Mansoor Ahmed Mubashir, France Correspondent
On 14 November 2021, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Hauts-de-France, France held its eighth interreligious conference, entitled “Prayer and Meditation (Forms, Philosophy and Effects on Social Life)”.
The conference was held in the Maison de Quartier in the city of Beuvrages. The conference was attended by the city mayor, six religious representatives, the president of the OTAN Federation and a representative of the Unificationist faith.
This year, the programme was broadcast live on YouTube, and the total number of participants was 669 including 617 on YouTube, while 52 people attended in person. The conference was presided over by the Mayor of Beuvrages city, Mr Ali Benyahia.
After a recitation from the Holy Quran, Dr Talha Rashid Sahib, Secretary Umur-e-Kharija, introduced Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya. Then all the guests expressed their views.
The Buddhist views were presented by Mr Jean Jacques Lefebvre who thanked the Jamaat and said that meditation had taught him to be more peaceful.
The Christian Protestant views were presented by Mr Pierre Lavoisy who said that the paths were different, but they lead to the same destination.
Bahaism was presented by Mr Ferreydoun Badkoube who expressed his views from an extract from the book A little treatise on inner life.
Hinduism was represented by Mr Gora Bakta who thanked the audience. He said, without prayer man could neither speak nor walk. Prayer led to God.
Christian Catholic views were presented by Mr Bruno Callebau who said prayer could sometimes take the form of saying, “thank you Lord, forgive me Lord, please Lord”.
The representative of the Unificationist faith, Mrs Chantel Onana said that if we decided to pray all together for one minute, it would be powerful.
Naseer Ahmad Shahid Sahib, Missionary-in-charge Jamaat France presented the teachings of Islam on the topic.
The president of the NATO Federation was attending our conference for the first time. The President, Mr Willy Breton congratulated and thanked the Jamaat for the conference and said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community prayed for French soldiers and joined the memorial programmes every year. He mentioned Hazrat Amirul Momineen’saa speech at UNESCO, France and said that he was significantly impacted by Huzoor’s speech.
The mayor of the city of Beuvrages, Mr Ali Benyahia expressed his views. He appreciated all the efforts of the Jamaat and congratulated it for being active during the Covid-19 pandemic in helping others. In the end, he thanked all the participants, congratulated the Jamaat and requested for more events like these.
At the end, all the speakers were presented with copies of the Holy Quran and other Jamaat books as gifts. Refreshments were also served to all guests.
The mayor of the city had another programme to attend due to which he had to leave during the conference. But he returned to attend the conference after finishing the other programme – something which all guests greatly appreciated.
The president of NATO sent a message the day after the conference and said that this conference was very successful and congratulated the community.
The next day, Pierre Lavoisy, a Christian Protestant, informed all of his friends about the conference and introduced Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya.
Jean Henri Vanalderwelt, who came with a guest of the Unificationist faith, contacted the Jamaat after the conference and expressed his desire to meet with its members. The meeting was held with him and further Jamaat teachings and activities were presented.