Rizwan Ahmad Afzal
The yearly International Book Fair in Gothenburg was held for 4 days between 27-30 September 2018.
At the book fair, there were a total of 579 stalls and one of them was the Jamaat’s stall (16 m2) and the theme for the stall was “Ask a Muslim”. There are many misconceptions about Muslims and of Islam among the population of Sweden, and so they got the opportunity to ask whatever they wanted to know about Islam.
This event was arranged by the national Tabligh department in coordination with the national Amir, national Sami-o-Basri department, national Umur-e-Kharija, Sadr Lajna Imaillah, missionary in-charge Agha Yahya Khan Sahib and missionary Kashif Virk Sahib. The main book which was focused on our stall was the recelntly published Holy Quran with Swedish translation, which was sold to visitors who showed interest in the topic. Different brochures about Islam and the Jamaat were distributed and to those who showed interest, many books and several editions of The Review of Religions were given for free.
The stall was very popular among visitors and many came forward and said that the theme of the stall was very well thought of. The visitors were of all ages and the questions ranged from basic questions about Islam to deeper theological discussions. Many teachers visited the stall. The most common questions were about the applicability of purdah and men shaking hands with women.
During the Book Fair, nine journalists, scientists and authors where contacted and informed about our campaign. Three of them also visited our stall. The archbishop of Sweden also visited our stall. A Khadim was interviewed on one of West Sweden’s biggest television channels, SVT Väst. The interview was published in the form of an article on their website. Four talks were given in the stall in the form of Q&A sessions with our missionaries, which gathered many listeners. An episode of our Jamaat’s podcast, “Islams röst” (Voice of Islam) was also recorded in the stall.
Missionary in-charge, Agha Yahya Khan Sahib, missionary Kashif Virk Sahib, national Secretary Tabligh and national Secretary Umur-e-Kharija were present every day at the stall during the book fair, together with Ansar, Khuddam and Lajna.
During the Book Fair about 1,000 flyers were distributed. The total number of visitors at the Book Fair was 85,371.