This weekend a makeshift city will rise from the farmlands of Hampshire as more than 30,000 Muslims from across the world will gather and raise their nations flags united under a caliph to reaffirm their faith in Islam.
I know what you’re thinking and no you don’t need to alert the authorities, they are uniting to help target religious extremism by holding the largest international religious convention in the UK; global religious leaders, parliamentarians, civic leaders and diplomats will gather together to discuss how to combat fanaticism in Islam.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s annual Jalsa Salana, aims to gather people from various religious backgrounds to discuss faith in the 21st century. The event will be directed by their worldwide leader and Caliph Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
Not to be confused with the likes of Caliph Al Baghdadi of ISIS, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has spent the last decade speaking out against Islamic fanaticism in the Muslim world: “Extremism and injustice – whether it carried out by religious groups, secular groups, governments or leaders – has to be confronted in an honest manner by all with a genuine desire for peace. We call upon all Imams, if they truly believe in the message of the Quran, to lead the way and reject all forms of hatred and work for social harmony.”
The community aims to target extremism in Islam and provide Muslim youths with a better knowledge and understanding of Islam and loyalty to ones country.
From its origins in India the annual Jalsa (now in its 49th year in the UK) is engineered by 5000 volunteers from within the community, people from all trades and professions will build an entire city from scratch, including an onsite bakery (producing 10,000 pieces of chapatti bread per hour) and an international television station which will broadcast the event live across the world in over 11 different languages simultaneously.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community has faced persecution for their beliefs and in 1974 was declared non- Muslim by the Pakistani government because of theological differences within mainstream Islam. The community is considered one of the fasted growing sects in Islam and has spread to over 200 countries across the world, with thousands of new members joining every year.
It’s unlikely you will find this Jalsa headlining the front page of your Sunday paper, but the event is certainly significant to many, especially those young Muslims on the edge looking for guidance that doesn’t involve the ISIS iota of discrimination and death to the West. Every year slowly gathering speed you never know when this community will finally catch your eye but in the mean time the annual Jalsa will continue on as always with the Ahmadiyya community doing their part in the overall ‘Jihad’ against extremism and hate.
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