Buddhism Judaism

Interfaith Dialogue

AHMADIYYA CENTENNIAL CONGRATULATIONS (We produce some messages of congratulations from prominent personh’ties on the occasion of the Annual Conference of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in August, 1989 at Islamabad, Tilford, U.K.) Message from the Home Secretary of Great Britain ‘I congratulate the Ahmadiyya Movement on reaching its Centenary Year and wish the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, United Kingdom, every success in the future.’ Douglas Hurd, Home Secretary Message from the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain ‘I should like to congratulate the International Ahmadiyya Muslim Association on its Centenary and to wish it well in the years ahead.’ John Major, Foreign Secretary, Her Majesty’s Government Message from the Prime Minister of Canada Mr. Sergio Marchi, who read out the message, said: Your Holiness, distinguished guests, brothers and sisters, For me and for my colleagues it is an honour and indeed a privilege to be members of the Canadian delegation, led by your Canadian leader, Naseem Mahdi, to join you and share with you these three very special days. It also gives me great pleasure to extend to His Holiness’and to the Gathering greetings of our Prime Minister of Canada; and if reads as follows: ‘It is with sincere pleasure that I extend to His Holiness and to the members of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam the good wishes of the Government of Canada on the occasion of the international gathering of the Ahmadiyya Movement which is to be held in Londonfrdm August 11 to August 13, 1989. The Centennial of the founding of the Ahmadiyya REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 5 Movement is being celebrated this year, throughout the world, and I am pleased that His Holiness has been able to visit the Ahmadiyya Community in Canada to share in their celebrations’ to date. I know the representatives of the Canadian Community will also be present at the international gathering which brings together members of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Community. I truly hope that the international gathering will be a successful and enjoyable celebration of the Ahmadiyya Movement’s one hundreth year.’ The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister of Canada ‘Mr. Sergio Marchi continued: Jt also gives me great pleasure to invite my two colleages from Canada who will present to His Holiness our Canadian and very proud symbol, the Maple Leaf, in our national flag. Mr. Tom Cox, Member of British Parliament ‘Supreme Head, dear brothers and sisters, I bring to you the warm and lasting friendship of your many friends who are members of the British Parliament. We are all proud as we witness the growing strength of your Movement throughout the world and of the great respect that is always shown to the Supreme Head. It shows to all of us wherever we live, whatever may be the religious beliefs we hold, the great love and the great affection in which he is held by people throughout the world, as indeed i&the teaching of Islam. For people like myself, as a1 Member of Parliament, we are aware that sadly there are your brothers and sisters in parts of the world who are persecuted, who do not have their freedom to follow their beliefs as you are able to follow them here. And I have to say that we do know and we are deeply concerned at the abuse that does exist in countries as to the lack of those rights being given to men and women, and we as members of the British Parliament now look, and must certainly now look to Pakistan to ‘see that in that country where the Ahmadiyya Community has sadly suffered very deep persecution, we seek an immediate end to that kind of tyranny and the rights of all men and women who live in that country to be able not only to follow their religious beliefs but also for your Community to be able to have the freedom to publish and to read any of your many publications that they may wish to buy and read. 6 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS The view and message of British members of Parliament is: No county can call itself a democracy, no country can say we believe in freedom, if they oppress people who live in those countries. And, therefore, I assure you that your many friends in the British Parliament will always campaign with you, with the Supreme Head and your followers throughout the world for their basic right as human beings to follow their religious beliefs. Care I say that we are aware that this has been a very, very difficult year for you? A book has been published that has caused the most enormous offence to people throughout the world. But I say to all of you here, to all of you who live in the countries afar but have come to join this wonderful weekend here at Islamabad: Never ever forget whatever may be said, however hurtful it may be, always remember what your great strengths are. Always remember the great teachings of Islam, the depth and wisdom of those teachings, because that, my dear friends, is the strength of your Movement, your Movement here, your Movement throughout the world. And no one, whatever they may say, whatever they may, write, can ever lose that strength that you build on day by day. Can I in closing say: It is always a great pleasure to come here to Islamabad, to be with you, to be with people I am privileged to call very great friends of mine, always a pleasure. But this year especially in your Centenary, it is both a pleasure and a great honour, and I thank you all for that privilege.’ Mr. Gary Waller, Member of British Parliament ‘Supreme Head and my very good friends, it is a great pleasure for me to be here and share with you this great occasion, this great historic occasion of your Centenary Convention. Islam has much to teach the world, for in a society which emphasises self, Islam emphasises the group and the community. And three of the injunctions of Islam, of prayers, of fasting and Hajj, are directly related to community activity and participation. And because of this emphasis on the community the Muslim family is still cohesive and not broken down, and children are secure. So we have much to learn, I say again, from Islam. In the modern era, Islam has been sadly misrepresented and misused, sometimes by outsiders and sometimes by leaders of Muslim States who REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 7 have misquoted’and misapplied the Holy Quran in support of their rule. The writer Johnson Swift said: ‘We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. The background, I have to say, my friends, is a sombre one, because more people have been killed in war in this century than in wars in the rest of human history. And thus today, even more than in the past, the world needs Islam’s confidence in the destiny of the human race as a corrective and stabilising force. We also need to remember the Islamic values of compassion and of kindness. Let us never forget that the Prophet, peace be upon him, built bridges for Islam and had good relations with other communities and peoples in countries such as Abyssinia and Egypt. Supreme Leader, my friends, your Movement is in the forefront of building bridges, and sadly those who build bridges are often persecuted. But I say to you that one can destroy individuals, one can destroy people, but one can never destroy belief and faith. I, too, hope and I believe that your Movement will go from Strength to strength. I am very happy today to greet you and to wish you all well.’ Mr. Mittar, representative of the High Commissioner for India ‘Friends, on the occasion of the Annual Gathering of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at I congratulate you on behalf of the Indian High Commissioner and hope that the work that the Ahmadiyya Jama!t is doing may be successfully accomplished and their message may prosper in all the countries wherever they have gone to. The relationship between India and Ahmadiyyat is so old that I need not dwell on it, as your President, Mr. Aftab Ahmad Khan, has mentioned that Qadian, from where Ahmadiyyat started, is situated in-the District of Gurdaspur, in India. I am proud to say that those people who are living in Qadian or any members of your Jama’at elsewhere in India are absolutely under no restriction and they have no difficulties. We all live in India in a spirit of love and good neighbourliness. Another special thing about this Annual Gathering is this that one hundred years have been completed since the start of Ahmadiyyat, therefore, I offer you congratulations. I know that you are eagerly waiting to hear the Khalifatul Masih, and still there are many speakers sitting around who have to take their turn. You must be wishing that these speakers REVIEW OF RELIGIONS would cut short their speeches so that you, who have come here in thousands from thousands of miles, may be able to listen to his address. I do not wish to take more of your time and once again I offer my congratulations to you.’ Honourable Sam K. Njuba, Minister for Constitutional Affairs, Uganda ‘Fellow people of God, I come from Uganda, as you have heard, and bring you greetings of the people of Uganda on your Centenary celebrations. I congratulate you whole heartedly and wish you many happy returns of the day. May I take this occasion to thank your great leader for having extended an invitation to us through your Community leader in Uganda, having enabled us to travel as a delegation to this country and see your potential. We are highly impressed and as a Christian, I think, humiliated that Muslims in Uganda are renowned for conflict, and violations, but here we are with Muslims, far away from their homes in the United Kingdom, peacefully gathering and demonstrating patience, selflessness and self- control. Once again, it is my hope that this spirit will continue. On my part, I will definitely convey to the people in Uganda your wishes. I am glad to thank you and the Community and your leader in particular for all that you have done for our country. A few years ago, last year I think, for the generosity you expressed to us when you made donations for relief in the form of blankets and when you promised to improve on the school that you run there and the hospital which has been established by your Community in Uganda. We thank you very much for all this and we hope that your generosity will continue to grow. On the point that your great leader mentioned about persecution, I have one comment to make: people should learn that matters of politics should be kept away from matters of religion. We at home are a secular State, and that does not mean we have no beliefs, but we tolerate each other and work together irrespective of our various religions. We hope this will extend to your homeland one day. Nevertheless, let me end by quoting from our Holy Book, the Bible -=> Matthew 5:11,12: Blessed are those who are persecuted for their beliefs REVIEW OF RELIGIONS for their reward is in heaven. God bless you.’ Professor Dr. Moses B. Dumbuya, Minister for Education, Cultural Affairs and Sports, Sierra Leone ‘Supreme Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Jama’at, HazratMirzaTahir Ahmad, Honourable Ministers and Honourable Members of Parliament from different countries, distinguished delegates, please allow me to convery to you the highest commendations and fraternal congratulations and greetings from His Excellency, the President, Major-General Dr. Joseph Saedo Momoh, the government and the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone for this wonderful Movement which is today celebrating its hundredth anniversary •. Your Holiness, we have a number of organisations in the country which are also concerned with the development of man. The Ahmadiyya Mission in Sierra Leone is playing a very significant role in our educational development. We have fourteen missions or Mission Houses in the country, 438 mosques, all run by this great Movement. There are two Arabic schools run by the Ahmadiyya Mission, one missionary training centre, 104 primary schools, 16 secondary schools, 169 communities, one newspaper ‘The African Crescent’, 12 Pakistani missionaries in the country under the umbrella of the Ahmadiyya Movement Your Holiness, I have been requested by my people to inform you that as a country one of our greatest assets has been religious tolerance in West Africa. The people of Sierra Leone practise different religions, but we all consider ourselves as one people in Islam and in Allah. My government’s commitment to the philosophy of constructive nationalism is based on merit, suitability and dedication. We believe that man must be given an opportunity to serve and worship wherever he is. And my country is doing very well in this regard. As my colleague will be talking to you – my colleague is a Christian, I am a Muslim, but we all went to the same school in Sierra Leone. This is a common principle that we look at the man and not what he believes in. Your Holiness, my dear brothers, with these few words I once again convey to you highest commendation and congratulations and God-sp- eed for this wonderful occasion. Thank you.’ 10 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Professor Victor Mambu, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, former Minister of Works and Labour, Sierra Leone ‘Your Holiness, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, fellow-participants. After that brilliant analysis by my colleague, Honourable Professor Dumbuya, there is not much I can say except to say that there is a common saying that where there is no vision, the people perish. But I can see from the analysis of Huzur himself yesterday, or day before yesterday, that there is a great future for the Ahmadiyya Movement in the international world. So you can see that with this great future there is no doubt that the Movement will move from strength to strength, and in the very near future you will go back to the true Islamabad. So, therefore, long live the Leader, Huzur, long live the Movement, long live the Community, Insha-Allah’. Mr. Maurice Wilson, Maori tribe Elder, New Zealand ‘Your. Holiness, Huzur, the Supreme Leader of this congregation, Sir, first of all I would like your permission for me to speak in my language to show my respect for you as a holy leader.’ (Mr. Wilson then spoke in his native language and gave an English translation of what he had said as follows:) ‘The last lament is for those loved ones whom we have lost, for those loved ones who have been killed under suppression, of things that have made you very sad. This is the lament that comes from the people of New Zealand, the Maori people, and is sung on occasions like this, and I really sing this to you because of the sadness that is in my heart. I stand here as a very humble person, the reason is because of His Holiness here. I first met His Holiness on his whirlwind visit to New Zealand. I didn’t really know the magnitude of His Holiness until the time we met him at the National Airport and the welcome that we had for him. But the most important thing that stays in my memory and in my heart was the time that we spent with him at the White Hair Inn Lodge, the luncheon that was given in his honour and we were honoured to be asked to be with him on that afternoon. Now those things still live in the memories of my heart, the things that he had said, the things that he had done and the movement of the person within that building. The people who were with me at the airport, helping to welcome His Holiness, had also expressed their feelings of how it was when His Holiness arrived, that the feeling in them had changed. They didn’t really know who they were welcoming, REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 11 the person they were welcoming, but as soon as he walked through the door., something happened. Something happened to all of us. Although there were only a few of us, everything was given from the heart. And we felt so much for His Holiness that everyone did everything that they could. But the important part of this welcome was the actions of His Holiness. Words weren’t spoken, it was just the actions that he did. What he did was, he took a garland of flowers from around his neck and placed it around one of our small children. Now this one. thing will never be forgotten by our people. I come back now to our visit. I must really say this, the hospitality has just been something that can’t be spoken about. The hospitality can only be spoken to me, to my people in our language, because the English language, I don’t think, has enough words to explain-the hospitality that has been given to us and shared with us during my wife’s and my visit to England. So once again I would like to turn and thank His Holiness for the opportunity of being here with this congregation to celebrate with you the Centenary, and I can say this that I am very proud to be here, my children are going to be very proud, my grandchildren will be very proud because in years to come they will see this Centenary”in history; they will know that one of their grandparents was here as a speaker. Assalam-o-Alaikum.’ Honourable Parsu Raman, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Vice-Chairman of the ruling political party (M.S.M) in Mauritius, Chairman of the Minorities National Commission for UNESCO Your Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Su’preme Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, Honourable Ministers, Honourable members of Parliament, Brothers and Sisters, Assalam-o-Alaikum! It is a great privilege for me to associate myself with you on this solemn occasion when you are celebrating the Centenary of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Movement. May I express to you, Your Holiness, my sincere thanks for the kind invitation extended to me. Your Holiness, the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Nero Jagnath who has a lot of admiration for your commitment to the cause of peace and service to humanity, has asked me to convey to you and to all your members his personal greetings, the good wishes of the government and people of Mauritius on this great occasion. May I also convey my best wishes to the delegates of Mauritius who have travelled all the way to participate in this celebration. 12 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS I am especially happy to learn that the Mauritian branch, created in 1915, is the second Mission next to the London branch established outside the Indian sub-continent. The Ahmadiyya Movement which started in Qadian, India, in 1889, has now expanded in all parts of the world and the message of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has reached more than ten million adherents in some 120 countries. Today, the Ahmadiyya Movement is recognised as a worldwide progressive movement within the broad spectrum of Islam. The members of the Community render obedience to the laws of the State where they are domiciled, are peace-loving at heart and in action and have contributed tremendously to thb betterment of mankind at large. The best homage one can pay to the Ahmadiyya Movement is to commend the choice of its motto Love for all, hatred for none. This motto is a display of the true love you have for mankind transcending through all barriers set up on the basis of caste, creed, colour and race, because none can claim to love the artist without his work. Man being the masterpiece of God, how can anybody claim to love God without loving His creation. It has been rightly said, one who loves man, loves God, and one who loves God, loves His creation. This is your eternal message which would serve as. a guiding principle for the whole of mankind. It is through this concept of love and through their spiritual commitment to the elevation of the soul that above the onesided material pursuits of life inspires the Ahmadis of Mauritius to integrate themselves in the multi-racial multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-lingual society of Mauritius. Your Eminence, you recently graced Mauritius by your visit. To people outside Mauritius, at first sight the Mauritian landscape appears complex to the observer who may be baffled by so many different cultures, languages and religions, but a close experience of people and things will reveal deep dimensions of sharing and interaction. Thus from the minarets of our mosques, the belfries of our.churches, the roofs of our pagodas and the mantra chanting of our Hindu priests the same message flows invariably. We may look different, but we are children of the same God. In our world where we are daily witnessing conflicts and violence in countries either between people of the same religion or between people of different religions, the Mauritian experience is an outstanding example for the rest of the world. The Secretary-General of O.A.U; following a recent visit to