Even though the annual convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was being held miles away in the England, the small town of Rabwah in Punjab, Pakistan didn’t seem too far off from the activities.
The public in Rabwah looked like as if it was part of the bustling crowd of thousands which had gathered in the English countryside for a three day annual convention. The crowd consisted of Ambassadors, public figure’s, Ahmadi’s and guests from over 90 countries around the world which included Palestine, Pakistan and many European & African countries.
The convention was held from 23rd to 25th July, the time zone difference & power outages which lasted up to 12 hours a day didn’t deter the local ahmadi residents of Rabwah from watching the Annual convention (Jalsa Salana) live on their TV Screens.
The convention was broadcasted live by the community’s very own private Tv channel MTA and was made available in 12 different languages which included Urdu, English, Bengali, Arabic, Punjabi.
During the convention’s broadcast hours the streets of Rabwah gave a deserted look & the local shops remained closed.
On the other side of the globe arrangements for the 30,000 guests and dignitaries were being managed solely by volunteers from the community. Volunteers helped setup the marquee, served food and drinks and if you arrived at Heathrow London within the past 3 days chances are you might have seen some one holding the sign “Jalsa Salana” waiting to take new arrivals to the convention.
The convention which until 1983 was held in Rabwah, Pakistan used to attract tens of thousands of ahmadis from around Pakistan but after the introduction of Anti-Ahmadiyya ordinance in 1984 by General Zia ul Haq it was banned, But the ironic thing is that hate filled anti-ahmadiyya rallies are still frequently held in Rabwah by the Khatm-e-Nabuwat & Ahrar movement who are closely linked to banned terrorist outfits.
Another notable point worth mentioning was the use of social media as many attendees and viewers took to twitter and posted status updates’ regarding the convention and a live twitter stream was put up here as well. Overall approximately 1,323 tweets related to #JalsaUK were posted and here are the statistics of the users (Please note the data is not 100% correct).
The convention concluded with an address by the fifth head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community His Holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad in which he spoke about the persecution of Ahmadis in countries like Pakistan & Indonesia and cleared up misconceptions some might have had about the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya community.