Friday, August 4, 2017

UK: 37,000-strong Ahmadiyya Muslims conference attracted everyone except Sunni or Shia Muslims


Buddhist monks and leaders of other faiths also attended, but few from other strands of British Islam. This was the one note of division at an otherwise festive and all-embracing event.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Economist
By The Economist | August 3, 2017

Some 37,000 people gathered at a farm for the worldwide convention of the Ahmadiyya sect

Each summer in a collection of remote fields in rural Hampshire, sheep and cattle make way for a vast tented camp. But this is not another of Britain’s many music festivals; it is the largest gathering of Muslims in western Europe. At the end of July, Oaklands farm near Alton hosted Jalsa Salana, the worldwide convention of the Ahmadiyya sect.

The event attracted about 37,000 people from over 100 countries. One team of Ahmadis cycled from Germany; the Canadians chartered their own plane. Around 30,000 Ahmadis live in Britain, where Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth khalifa (or leader) of the sect, is based, and there are over 10m worldwide, representing about 1% of Muslims. The Jalsa Salana itself has been held for 51 years, but the sect bought Oaklands farm to host the ever-rising numbers that flock to it. There may be mud (plenty this year), but it is thoroughly well organised. British Ahmadis are more likely to be hedge-fund managers and civil servants than impecunious DJs, and it shows. The tents are solid, the boardwalks broad and the timing Swiss.

Security was tight, with bags searched and guards in body armour common. The convention took place against a backdrop of not only the terrorist attacks on Manchester and London, but also assaults on the Admadiyya, by other Muslims. For all the warm welcome to outsiders, everyone was on edge.

The Ahmadis differ from mainstream Islam in that they believe Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the 19th-century Indian who founded their tradition in 1889, was a latter-day prophet. In many Muslims’ eyes, this makes their practice un-Islamic and blasphemous. Ahmad was also convinced that Jesus survived his ordeal on the cross—to die as an old man, in Kashmir. This challenges orthodox Islam, too, which holds that Jesus was raised to heaven while still alive. As a result, members of the sect have been persecuted in several countries, particularly Pakistan and Indonesia. Some fear that this sectarianism could spread to Britain. In March 2016 a Glaswegian Ahmadi was killed by a Sunni Muslim from Bradford.

Perhaps partly because of their own plight the Ahmadi creed is “Love for all, hatred for none”. This has put them at the forefront of campaigns to counter extremism and radicalisation, attracting plenty of political support. At the recent gathering taped messages of support were played from Theresa May, the prime minister, and Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader. A government minister spoke, as did politicians from Croatia, Holland, Guatemala, Benin and elsewhere.

Buddhist monks and leaders of other faiths also attended, but few from other strands of British Islam. This was the one note of division at an otherwise festive and all-embracing event.



Read original post here: Thousands of Ahmadis meet in rural Hampshire


This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Times of Ahmad. Times of Ahmad is not an organ of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, nor in any way associated with any of the community's official websites.

2 comments:

  1. I was happy to meet there Mr Arnould van Doorn, the Dutch pilitician who converted to Sunni Islam some years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was pleased to meet the Sunni Muslim Dutch politician Mr Arnould van Doorn during this auspicious gathering. He said that the greatrst danger Muslims face these daus is their own disunity. Working for Muslim unity himself he decided to take part in this gathering.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments. Any comments irrelevant to the post's subject matter, containing abuses, and/or vulgar language will not be approved.

Top read stories during last 7 days

Disclaimer!

THE TIMES OF AHMAD is not an organ of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, nor in any way associated with any of the community's official websites. Times of Ahmad is an independently run and privately managed news / contents archival website; and does not claim to speak for or represent the official views of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The Times of Ahmad assumes full responsibility for the contents of its web pages. The views expressed by the authors and sources of the news archives do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Times of Ahmad. All rights associated with any contents archived / stored on this website remain the property of the original owners.