More than 30,000 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMC) from over 100 countries gathered at the Jalsa Salana event, which took place on a 200-acre farm in Hampshire.
In his concluding address on Sunday, the Caliph, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, spoke about the rise of extremism and continued instability in the world. He urged Muslims to return to the true teachings of Islam:
“It is up to Muslims to stand up and reject all forms of extremism and terrorism. It is the task of Ahmadi Muslims to show the true teachings of Islam which are of peace love, mercy and compassion.”
The Jalsa began on Friday with the traditional Friday Sermon and the raising of the black and white flag of the AMC alongside the Union Flag. On Saturday, the Caliph conducted proceedings from the ladies marquee where 15,000 Muslim women had gathered. He awarded prizes to women for academic achievements and gave a speech on the rights and empowerment Islam affords them.
A replica of the Turin Shroud, which some believe bears the image of Jesus, was on display at the convention. The world’s leading expert on the Shroud, Barrie Schwortz, was among the attendants as a guest.
Organisers say the purpose of the three-day international gathering was to promote the true, peaceful teachings of Islam and challenge misinterpretations around the world’s second largest religion.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was established in 1889 in India and is led by a spiritual caliphate, with millions of adherents.
The Ahmadi movement identifies itself as a Muslim movement and follows the teachings of the Koran. However, in many Muslim countries the Ahmadis have been defined as heretics and non-Muslim and subjected to persecution and often systematic oppression.