Mauritius, said, I quote, Mauritius has won the Oscar of peaceful co-existence. The peace and REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 13 harmony that characterises our daily life is a result of personal will and historical movement and under the inspired leadership of Sir Nero Jagnath, Prime Minister of Mauritius, we have been able to raise ourselves to a level of democracy that gives every individual his share of what he deserves. Equality in Mauritius is based on the belief that every religion has a truth to convey to its believers but the individual is above all a sacred gift of ~God. Thus the language, the art, form and the means of communication within a culture, the spiritual books and the thoughts and convictions that have been handed over to us by tradition, consirute the springboards of cultural actions. Each culture has an intensity of its own, an aura of its own, and it behoves us, as adherents to our several cultures to preserve them in our different ways. It is true that God is One, but owing to the differences of geography and owing to the moral and spiritual endowments.of different peoples of the world, diversity of cultures is a fact. But diversity should not bring about conflict. It should, on the contrary, provoke in us the desire to know more about the other. The cultural philosophy that guides us in Mauritius is the principle of unity in diversity, and we think of different communities as different colours in a rainbow. We proudly call ourselves the Rainbow Nation. The Ahmadiyya Community in_Mauritius, I am proud to say, is one of the beautiful colours of the rainbow. It is one of the beautiful flowers which make the garden of Mauritius. Any unjust discrimination against one community affects not only that community but also the rest. That is why national unity must be preserved at all costs by giving to each religion the freedom to blossom on its own. As government, we are not only concerned with economic growth, but also with the moral, spiritual, intellectual, .in one word, cultural development of the Mauritian people. We are one of the rare countries in the world to give a religious subsidy to various faiths, including the Ahmadiyya Movement, established in Mauritius. On the occasion of the 20th Independence Day celebrations in March last year, we managed to assemble also heads of religion side by side on a common platform in prayer for the blessing of Mauritius. Our conviction is that no intellectual growth has meaning without spiritual elevation. No economic progress will last without the recognition that God is a Creator of happiness. Your Holiness, in your address at the inaugural ceremony last Friday, you spoke abundantly of the sufferings of members of the Ahmadiyya Community. May I, therefore, assure you of our full support in your struggle against violation of human rights. Your Holiness, Brothers and Sisters of Ahmadiyya Community, in your 14 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS moments of hardships may I in all humility refer you to the following verse from the Holy Quran: The remembrance of God is a source of the consolation of the heart I pray that Allah may always be with you. Now I close this brief speech; this humble person requests Huzur to accept from the government of Mauritius a small gift.’ Honourable G. V. Kromah, Cabinet Minister, Liberia, Director-General of National Broadcasting System, former Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Your Holiness, Assalam-o-Alaikum wa Rahmat-ullah-e wa Barakatohu. I have the distinct honour this time to .extend to you personal greetings from Dr. Samuel Khanyon Doe, President of the Republic of Liberia, the Vice-President of the Second Republic of Liberia. President Doe has accepted the invitation which you extended to him to grace this occasion, and arrangements were being made for his visit. Regrettably, a few weeks before this Convention, national developments arose which made it impossible for’him to come personally. He, therefore, asked me to come here along with my colleagues Mr. Wellington Toh and Mr. Erum Pee, to represent him personally as well as the government of the Republic of Liberia. He has, therefore, asked me to extend to you heartiest felicitations and through you to the Jama’at of the Ahmadiyya Movement worldwide his heartfelt admiration as you celebrate this centenary. The delegation here today, a composition of Christians and a Muslim is a crystal reflection of the ideology of Liberia. For more than one hundred years, Liberia has existed with multiple religions, Christianity and Islam being the largest groups, and they have co-existed in peace and harmony. They have together developed the Liberian nation, and this is a cardinal point in the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia that there shall be no religious supremacy, all religions shall be equal. Therefore, there shall be no special preference given to any religion in Liberia over another religion, and religion shall not serve as the basis for promotion or consideration in government and other affairs. The composition, as indicated, of our delegation here today is an example of that. In 1980, the great revolution occurred. It was a revolution not only to change the status quo of the government, but it was a revolution to re-enforce the equality of man, the ideology of equality and freedom, irrespective of religious beliefs. And these are the guidelines under which REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 15 the people of the Republic of Liberia are inarching ahead today. The decision of President Samuel Khanyon Doe to send us here to represent him and the government, even though he is a Christian, indicates his respect for His Holiness and the Ahmadiyya Movement which is also a representation of the large Islamic community in Liberia. It is, therefore, a happy occasion that we have been placed in the position to observe your collective expression and commitment to your belief as Ahmadis. We have been impressed, for the past several days I have been here, by the emotional display by you individually despite your sects; as comments and messages were poured out we observed that handkerchiefs are taken out of pockets. This to us is an indication that you are committed and you do have faith. Your Holiness, finally allow me to indicate to you that President Dow believes in the supremacy of the Supreme Being. Religion is a matter of faith. It is not subject to debate. It could be explained for the purpose of those who may be interested, but it is not a subject of debate. It cannot be imposed, because faith is belief, because of the diversity of religions and as sources of Holy Scriptures one can have nothing else as a common denominator besides God. That is why the President of Liberia and the people of Liberia believe that religion is a matter of faith. May I say here before I take my seat that the Ahmadiyya Mission in Liberia has been very active. They have been very law-abiding, they