Kashif Virk, Missionary, Sweden
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Sweden’s efforts to promote peace, understanding and dialogue in response to the burning of copies of the Holy Quran have, by the grace of Allah, become very prominent in Swedish society. Our recent awareness campaign in August gained a lot of positive reactions from the public and media.
The work of informing society about the teachings of the Holy Quran was continued through a week-long tour in September. This time, seven cities around the Swedish lake Vättern were visited. The cities are Falköping, Skara, Skövde, Motala, Mjölby, Habo and Tidaholm. Four missionaries embarked on this tour.
In each city, we parked our trailer at a central location with the permission of the local police. Hundreds of people approached the stall and asked questions about Islam and the Holy Quran, or simply expressed their appreciation for this campaign. The information about the campaign had already been widely publicised in each city through local media and groups on Facebook.
In each city, representatives from the local council, police and church were contacted and we requested a meeting with them; most of them accepted our request and met with us. They were introduced to the work of the Jamaat and gifted with a copy of the Holy Quran. Some of them later published posts on their social media, commending our work. A representative from Skara stated in appreciation that they needed an Ahmadi missionary in their area and asked how they could request someone to be appointed by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa. Four local libraries also accepted copies of the Holy Quran with Swedish translation.
Seven local Jamaat members also assisted us in the activities. In total, 2000 leaflets were distributed in different cities. Some other Muslims living in these cities approached us and wished to assist with the campaign, and they even offered us breakfast and lunch.
Among the comments received were:
“Good! To gain knowledge is important.”
“Good initiative! I hope we can live in peace and freedom without using the holy books as weapons and shields.”
“Good initiative, as people who are curious or go about hating each other take the opportunity and talk with someone standing here and receiving questions.”
“I think it’s terrible (i.e., the act of burning the Quran). You should not burn any holy scriptures! It should be totally forbidden!”
“Those who burn the Quran should be deported. We should respect each other.”
A total of 11 newspapers and 3 local radio stations published news about the tour, both on paper and online. Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Sweden’s own social media channels were also used to publicise the activities.
We also conducted a social experiment by interviewing visitors at the stall and asking them about their views on Quran-burning. It surprised us that all of them were totally against it and said that this should not be permitted. The result tallies with other polls made in Sweden, which shows that a majority of the Swedish public is against it.