Charles Barton Stedman
At the 2018 UK Peace Symposium, Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa met a teacher from Spain, Don Iñaki Iraola. He teaches at a Catholic school run by Spanish Catholic group called Opus Dei. As a result of this contact, Qamar Fazli Ilahi Sahib was invited to deliver a lecture to the students at this school on Factors for a Peaceful Coexistence: an Islamic Perspective.
The school, El Grado, is situated in north-eastern Spain near the Pyrenees. The representatives of the Ahmadiyya Community were given a very cordial welcome and afforded every hospitality. The lecture was attended with interest and was followed with a fruitful discussion. Everyone who attended seemed determined to strengthen the newly formed ties of brotherhood.
A press conference was held following the lecture as a result of which an article was published in a local newspaper Diario de Alto Aragón which has a readership of around 26,000 people. The article was written by a perceptive journalist who succeeded in giving an accurate report.
The title quotes Qamar Sahib as saying, [translated from Spanish] “We have to prevent humanity from destroying itself.” It goes on to say, “Qamar Fazal is a simple man but a fluent speaker. Whenever we ask him about the message he wishes to convey, he begins by quoting some Arabic verses from the Quran which, although cannot be understood by us, sounds convincing nevertheless. His eyes… show how he is moved when he recalls his father, the first missionary of the Ahmadiyya Community in Spain.
“When answering the wide range of questions from the audience at the end of the lecture, he avoids controversy but without shying away from any of the topics raised. For example, when reproached for the lack of reciprocity in certain Islamic countries, where Christians cannot build temples, he says, ‘Those countries are passing through the middle ages. Nowhere does the Quran forbid the building of churches. We in the Ahmadiyya Community are persecuted by these people; in some places they tolerate us but will not speak to us, while others kill us. True Islam proposes peace. We have to prevent humanity from destroying itself, persuade people to return to their Creator and be grateful to Him.’
“When he was asked why there are so many ways to interpret the Quran, Qamar answers, ‘Truly inspired people are the ones who should interpret the Quran. The Divine law is always superior to human law. God tells us through the Quran that He never punishes a people unless He has sent them a clear warning first. All religions have their prophets who bring such warnings. Those who deny these prophets, whether it be Krishna, Buddha, Moses, Jesus or Mohammad, reject God.’ He adds, ‘We believe that there can be a prophet for everyone. Islam is like a pool that collects the waters of all the prophets.’
“Fazal has led demonstrations after terrorist attacks and becomes serious, even sad, when asked about jihadist violence. ‘These muddled Muslim leaders are the worst people under the canopy of heaven. Their criteria are not religious but political. I feel ashamed when they try to justify misogyny or murder in the name of the prophet.’”