On the evening of February 6, a mob of religious bigots attacked the Boy Scouts Training Camp in Gazipur, outside Dhaka, Bangladesh and set fire to six tents. The site was being prepared for the hosting of the 89th Jalsa, or the annual convention, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. This year’s Jalsa was going to commemorate the centennial of the establishment of the Community in Bangladesh. Though the bigots’ goal was to foil the Ahmadiyya convention, they were not successful in their effort since the Community was able to quickly relocate to their head quarters in Dhaka city. The 3-day Jalsa event went on without any further obstruction and ended successfully on Sunday, February 10.
The Jalsa was attended by nearly 6,000 participants from Bangladesh. Foreign delegates from countries such as, Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Pakistan, UK, and USA also attended the event. These delegates reminded the Muslims that it is their responsibility to highlight the beauty of Islam by removing misunderstandings and misconceptions that are prevalent these days.
The Worldwide Spiritual Leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Fifth Caliph, delivered the concluding address on the final day of the Jalsa. His Holiness gave his address from London which was simultaneously telecast via satellite to the Convention in Dhaka. Three thousand five hundred members of the UK Ahmadiyya Muslim Community had gathered at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London to be part of this historic event. His Holiness congratulated the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Bangladesh on their centenary celebration but at the same time expressed his sorrow on the attacks on the original convention site by religious fanatics.
“We are not sorrowful because we have been subjected to such cruelty and persecution. We are not sorrowful that the venue for our Jalsa Salana was burnt. Our real sorrow lies in the fact that such evil acts are perpetrated in the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw who was sent as a source of mercy and compassion for all of mankind. Our real sorrow lies in the fact that such hate-filled attacks defame the pure name of Islam.” His Holiness commented.
Despite of open opposition and persecution of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India, the Community has flourished and has been established in two-hundred and two countries worldwide. In conclusion, His Holiness reminded the Bangladeshi Ahmadi Muslims that they should fulfill their obligations.
“O Ahmadi Muslims of Bangladesh, persecution should never dishearten you or make you fearful. The sacrifices you are making today will come to be etched in the history of Bangladesh.”