah the Almighty enable their hearts to understand the true teaching of Islam, enable them to accept its teachings, believe in the true concept of the Unity of God and come under the flag of the Holy Prophet (sa). This is the only means to attain prosperity because their temporary worldly progress cannot secure the means to attain true prosperity.
I would also like to mention some details regarding media coverage. News reports were published in Holland by two media channels, RTV Nunspeet and Euro Times, and 70,000 people received its coverage. During the Bait-ul-Afiyat Mosque opening, a news channel of Almere reported on this event which reached out to 1.5 million people. Similarly, thousands of people received this news through various social media platforms. They have estimated that the total media coverage during the tour of Holland reached to 16 million people. A national news agency of France published an article on the address delivered in UNESCO. In relation to the Mahdi Mosque opening in Strasbourg, the DNA newspaper published a report and was also covered by a radio channel. Through these various media outlets, the news reached out to millions of people. In Germany, there were events held in Wiesbaden, Fulda, Berlin and Mahdiabad. According to the report of their secretary for external affairs the message was conveyed to approximately 49 million people through 13 newspaper reports, 4 TV channels, one radio station and 13 reports through electronic media. Similarly, The Review of Religions conveyed the message through their various means to approximately 1.5 million people. As I mentioned earlier that may Allah enable the people to understand this message.
After the Friday Prayers, I shall lead a funeral prayer in absentia of respected Maulvi Mahmood Ahmad Sahib who was a missionary from Palghat, Kerala, India. He passed away on 15th October at the age of 54: “Surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.” Maulvi K Mahmood Ahmad Sahib left his college studies on the advice of his father and joined Jamia Ahmadiyya and graduated in 1988. He was a great scholar, very pious and regular in his prayers, observing the fasts and offering the Tahajjud prayer. He was extremely devout in his worship, looked after the poor, extremely patient and full of gratitude and a sincere person. He had a very deep knowledge of the Holy Quran, Ahadith, books of the Promised Messiah (as) and the Khulafa. He was very proficient in Arabic, Malayalam and Tamil. In reality, he was a Sultan-e-Naseer [great helper] of Khilafat. May God Almighty grant him His mercy and forgiveness. May He elevate his status and enable his progeny to continue his good deeds.