have been very productive. They have taken on a character of a partner-in-pro- gress in Liberia, and this we believe is a true reflection of a true religious commitment. Once again permit- me on behalf of my country and the President to extend to you felicitations’ on this occasion. Honourable Emanuel G. Tanoh, Minister for Chieftancy Affairs, Acting Attorney, Acting Secretary of Justice, Ghana ‘Your Holiness, the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Your Excellencies, Honourable Members of Parliament, distinguished guests, members of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Jama’at! In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful, I bring you greetings and congratulations from the government and the people of Ghana on the occasion of the celebration of the Centenary of the foundation of your Movement and of the 24th Annual Convention of my dear Muslim Jama’at.in the United Kingdom. Your Holiness, a hundred years in the lifetime of any institution is by itself 16 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS no mean achievement. And in your case, to have survived under such harsh and difficult conditions and to have spread out to all the four corners of the earth – to at least 120 countries — embracing about ten million adherents is an achievement of the highest order. Not man alone but God also has done it. The survival and extension of your Movement under such unfavourable circumstances is eloquent testimony- of the strength of the vision of your great Founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and of his immense capacity to inspire unflinching faith in his guidance. It is also a tribute to the higher qualities of leadership of his Successors. We have heard with great pain and sorrow about what is being done to the members of your Movement, ironically in the very country where this great Movement was born and nurtured. We shall add our voice to all those who want these indignities and injustices to come to an end, and pray that one day those who are being oppressed may also enjoy the blessings of religious freedom which so many countries in the world now take for granted. Your Holiness, distinguished “guests., gentlemen, the fact that I am here today, taking part in these celebrations and the Annual Convention is a clear indication of the appreciation of the government and people of Ghana of all that the Ahmadiyya Movement has been doing in our country. It was established about 68 years ago. In our country though your Mission is not one of the biggest, it is certainly one of the most progressive with about 200 or more primary schools, five secondary schools, one training college and five hospitals to its credit. Our boys are also given scholarships to study in higher institutions in Pakistan, and lately your Mission has embarked on an impressive agricultural programme. But above all, your greatest contribution to our country has been the type of people your Mission has produced for us. These people are noted for their integrity, their humility, their high sense of dedication and their self-sacrificing spirit which, if I may add has been abundantly manifested in this Convention. There are now many members of your Movement who are occupying very high, positions in government, in the civil service, in educational institutions and also in various walks of life. And I must say that the head of your Mission, Amir Abdul Wahab Adam, is one of the most respected and esteemed people in our country. Before I conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Your Holiness and members of the Movement for the invitation to attend these wonderful arid epoch-making celebrations. We shall always carry happy REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 17 memories of it. We are also grateful for the wonderful companionship we have shared with many people since we came and for the hospitality which has been accorded us. We shall never forget it and will always report these matters to our people when we get back home. We wish Your Holiness long life and the Movement, of which you are the Head, increasing prosperity and strength. We wish you peace and happiness for all those who are being oppressed; Assalam-o-Alaikum!’ Honourable Omar Ahmodu Jallow, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, The Gambia ‘Your Holiness, Supreme Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Movement, Huzur, Honourable Ministers, Parliamentarians, diplomats, distinguis- hed invitees from the four comers of the world, committed and loyal followers of this great Movementl For me, I would like to say, Your Holiness, that for the last three days I’am, of course, very emotionally charged and very sentimentally moved. Therefore, I will make my statement very short. We have come to learn we have come to see and some of us have come to observe – it is a hundred years since this great Movement was formed. Hundred years in the life of a Movement or any religious organisation, I would say, is a very short time. For some religious organisations we are not able to achieve what this Movement has achieved in one hundred years, although some of those movements which are religious organisati- ons have existed, some for over 1400 years, some for 1900 years,’some for over 2000 years. I said so, Your Holiness, because the teachings of your Movement have reached the four corners of the world, not only in different languages, but with true different people, committed missionar- ies who are dedicated, committed and determined to pursue the teachings of the leader of this great Movement. For us in The Gambia, we have gained a lot and the Movement has intervened in many important areas of development. For me there are three parts in the development of man: the spiritual being, the mental being and the physical being. The Ahmadiyya Movement in The Gambia has built schools to develop the mental being of the Gambians. They have built mosques, built libraries, distributed pamphlets and the translation of the Holy Quran in most of our dialects in The Gambia to build and develop the spiritual being. For the physical being they have built hospitals and clinics throughout the country to treat the sick, because when you are sick, you cannot perform, you cannot work, your intelligence is of no use to you, 18 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS and you cannot pray correctly. Therefore, the Movement has really stood up to build the man, the individual being so that he can follow God and follow the teachings of God and perform his prayers in The Gambia. I have listened again with interest, I have listened with emotion on Friday when His Holiness gave an assessment of what is happening to his followers in their own land. I would like to say, this Movement no longer belongs to any land, it is a world Movement. I am also very much consoled by religious history. Moses was banished from Egypt for forty years, Jesus Christ was not only banished by his people or