Why 40,000 Muslims are gathering in the UK
Damion Mitchell, Editor – Radio & Online
SURREY, United Kingdom:
Close to 40,000 Muslims from across the globe have gathered in the United Kingdom for the 50th Annual Convention (Jalsa Salana) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United Kingdom set to begin Friday.
The convention coincides with a rise public skepticism about the Muslim religion because of the increase in global terrorist activities, some of which have been perpetuated by people claiming to be radical members of the faith.
It is a reality that is at the forefront of the thousands of followers including a Jamaican delegation here, and a matter that has been a recurring item of discussions among Muslims at several lodgings across town ahead of the convention.
“We are clarifying the difference between acts of some misguided people and the true teachings of Islam,” said Lal Khan Malik, the president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Canada which supervises Jamaica.
In the past 12 months, a string of terrorist attacks have claimed hundreds of lives in Europe and resulted in injuries to hundreds more with Germany, Brussels and Paris seemingly the centre of the attacks.
In fact, the issue of terrorism is one of the matters high on the agenda of the world head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community (the Caliph), Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, and already, he has been making the rounds speaking out against the acts of war.
In an article published Thursday on the Ahmadis' website, the Caliph rejected all forms of terrorism, extremism and compulsion.
“Let it be clear that they are not practising Islam, rather it seems as though they have invented their own hate-filled and poisonous religion,” he said.
The Caliph said the acts of terror have exposed the world to “incredibly precarious” and challenging times.
In the meantime, Nayab Sayed, the deputy secretary for trade and industry for Ahmadiyya in the United Kingdom says it appears that more people are beginning to understand the difference between his community and the radicals.
But he says there is still more work to be done to rid the community of the negative perceptions which have the potential to impact its growth.
“People are interested in knowing why this message of peace is set up against the overall marketing of Islam in the world which normally have negative connotations,” he said.
The Jalsa Salana culminates on Sunday with a mass gathering in Hampshire.