The global headquarters of the Islamic Caliphate of the religion’s Ahmadiyya sect has moved its world headquarters to Tilford .
Ahmadis, considered non-Muslims by some mainstream sects and violently persecuted in Pakistan, had set up their global caliphate in Southfields, London.
But, after an inauguration event on Saturday (June 29), the base has officially moved to Tilford, near Farnham.
The Ahmadi group has stressed that it’s an inclusive group and all non-Muslims are welcome at their new HQ. An open day was held on Saturday at the Mubarak Mosque – part of the new headquarters – with hundreds of guests including residents, MPs and dignitaries.Imam, Farhad Ahmad, said: “Our mosque is always open for people to have a look around, and if they’ve never had a conversation with a Muslim they are welcome to sit down with us for a tea or coffee.
“We are definitely not a closed community and like to tell people about who we are. That is why we are holding this open day – we want to invite our local neighbours to be with us and ask questions about our religion.”
They operated tours of the mosque followed by evening prayers, before dignitaries and the Caliph (world leader), His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, addressed the audience.
The Farnham complex took two-and-a-half years to build. It also includes offices, a multi-purpose hall and an accommodation block for full-time residents that is eco-friendly and powered by solar energy.
The site has been in the group’s possession since 1985 but was rarely used besides a three-day convention each summer, attracting 20,000 people.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has 30,000 members in the UK and millions more across the world – many of whom travel to England to visit the Caliph.
It was formed in 1889 and is the fastest growing sect within Islam and the only one to have a caliphate besides the extremist group ISIS.
But Sabah Ahmedi, one of Britain’s youngest Imams, said that is where the comparison stops, as the Ahmadis promote peace and harmony. Their slogan is: “Love for all, hatred for none.”
He described the caliphate as a system of leadership and structure, something that is absent from other forms of Islam.
During his speech, the Caliph said: “Allah the Almighty has commanded Muslims that it is not enough for them to merely worship in the mosque but they must serve their local communities and constantly strive to help those who are in need.”