The community was founded in 1889 by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, of Qadian in India, and Jalsa is an international gathering to increase religious knowledge and promote Islam’s message of peace.
Eminent speakers discuss a range of religious topics and their relevance to contemporary society. Parliamentarians, civic leaders and diplomats from different countries also address the gathering to underline its objective of enhancing unity, understanding and mutual respect.
His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, addresses the convention each day, giving insight into religious teachings and how they guide the world today, and has condemned all acts of extremism.
At the 2017 National Peace Symposium UK, he stated: “Islam is that religion which has forever enshrined the universal principles of freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of belief. Therefore, if today there are so-called Muslim groups or sects that are killing people, it can only be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Their barbaric acts are a complete violation of everything that Islam stands for.”
After the terror incident in Manchester on May 22, he said: “Twenty-two innocent people, including young children, were brutally and senselessly murdered in Manchester. This was an utterly barbaric act and such heinous acts are completely opposed to the teachings of Islam.
“As Muslims, we are devastated and grief-stricken by this attack and condemn it in the strongest possible terms. May Allah have mercy upon all the victims and those that have been left bereaved, and may the cruelties of those people who are carrying out these atrocities in the name of Islam come to an end.”
A highlight of Jalsa is the Pledge of Allegiance at the hand of the Khalifa, who puts his hand on top of the hands of those in front of him. Others put their hands on the shoulders of these people, making a continuous link with the Khalifa which extends out to the entire gathering.
Members pledge allegiance to the peaceful teachings of Islam and to the Khalifa’s leadership of the community, thereby reaffirming their commitment to the remembrance of God and the service of humanity.
The community spreads the peaceful message of Islam and lives by its teachings of loyalty, equality, freedom, respect and peace.
Members give time to social projects, hold charity events, feed the homeless, protect the environment and donate blood to save lives.
It is the largest organised Muslim community in the UK, and in the last year it raised more than £700,000 for British charities.