rejected, he was killed by his people. The Prophet Muhammad, sallallaho alaihe wasallam, was sent out of Mecca by his own people. Therefore, if we find our leader in London being treated badly by his own people, history is repeating itself. The Gambian government and every Gambian condemns any act of injustice in the manner of infringing on the rights of not only the individual but also those of any community. Entrenched in our Constitut- ion is the respect for the rights of people, the respect of humans and communities. That is why the O.A.U. has decided to establish the headquarters of the Human Rights Commission in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia. We believe in the freedom of the person, particularly when it comes to religion. He is free to believe in his religion, practise his religion how he thinks fit and how he wants to do it. We stand solidly behind your Movement in pursuance of your right to perform your rites anywhere in the world on any ground the way you want to perform as members of the Ahmadiyya Movement and members of the Islamic faith. It is ironical that Muslim leaders are talking with Jews, they are talking with Christians, they are talking with Buddhists – they are tolerating them, it is ironical, it is sad that within Islam one sect refuses to accept the other sects. To me that is very hypocritical. One thing I emphasise, with the indulgence of Your Holiness, is my impression since I came. I will not be doing justice if I leave without saying how I feel. The discipline among the people, the discipline among the members of the Movement is something that all countries should emulate, is something that all religions should emulate, is that all institutions should emulate. The elders, the women, particularly the youth, the leaders of tomorrow, have shown that high spirit of responsibility, dedication and commitment, so selflessly in the name of Allah, in the name of their Movement and in belief and respect of their leader. I thank you all and congratulate you on that. REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 19 Finally, the true reflection of any movement or religion is the true reflection of the leadership. With all the persecutions, with all the killings, with all the burning of your houses your leader believes in God and knows it is only through God that salvation will come, that peace will come. Therefore, he preaches tolerance, he preaches forgiveness, he preaches patience, this very foundation on which our noble and honourable Prophet Muhammad built the Islamic religion. Therefore, your Move- ment is in the right direction. You are going to be successful, you are going to win, you are representing the minds and spirits and intelligence of everybody in the world. I thank you very much once more. Mr. Pierre Chartiers, Montreal ‘Brothers and Sisters, assalam-o-alaikum. I have the ring (with the Arabic inscription Is Allah not enough for His servant? because it was presented to me by one of my Ahmadi refugees for whom I won the case in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and finally his wife and children arrived to meet him. He hadn’t seen them for two or three years. She brought the ring for me, and it fits perfectly. This beard I am wearing is new. An Ahmadi client told me it was the French-cut or the Ahmadi-cut. There is a word I will not use in front of His Holiness that describes this beard. There is something missing, it is the signing of religion. I am not ready to sign, it, although this Centenary would have been a perfect timing, but I have too much love for Ahmadis, too much respect for you and too much respect for His Holiness to sign without being sure. Now I come from a Western world, I come from the province of Quebec which is the French part of Canada. It is quite liberal minded, and there are things that I have to think about before signing. But Insha-Allah when I sign, it will be for ever. When we are out of Canada we speak with one voice, and you heard the honourable Member of Parliament, Mr. Sergio Marchi, who is from the Liberal Party, and his colleague, and you know that he read with a lot of emotion the message of our Prime Minister of Canada who is a Conservative. When we are out of Canada, we speak with one voice, and this is why, out of respect for them and for my country, I am wearing the Canadian flag, although usually I wear the Quebec flag. May I take a few seconds to explain how I got acquainted with the Ahmadiyya Community. I am a lawyer, I am doing immigration cases, refugee cases since 1 985, and one day in September 1 986 1 was going for one of my cases at the Immigration Centre and 1 saw a lady dressed in some kind of something – that is what I said at that time – and she had 20 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS three young children crying. I have no children of my own, and it upsets me, especially when I am going to do an immigration case. I have to keep calm. This lady was crying and I did not know why. So I went to see her. She was crying in her poor English, that some councillor or lawyer had dumped her because she did not have any money, and the immigration was forcing her to proceed without a lawyer, so I brought her to the immigration’ agent’s room and I said I am the new lawyer, give me another date to prepare the case. So I was granted another date, and before^! prepared, the case with this lady, some Ahmadi leaders from Mon/fireal, from the Jama’at, came to my office to prepare the case but certainly more for the reason to see who I was and if I deserved to deal with Ahmadi cases. I have been doing Ahmadi cases since September 1986, so I believe that I got the trust from the Ahmadiyya Jama’at in Montreal, and I will continue doing so for many years. Now, in 1947 after Partition, Ahmadi Muslims – because they are Muslims – walked to Pakistan. They left everything behind. Some were lucky enough to have carriages, but I know that many walked. I was told that, and Ahmadis speak the truth. In 1953, during the Punjab disturbances, Mullahs wanted your great spirit, Muhammad Zafrulla Khan to be kicked out of his post of Foreign Minister. They wanted Ahmadis to be declared non-Muslim. For reasons I don’t know, you were not declared non-Muslims then, but Zafrulla Khan was kicked out, ‘to become Justice and then Chief Justice of the International Court at The Hague and Chairman of the General Assembly of the United Nations. This is a great tribute to the Ahmadiyya Community. In 1974, after the Rabwah railway station incident, after the atrocities against Ahmadis, you were declared non-Muslims on the 7th of September, 1974, supposedly to calm the Muslims down. In 1984, on 26th April, you had Ordinance XX. Like Huzur said, you cannot offer peace to your neighbour (i.e. greet with ‘assalam-o-alaikum’), if not, you will go to prison for three years. And I believe, in 1986 Parliament changed that. It is called blaspheming Muhammad which is a capital offence bringing capital punishment. After