Ahmadiyya Muslim Community celebrates 100 years in UK

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community will give thanks for 100 glorious years in Britain by raising the Union Jack and celebrating its centenary in the UK with a mass gathering.

Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for British charities including the Poppy Appeal, planted 30,000 trees, fed 10,000 homeless and carried out a major blood donation drive during a year of celebrations.

They have also engaged in major outreach, interfaith and community awareness events throughout the UK to promote social cohesion.

Now more than 30,000 Ahmadiyya Muslims will gather in Hampshire for the centenary annual gathering – the biggest single annual convention of Muslims in Britain. It takes place from Friday August 30 to Sunday September 1 with delegates expected from 100 countries at a mass tented village in the English countryside.

Joining them will be ministers, MPs, civic leaders and prominent people from all walks of life. Messages of support from leaders across the world will also be relayed to delegates and transmitted globally via live satellite TV and live webstream.

The focal point of the event is the presence of His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. His Holiness has been speaking at parliaments in the US, EU and UK and has written a series of letters to world leaders to emphasise the need for international justice.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said: "The world is in dire need for peace. Such peace cannot be achieved by mere slogans alone but it requires a sincere effort on the part of every citizen. We, Ahmadi Muslims, do our utmost to abide by the teachings of the Holy Founder of Islam (peace be upon him) who exemplified how peace can be achieved. It is achieved by prayer, by serving God and by serving mankind.

"Furthermore, in all our dealings we must hold fast to the principles of truth and justice. This is the pathway to peace and it is my prayer that all of mankind adopts these noble ways."

Head of the UK branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Rafiq Hayat, said: "This is a special year and a special convention for us. Our community in the UK has sought to live by the Islamic teaching that loyalty to one's country is part of faith. This means honouring and serving one's country with sincerity and passion. We thank God for Britain for it has been an abode of peace where we have had complete freedom of religion.

"Whilst extremists have sought to promote intolerance we have tried our best to promote peace by explaining the true teachings of Islam – which is a religion of peace. Islam means peace and we have demonstrated this very fact over 100 years of the community's existence in Britain."

The Ahmadiyya Muslims Community established the first mosque in London, in Southfields, and also built Western Europe's biggest mosque in Morden, London, with capacity for 13,000 worshippers.

They have received messages of support from across the political spectrum with Prime Minister David Cameron stating that "Britain can be proud of you."

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