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WEST AFRICAN TOUR PRESS CUTTINGS

26 WEST AFRICAN TOUR PRESS CUTTINGS (The Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam – Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad undertook a seven week tour of Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria from 19th January – 17th February, 1988. We produce a few press cuttings covering the earlier part of his tour). THE GAMBIA “Last month, the Gambia became other religious centres, and convert host to the Supreme Head of the as many people as possible, but it is a Ahmadiyya Movement, the Kha- completely different thing to try and lifatul Masih IV, whilst he was on a help meet some of their social needs. West African tour. It is quite unfortunate that the The Ahmadiyya Movement is one traditional Islamic sects that have of the smallest established religious been in this country for centuries did denominations in The Gambia, but it not seem to have ~ven much is no doubt the most active in the attention· to the grassroot problems provision of social services to the of the people, such as education, public. It is very active in both the . medical services and other social educational and medical fields, the needs of the society. The Tijaniya two most important areas that sect, for example, the most dominant Gambians are most in need of. Apart and oldest in the country, are quite from the Roman Catholic Mission, well known for their frequent spons- the Ahmadiyya Movement is the orship of expensive religious confere- only other religious body quite nces and other festivities, that usually actively involved in the field of have very little relevance funded by education throughout the country, outside sources and the religious especially in high school education hierarchy usually benefit financially where there is a great vacuum. I am from them. sure most Gambians were very The Mouride sect, on the other pleased when the Khalifatul Massih hand do not even build mosqu~s and disclosed that there was a plan to other religious centres for their own establish a third Ahmadiyya high community, let alone do anything school in this country, somewhere in else for the society.’ They instead the Provinces. collect money and other gifts to send Of what use is any religious to their spiritual leader in Touba in denomination that seeks to satiate Senegal. only the spiritual needs of the people Although many Gambians may and does not care about their social not be adherents of the Ahmadiyya needs? It is quite one thing to build Movement or of the Roman Catholic beautiful mosques and churches and Mission, but I am sure everyone REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 27 would agree with me that these two religious denominations are doing much more for the Gambian society than any other religious denominati- on, and I feel that whatever ulterior motives they may have for doing what they do, they certainly deserve our appreciations and thanks.” (The Nation, The Gambia, Saturday, 13th February 1988) SIERRA LEONE The Supreme Head of the World- wide Ahmadiyya Movement Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Ameer ul Momeneen Khalifatul Masih IV has ended his one week visit to this country as part of his tour of several African countries. His tight schedule took him to various parts of the provinces where he preached, counselled and inspec- ted various projects undertaken by the Ahmadiyya Mission in Sierra Leone. Khalifatul Masih paid a courtesy call on President Momoh at State House. Welcoming the holy visitor the Head of State told the distinguished visitor that the Ahmad- iyya Mission has proved very useful to the country particularly in the fields of education, health and religion. President Momoh said the Mission has come to identify it of this courtesy, a situation which· endeared it to the minds of the people. He described the Ahmadiyya missionaries in Sierra Leone as exemplary and an example of religi- ous leadership. Khalifatul Masih told the President that he was very impressed by the red carpet welcome accorded to him since his arrival. He expressed concern about the deplora- ble state of the poor and needy in third world countries adding that they were not only forgotten by the world but were also not cared for by their own people. He said to the President that there is a great need for health and better educational facilities for the poor. Khalifatul Masih also paid visits to Makeni, Mile 91 ,Bo, Kenema and Rokopur where he was graciously received.” (Dail Mail, January 20,1988) “The Supreme Head of the Ahmadi- yya Movement, Khalifatul Masih IV, who was here on a week long visit, left Freetown Sunday 31 st January. While in Freetown, Khalifautl Masih summoned a press meeting at the Miatta conference centre, Brook- fields, wherein he expressed profo- und satisfaction with what he viewed as the ideal cooperation extended by this country to his mission’s Instituti- ons. He also registered deep gratitude to the Government and people of Sierra Leone for what he described as their worth while contribution in making his visit a successful one. The visiting religious leader also touched on the painful issue of the struggle in South Africa, which situation, he said, is worsening to a degree whereby the very mentors of South Africa have become worried. On the stance of his Movement in relation to apartheid-plagued South Africa he intimated that it (tP 28 WEST AFRICAN TOUR school in the country. This, he said, had helped to impart Islamic educat- ion in the area. He also mentioned the clinic established by the Jamaat in Rokopur noting that all the doctors of the clinic have performed their duties very well. In reply the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement informed his audience that the purpose of his visit was to appraise himself of the work of the Movement in Sierra Leone. He later performed the opening of the renovated residence of the first Ahmadiyya missionary in Rokopur, Alhaji Nazir Ahmad Ali, and also prayed at the graveside of the first convert in 1937 to the Ahmadiyya Movement in the township of the late Alhaji Alpha Yahya Kamara. The Supreme Leader later took part in a question and answer session and also signed the visitor’s book at the Rice Research Station at Roko- pur where he addressed his audience. Earlier on arrival the Khalifatul Masih was accorded a rousing welcome from all sections of the township including representatives from other religious denominations. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV is presently in Liberia on the third leg of his West African Tour.” (New Shaft, Wednesday, February 10, 1988) LIBERIA “The Vice President of the Republic of Liberia Or. Harry F. Moniba has commended the Worldwide Ahmadi- yya Movement in Islam for its dedicated service to humanity. Veep Moniba noted that the Ahmadiyya Movement has been contributing to the development of education and other projects in countries where the movement has its members. He hoped that the Ahmadiyya Movement in Liberia will look into the possibility of not only expanding and developing its work, but also introducing projects (educational, agricultural, economic and social) which would contribute to the development of Liberia. Dr. Moniba was speaking recently during a banquet hosted by the Ahmadiyya Local Mission in Liberia at Hotel Africa in honour of the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV, who arrived here last Sunday on a three day visit to Liberia. Deputizing for the President of the Republic of Liberia Dr. Samuel K. Doe, Veep Moniba described the services of the Ahmadiyya Movem- ent in the world to be most welcome in the search for peace and stability through the worship of God. He then asked the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement to continue to pray for peace and unity in Liberia. The Vice President then cautioned peace loving Liberians to stop being pretentious in their religious practi- ces and encourage other people to work for peace and worship God with truth. He also urged members of the Movement to strive for the re-awaken- ing of the minds of people for a better understanding of the Movement. REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 29 Dr. Moniba also advised the Ahmadiyya Community in Liberia to spread their faith conscientiously, pointing out that the constitution of Liberia guarantees freedom of assoc- iation for all its citizens. In his remarks, the Ahmadiyya Supreme Head commended Dr. Mo- niba for his address during the occasion, hoping that other leading politicians in the country would consider such objective thoughts given by the Vice President with high moral appreciation. The Supreme Head stressed the usefulness of morality in the Islamic faith which he said must be adhered to in the true worship of God. He prayed fervently for all Liberi- ans to be dedicated in their worship of Almighty God, hoping that the Ahmadiyya faith wourd touch the hearts of citizens in order to know the true nature of Islam. He told them to exercise patience and tolerance and strive for other avenues in which Ahmadis could be useful to the society, and reiterated his commitment to fulfil pledges made by the Movement in the past for the progress and expansion of the mission in Liberia. The Ahmadiyya leader said the success lies in the choice of noble goals, and to live and die in achieving it, but failure should not be interpre- ted to mean that one is not conscious of his noble goals. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad obser- ved that immorality and injustices are the prime causes of suffering in the world today, and called upon all peace loving people to re-discover their identities and learn to produce for themselves as basis of independe- nce. He said the greatest achievement of the Ahmadiyya Mission is the recognition of the dignity of man, since man is born free and free to adopt his destiny in order to re-disco- ver his consciousness. We create consciousness in them that they are born free and shall remain so by guarding and protect- The spiritual Leader of the world- ing their freedom, he said. Cabinet ministers, members of the Dipmlomatic Corps, the clergy and members of the Ahmadiyya Commu- nity in Liberia graced the occasion. ” (The Standard, February 5, 1988) wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Movement Hazrat Ahmad then expressed has reflected on several issues of thanks and appreciation to the national and international concern to’ . Liberian government for the warm the Liberian press. and friendly reception accorded him The Supreme Head of the Movem- and his delegates during his visit to ‘ent, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad the country, adding that his purpose during his recent visit to Liberia for coming to Liberia was to deliver admonished the members of the the message of Islam to the people of Movement in Liberia to re-awaken Liberia and to find new avenues of their consciousness and dedicate service to humanity. themselves to the cause of He stressed that his religious humanity. Movement is not an exploitative one, 30 WEST AFRICAN TOUR and lashed at the exploitative tenden- cies in some nations of the world today. Africa within the limits of our capacity in the areas of education, health, agriculture and religious instructions. ” We are not here to. rob anything out of Africa, instead we give to (The Mirror, February 10, 1988) QURAN ON DEVOTION TO PARENTS We have enjoined on man benevolence towards his parents. (29:9) Say, 0 Prophet: Come, let me rehearse to you that which your Lord has enjoined; that you associate not anything as partners with Him; that you behave benevolently toward’s your parents; … (6: 152) Worship Allah and associate naught with Him, and be benevolent towards parents … (4:37) Thy Lord has commanded that ye worship none but Him, and has enjoined benevolence towards parents. Should either or both of them attain old age in thy lifetime, never say: U gh; to them, nor chide them, but always speak gently to them; be humbly tender with them and pray: Lord, have mercy on them even as they nurtured me when I was little .. (17:24-25) We have enjoined upon man concerning his parents: Be grateful to me and to thy parents; unto Me is the final return. His mother bears him in travail after travail, and his weaning takes two years. (31: 15) We have enjoined upon man to act benevolently towards his parents. His mother bears him in pain and brings him forth in pain; and the bearing of him and his wearing extends over thirty months. When he attains his full maturity at forty years, he supplicates: Lord, grant me the favour that I may be grateful to Thee for Thy bounty that Thou hast bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may act righteously so as to please Thee, and make my progeny righteous also. I do turn to Thee and truly I am of Thy obedient servants. (46:15)

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