that Shariat Bill (Islamic Law) was passed, not at the lowei>House, at the Senate, and Junejo, not passing it forthwith at the House level, was kicked out by Zia and on 15th June, 1988, Shariat Bill was passed by decree. And you know what Shariat means to Ahmadis. The Islamic law is supreme in Pakistan. Now we had this tremendous hope^of the election coming and in Benazir Bhutto who had suffered exile as Huzur is suffering exile now. We were hoping in Canada that she would win the election, and she did. And you know what she declared in January of this year, that REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 21 the passing of the Constitution Amendment in 1974 making Ahmadis non-Muslim was one of her father’s great achievements! Shame! And now we are opening a new chapter of persecution which Huzur talked about. We have the incidents of April, we have the incidents of July, we have the police and military patroling Rabwah until the end of the year, we have the killings, we have the burning of houses. No sweets for the children, no new clothes. This is where we are now. Now, I am from Canada, I am not so humble. I have to learn that before becoming Ahmadi, but I am telling you there is not much we can do, not much that my colleagues can do either from Canada. We cannot help very much the Ahmadis that are in Pakistan. But we have met today with the representative of the High Commissioner and we will meet somebody else tomorrow at the High Commission and will try to find some way for the Ahmadis that are here and have been crying, taking their handkerchiefs out of their pockets. We will try to get you to Canada some way, and I can tell you only that I deal with cases in Montreal, Quebec. For those Ahmadis who will manage to reach the province of Quebec, I will deal with you with the best of my ability. And let me tell you that we have a new law since the 1st of January this year, and I have not lost any Ahmadi case since then, and the judges have to take into consideration the last decisions. Sol believe that there is a good future for the generous Ahmadis with the generous people of Quebec and Canada. Shukria, Khuda Hafiz. Mr. Jim Karygiannis, Member of the Canadian Parliament ‘Your Holiness, distinguished Members of Parliament, Ministers, distingu- ished guests, people from all over the world. I noticed when I came to the compound two days ago flags from all over the world. I looked at my friend, Naseem Mahdi, and I said, you’ve got all the flags in the world. He said yes. I said, you have even got the Greek flag there. In Canada we are a multicultural nation. I think if the rest of the world looks at Canada, it might take some lessons. I went to Canada in 1966, fleeing political oppression, political persecu- tion. I was ten years old when one night my father yanked me out of my house and said we are leaving. I looked at him and asked why? I did not understand. He said in due time you will understand. What happened in Greece in the next seven years, is what your Community in Pakistan has been going through the last fifteen years. It was political oppression. In Pakistan you have religious oppression. So I have seen the Greek flag and I said to Naseem Mahdi, are there any Greeks among the crowd? He said I am sure there must be. 22 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Your Holiness, you visited Canada, and we became, in my mind, a little better acquainted. You have a religious leader that you should be proud of. Not a lot of religious leaders are^the calibre, the intelligence and honesty of this man, and I say that with humbleness because I was very much moved by meeting him and by talking to him. You are celebrating your 100 years. Canada as a Dominion, as a nation, is a little older than that, roughly about 124 or 123 years. So we are growing. We have grown in pains as the previous speaker mentioned, and you have grown in pains. We know what it is like to grow. But in Canada the one thing that we have is the freedom to speak out, the freedom to believe in the God we want. You can find a Muslim living beside a Christian. You can find a Christian addressing a Muslim crowd. We are proud of it. In. September 1988 Canada became a member of the United Nations Security Council. This year Canada, along with other Commonwealth countries, along with the country of Britain, will be meeting in South East Asia. Why not take this opportunity – not only speaking on behalf of Canada, but I am also suggesting it to other members of the Commonwe- alth — why not take this opportunity, I repeat, reach out and let Pakistan know what it is doing. Human rights, freedom of speech, human rights throughout the world is not something we take for granted. We have seen many nations, Panama, South Africa, the government of Pakistan and other countries throughout the world abusing, killing people, kicking people—that has to stop. We cannot solve everything, but, however, if the government of Pakistan can be made to understand what it is doing is not desired through the rest of the world, if the government of Pakistan can be made to understand that it is time that it can live with its people in peace rather side by side, we have accomplished one small step toward humanity. The work of the Ahmadis in Canada is a different story. They are moving fast, swiftly, and I tell you that I am proud to be here with them, I am proud to call them my friends. In closing, I hope, Your Holiness, that you will visit us again in Canada. Although I have a very small apartment, it is always open to you. You know there is a saying from where I come from, Greece, it says, the only person that cannot fit into your house is the devil. And here we have friends and brothers and sisters. We have to live in peace with each other, we have to respect each other. And in closing I only want to say Ahmadiyya Zindabad.’ REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 2 3 Mr. Sergio Marchi, Member of Parliament, Canada ‘Your Holiness, once again my distinguished colleagues and friends of the last three da}’s, and I hope for many years to come, brothers in the tent and, through the great power of technology and video, to our sisters in the other tent. I am very, very, very humble to be standing before such an impressive international audience of Ahmadis. Your Holiness, when your very capable, leader in Canada, Naseem Mahdi, who, as my colleague Jim Karygiannis said a few moments ago, will be a friend long after our political careers are over because we are not here simply as elected representatives, because what we talk and share transcends political boundaries and goes beyond for life and experience, when he called and on your behalf invited me to be a part of the Canadian delegation, one of my’first thoughts was, why me, I have no special credentials, I have no special titles, but I accept this because I know it was offered in the humility and in the friendship that has come to characterise the Ahmadiyya Community in Canada