After purchasing land on 10 Sideroad in 2003, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is holding it’s first annual convention in Bradford this weekend
1 / 3 Rizwan Mian, Chief Director of the Jalsa Salana, Lal Khan Malik, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, and Imam Abdul Rasheed Anwar answer questions during the annual conventions opening press conference.Rob Paul/BradfordToday
For the first time the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s annual convention is being held in Bradford West Gwillimbury.
The 44th Jalsa Salana Canada saw thousands from across Canada and around the world headed to Bradford for the three-day event (July 15-17).
A village was created at Hadiqa Ahmad on 10 Sideroad in Bradford—the community purchased the land in 2003— to host the convention after previously being held at the community’s headquarters in Vaughan.
“Although we bought this property primarily for using it as the venue for our annual conference, the biggest challenge has been zoning laws,” said Lal khan Malik, national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. “In Canada we cannot use a property for which it’s not zoned, so we approached the Town of Bradford and we’re happy that they have agreed to our request. The fact that we’re holding it this year on our property is a matter of great delight.”
With the land and facilities not being prepared to hold the event in its full capacity outdoors in Bradford this year, it was scaled down for a trial run on the lands.
“The work that you see here is from the volunteers of our communities spread across Canada,” said Lal khan Malik. “They’re not just from Bradford or Vaughan, they’re from Brampton, Mississauga, Calgary, Edmonton—all across Canada. This is a smaller event but still took over a thousand volunteers. We hope to have it full-scale (in Bradford in the future) and we’ll be having more than 10,000 volunteers working to arrange this event.”
The leaders of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community were thankful for the efforts of Bradford’s town council for helping them work towards hosting the events on the grounds, and they hope to develop strong relationships with the people of Bradford going forward.
“I wanted to extend my gratitude towards the council of Bradford,” added Rizwan Mian, chief director of the Jalsa Salana. “They have very graciously given us this permit to hold this convention. It’s amazing, we’ve met the neighbours as well and they’re so happy. They’ve welcomed us and we’ve visited each and every neighbour because I don’t want anybody to have any trouble because of us. Being a Muslim, I cannot sleep if my neighbour is in pain. We are coming to Bradford, and the reason we’ve come to Bradford is to win the hears of the people of Bradford.”
Despite this year’s convention being scaled down, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s leaders see Bradford as the perfect place to host the yearly event and are excited to see it reach full capacity in the coming years.
“We bought this property for the purpose of making it the venue of our annual conference, and for some additional objectives also,” said Lal khan Malik. “We plan to be here, and we plan to hold our future annual conferences here. We have adopted the Town of Bradford, and we’re going to be working together with the town to make it the largest religious conference in Canada.”