An annual Islamic convention organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has quickly become a new venue for diplomacy and peace talks. The convention which is called the “Jalsa Salana” takes place in London, U.K., the United States, Germany, and other places around the world.
This year Jalsa Salana Canada took place at the International Centre in Mississauga from Aug. 28 to 30. The three-day event was attended by Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, leader of the Canadian Liberal Party Justin Trudeau, Consul General of Pakistan Asghar Ali Golo, Consul General of India Akhilesh Mishra and many local politicians. The audience included thousands of people from Canada, the US and other parts of the world.
Speaking during the opening day of the convention PM Harper talked about the threat of ISIS and emphasized his government’s policy on religious freedom.
The very next day the Canadian Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau attended the convention and criticized PM Harper’s ‘2-tiered’ citizenship policy. After the speech Mr Trudeau served food to the attendees.
The convention also attracted Consul General’s of arch-rivals Pakistan and India along with Canadian Politicians of Pakistani and Indian origin which included Senator Salma Ataullahjan & Honourable Shafiq Qaadri who is a Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier.
Consul General of India, Akhilesh Mishra started his speech with the Islamic greeting of “Assalamu Alaikum” and greeted his Pakistani counterpart Mr Asghar Ali Golo. Mr Mishra commended the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for its complete rejection of violence and terrorism.
Mr Mishra went on to say :
I believe if we shed our negativity and acrimony and animosity and hatred of the other and the different, The world would be much better.
“Friends I believe that this glorious Jammat e Ahmadiyya community which is founded on the motto of kindness, compassion and love for all and hatred towards none is the best forum to start a campaign collectively and also individually to start a mission of spreading positive energy of love, of harmony and human fraternity using whatever limited resources lie in our power.”
He ended the speech by saying “I pray to Allah for this convention’s success and your happiness, progress and peace.”
His speech was followed by the speech of Mr Asghar Ali Golo, the Consul General of Pakistan to Toronto who was welcomed with enthusiastic clapping.
Mr Golo said:
“It’s very encouraging for me to see such a large number of Pakistanis, all ambassadors of pakistan making such a marvelous contribution in a country like Canada, and i am proud to represent my my Pakistani community who have been extremely extremely respected all over the world, specially in Canada.”
He went on to say
I think all of you know when i came only two weeks back at the peace village where we celebrated Pakistan Day, a group of young boys and girls sang “O Canada” in Urdu, I think this is one gift we have given to Canada, it’s priceless. I think it shows our Love, affection, patriotism for Canada and i must salute you all for contributing, for making this project a reality. Thank you very much.
Reacting to the Consular’s comments the audience raised slogans of “Love Live Pakistan” to which he joined in.
The Pakistani Consular also said ” You contribute a lot in every way here [Canada], you have played a key role in making Canada a great country.We are all proud of you.May Allah keep you happy and may you and your future generations thrive…..Long Live Everyone of you !”
The Consular also asked the audience to actively participate in Canadian elections and support politicians of Pakistani origin.
But all of this does not come without controversy, just last week a former Pakistani Diplomat was accused of Blasphemy for attending and speaking at the Ahmadiyya Muslim convention in the United Kingdom.
Just two weeks ago Consul General of Pakistan to Toronto Mr Asghar Ali Golo was accused of being “anti-Pakistan” for organizing and attending Pakistan Independence Day celebrations at an Ahmadiyya Mosque in Toronto.
Ahmadiyya are a minority sect of Islam but are considered heretics by many mainstream Muslims and suffer persecution in countries such as Pakistan where they are banned. Rights organisations describe Ahmadiyya Muslims as one of the most relentlessly persecuted communities in Pakistan.