and indeed throughout the world. My second thought was that it was very easy for me to say yes because I had looked forward to meeting His Holiness once again. When he came to Canada only a few months ago, one of his departing comments-was, I hope to have the chance of having you in my temporary home in London. I had no thought that the re-visit would be so soon, and I suppopse that our God had heard our conversation and had helped along the way. Let me tell you, as my colleagues have said so very, very well that we and myself have been particularly moved by the experience of these last three days. If I was to pick one moment of the past three days and call that one moment the highlight, I would pick with some regret, I suppose, because the theme and the feelings of the opening session when His Holiness read from letters that he had received from Ahmadiyya brothers and sisters in Pakistan. The words were simple, the words were true, and yet the words were so powerful and so forceful that one could not have helped but to be moved, if you were in proximity of this tent. They were forceful because they came from the heart, they came from the pen and they came from factual experience. And those words put on simple paper spoke more powerfully and with greater dignity than any speech that anyone of us can muster in Parliament, was more forceful than any parliamentary report that we can put together, was more forceful than any parliamentary task force can ever try to describe, because it came from people who were going through their tribulation. It also reminded me of how troubled our world at times and in places actually is. In fact, every day we are surprised, we are repulsed, we are 24 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS offended when we read the headlines in our newspapers, watch the news on our television sets or hear the broadcast on radio of various acts of violence against our fellow-brethren. Sometimes you wonder why it is, you wonder how it can be that a fellow human being can take a match and light the castle of any family. Because we are bombarded by those messages sometimes, isn’t it true that our world sometimes becomes indifferent to those headlines. Years ago, when there would be a murder on a street, we would talk about it for days. Now when we have death of hundreds and thousands, it becomes merely a statistic that we look at one page and then we turn to our sports pages to find out how our soccer team is doing. That has been reduced to a certain indifference, but I must tell you, Your Holiness, that the reaction of your Ahmadiyya Community is not one of indifference, is not one of simply passive response to what is happening in Pakistan. For me this gathering in addition to praying and to offering your worship to your God, for me there are two-messages that flow from this Conference in London, England, and the many conferences and celebrations that have marked your Centennial this year throughout the world. The first message goes to the Ahmadis in Pakistan, to the four-year old girl who wrote to His Holiness, to the young child who is denied education, to the men and women in the prisons who are being beaten, to the families who watch their houses being burnt, this is the message for them in solidarity to say we’have not forgotten you, we admire you, we respect you, we give you courage, we give you strength, and may your struggles continue. Sol say and we say collectively to the persons in the prison, to the persons watching the fire, to the persons being denied educational rights, you are not alone, your pain is shared. They know that, and when they receive that strength, I tell you that no armies, how powerful those armies may be, no armies would ever put out that flame that burns brightly because of your actions here and the actions of your people around the globe. The second message is to the world. The second message is to the non-Ahmadiyya community of the world. That message is to suggest in a very positive way, please take note, please wake up to this misery, to this human suffering and offer your assistance. Therefore, through you, through my colleagues here and through my colleagues around the world, we have to recognise that the sufferings emanating in Pakistan are more than religious, they are indeed political. If the problems are political they require political solutions. There is a moral responsibility on those colleagues and Members of Parliament across the world to correct and right the wrong because if we don’t do it in Pakistan and if we don’t do it elsewhere where it is needed, then one day, God forbid, when it happens REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 25 to Canada, who will come and help us? So, as my colleague has already mentioned, we need to have’ the strength of our convictions, of our political convictions, the way that you show the strength of .your religious convictions, and we as a world, as an international community, particularly since Pakistan this year is looking for membership in the Commonwealth once again, we must say with one voice and that voice must be clear, and we should say: Pakistan, if your call yourself a modern-day society, then free those liberties. Pakistan, if you call yourself a progressive society, let there be freedom of worship in your country. Benazir Bhutto, if you are aforward-looMng leader of the future, then accept the future and let those people believe in their God in their way and allow humanity to live. No army could kill that flame, and I believe in the bottom of my heart that the leaders of P akistan know that the people who are burning your homes and killing your children are being manipulated by the manipulators. They think they are doing it for their religious cause, but we must also address the source. I have a very strong belief that very, very soon, because of your support, because of your strength, that day of reckoning and the day of Judgement is indeed very close. While we have been tremendously moved by the organisation in Great Britain of the massive numbers of people who have been driving us, who have been cooking our bread, who have been volunteering through the night, the youngsters with the security badges, while the hospitality in Great Britain has been second to none, I look forward to joining the hundreds of people for one of our next celebrations in the heart of Pakistan together with the Ahmadiyya Community. Assalam-o-Alaikum.’ SECRET OF LASTING FRIENDSHIP Two friends can continue their friendship only if at times each of them does what the other says and at times each of them agrees to what the other does. If one of them always insists on the other doing whatever he says, the friendship will not last long. This is the case with God and man. At times God listens to what man says and blesses him with His Grace and at other times man accepts patiently whatever God has destined for him. (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad — The Promised Messiah)