Atif Ahmad Zahid, Missionary, Australia
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Adelaide West visited the town of Snowtown on 19 September 2021 to hold a Holy Quran exhibition for the public, and a visit to the local church in the nearby town of Port Broughton.
The regional town of Snowtown is around a two-hour drive from the Mahmood Mosque, Adelaide. A total of seven Jamaat members participated in this effort to spread the message of Islam and Ahmadiyyat.
The Holy Quran exhibition and bookstall was set up in the Sunday market from 9 am to 2 pm. Alhamdulillah, the exhibition and bookstall was very successful and was visited by many Australians.
On the same day, a delegate of five Jamaat members led by Atif Ahmad Zahid Sahib, attended the Sunday service in the local Uniting Church in Port Broughton which was around a 45-minute drive from Snowtown. The delegates met their church leader and more than 25 local church members after the service. Some of the church members were residents of Adelaide.
The church leader and the members warmly welcomed us and invited us to formally introduce ourselves. I presented the introduction of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya, our beliefs, teachings, and our efforts for humanity in Australia, Africa and worldwide. President Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Adelaide West, Nasir Ahmed Sahib thanked them and invited them to visit the two Ahmadi mosques in Adelaide and the upcoming interfaith and peace symposium programmes.
We had friendly conversations on topics related to religion and its role in caring for mankind. These discussions helped to convey the peaceful message of Islam Ahmadiyyat to the local church members.
Some of the church leaders have an affiliation with the Mercy Ship organisation which provides health care services to poor countries in Africa with a team of volunteers via fully equipped hospital facilities on-ship by sailing to different countries. We informed them about the teachings of Islam in paying the rights of mankind and caring for it and our Jamaat’s humanitarian programmes in terms of schools, hospitals, solar power projects, and clean water projects being run for several years in Africa, South America and other developing countries. We also informed them of the activities of Humanity First in this respect.
The general theme of the discussions was that all the faiths teach to care for the creation of God regardless of colour, creed, race, religion or political views. And the world needs to focus on projecting and promoting such works for the harmony of the society we live in, instead of spending resources on wars, fights and spreading negativity in the media.
One local church member had a very long and emotional conversation with us in which she expressed solidarity with us. She highly appreciated our ongoing initiative to visit the churches and other places of worship for creating harmony and for promoting peace in society. She also condemned the racism and discriminatory behaviour by the few.
Some of the church members expressed their surprise and delight to see a group of young members of our Jamaat in their church who were spending their time to serve faith. On the other hand, they expressed their deep concerns about the ever-declining youth membership of the church.
In South Australia, it is very difficult to book a stall in the Sunday community markets as most of the markets do not allow political and religious organisations. Even those who allow them, hesitate to provide a stall to Muslim organisations and sometimes they outrightly reject it. During the visit, I asked the Lay Minister if we could use her name as a reference to book a stall in the upcoming Port Broughton community market. Not only did she accept but instead herself booked the stall for us. Alhamdulillah, in this way Allah the Almighty Himself provided another opportunity for us to preach the message of Islam.
Some of the comments of the church members are given below:
Lay Minister Heather Dunstan said:
“It was very comforting to have people from the Muslim community to come and visit us. We were very pleased with them to have a talk with us and talk about where their mosque is. They assured us all that they are a community of peace lovers like us. We would like to send best greetings back to your church and thank you very much that you have blessed our church with your visit today.”
A local church member said:
“It was lovely to see Muslim visitors here with us this morning. It is always nice to meet people from other churches and faiths as we all serve one Lord. Thank you and bless you all.”
Den castle a representative of Mercy Ship said:
“It’s just wonderful that we share the same message of love to our fellow human beings.”