Marwan Gill, Missionary, Argentina
On 5 September 2022, the missionary-in-charge of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Italy, Attaul Wase Tariq Sahib and my humble self had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis, the worldwide leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
The meeting took place in his office at the Vatican and with us, were also two Jewish representatives from Argentina. It was a historic moment, as it was the very first time that the current Pope received a delegation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in a private audience.
After the formal reception and pictures, the Pope started the conversation by commenting on our logo in Italian on the gift bag:
“‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ is such a beautiful message, but sadly there is too much hate in the world.’”
Tariq Sahib continued this conversation by introducing him to the background of this motto and our work worldwide under this slogan.
Thereafter, I introduced myself in Spanish, to which the Pope immediately inquired if I was Argentinian due to my accent of Spanish. The current Pope is Argentinian and was previously the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, so he was curious why we had never met before in Argentina. I clarified to him that I arrived as a missionary of our Community in Argentina after he was already elected as the Pope. After giving him a detailed background of our Jamaat, we introduced to him the magnificent work of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa as a worldwide ambassador of peace. We presented the Pope with an Italian translation of the book World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace. We also presented him with the letter that Hazrat Khaliftul Masih vaa had specifically written for this audience. The Pope received the letter with great respect and acknowledged gratitude for this gesture of Huzooraa.
Furthermore, we gifted him the Spanish and the Italian translation of the Holy Quran and spoke specifically about chapter 19 which is dedicated to the virgin Mary. The Pope shared with us his personal anecdote and told us that he was very surprised when he visited Dubai and was invited to a mosque that was named “Mariam”. We told him that the Holy Quran in general gives great importance to dialogue with Jews and Christians to promote similar values.
In light of a few verses of the Holy Quran, we expressed to him our commitment to undertake joint efforts in an attempt to establish peace and justice in our societies. Thereafter, the Pope continued the conversation with the Jewish representatives, who also shared their personal testimonies. Just a few days earlier they had the privilege to meet Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa in a private audience in Islamabad. Hence, they expressed to the Pope their positive remarks about their audience with Huzooraa and their experience in general with the members of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya.
The Pope was deeply interested and overwhelmed by our joint activities in Argentina, whose aim is to promote interfaith brotherhood and have so far had a very inspiring impact on the wider society. The Pope was pleased and highlighted the fact that interfaith relations require constant effort and sincerity from all parties.
As an acknowledgement of our efforts towards interfaith harmony, he gifted us all a miniature of the Vatican and a copy of his latest books. Furthermore, he dedicated his book “Fratelli tutti” (All Brothers) to Huzooraa with a short message and personal signature. The audience lasted in total for around 40 minutes.