Almost half of Germans feel that Islam is not compatible with their society. This is according to a month-long survey where 47% of Germans respondents affirmed this. Far right groups have also strengthened in Germany with the BfV, the German intelligence service, estimating that there are now 24,100 right-wing extremists in the country. Just over half of these are classified as ‘violence-orientated’.
Against this backdrop, on Tuesday evening, the Khalifa (Caliph) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), arrived in Frankfurt am Main. His Holiness is the spiritual leader of tens of millions of Ahmadi Muslims. The Caliph will be addressing a 3-day convention – one of the largest Muslim gatherings in Europe – in Karlsruhe starting from Friday where nearly 40,000 are expected from around the world. On the second day of the convention the Caliph traditionally addresses a large audience of nearly 1000 non-Muslim German guests.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is based in over 200 countries and believe their Founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), was the Promised Messiah whose advent was prophesied by all major religions. The community’s mission is to revive the true teachings of Islam and restore its original values of respect, tolerance and compassion.
The Caliph arrived at Baitus Subuh, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s headquarters in Germany. A sizeable crowd of Ahmadi Muslims enthusiastically received the Caliph having waited hours patiently in anticipation of meeting their spiritual guide. The majority of the crowd are immigrants from Pakistan. Also seen were some Ahmadi converts from Germany, Sierra Leone, Congo and former Russian states.
In Pakistan state-sanctioned persecution against Ahmadi Muslims means that according to the constitution, Ahmadis are liable to imprisonment or even death for performing Islamic practices. Thousands of Ahmadi Muslims have had to flee Pakistan out of fear for their lives. Some among the crowd were seeing their beloved Caliph for the very first time, and found it difficult to express their emotions.
After the Caliph led the evening prayers (known as Maghrib and Ishaa) in congregation in the mosque at around 11pm, The Review of Religions spoke to Stefan Haerter. Stefan is originally from Germany and converted to Islam Ahmadiyyat many years ago. We asked Stefan about the arrival of His Holiness as well as the upcoming annual convention. Stefan told us:
‘I am very happy because whenever the Khalifa of Islam comes to Germany I always try and tell people what it means. For me it is like when Jesus comes, because he is the one who is representing the true spirit of religion and Islam. When you are in the company of such a person your worries go away. The annual convention is a very good opportunity because 40,000 Muslims come together. So people who don’t know about Islam but only know what they have read in the media, are very surprised to find out we are holding such a big gathering and come to see a totally different Islam.’
The Review of Religions will be bringing regular updates across our platforms of the tour of the Caliph to Germany and the 3-day annual convention, known as Jalsa Salana.