Mohammad Arsalan, Belgium Correspondent
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Belgium got the opportunity to hold its first virtual Iftar programme on 7 May 2021. As Dutch and French are Belgium’s main languages, the programme was organised in both languages with two separate teams.
The host for the Dutch programme was Nasir Zeervi Sahib. The event started with recitation of the Holy Quran with Dutch translation, followed by an introduction of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya.
The first presentation was given by Shariaar Akbar Sahib, a missionary, on the topic of “Concept of fasting in different religions”.
The second presentation was delivered by Toseef Ahmed Sahib, a missionary, on the topic of “Ramadan and Islam”. After this, the third presentation was delivered by Shaam Qamar Sahib (member of Humanity First on the topic of “Ramadhan and Khidmat-e-Khalq”.
After this guests were invited to ask questions to which Toseef Ahmed Sahib and Shariaar Akbar Sahib answered.
The former mayor of Dilbeek, Mr Stefaan Plateau was also following our programme. After the question and answer session, he was invited to say a few words. He said:
“I was mayor of Dilbeek for about 21 years, and I have seen Ahmadiyya Muslim community starting and growing in Belgium. Ahmadis are very friendly and peaceful people. I have regular contact with the Imam and other members. What I like about your community is the way you have been integrated in our society. You speak very well the local languages; you are also helping local authorities. Today I have learned more about Ramadan in Islam and fasting in different religions. I have read the Bible and also the Quran. There are a lot of similarities. All the big religions have a concept of fasting in their teachings. Christians today have become modern and they are not following this aspect closely. I think it has to do with the advancement of technology. In the end, I want to say that I have a lot of respect for you, your belief and your values. Thank you.”
In the end, Amir Sahib Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Belgium thanked him for his kind words and all the participants for attending the programme.
Before Iftar time, a video clip was shown on how Muslims practice fasting and prayers.
The programme concluded with a silent prayer led by Amir Sahib. In total 335 guests attended the programme, alhamdulillah.
The French programme started with the recitation of the Holy Quran followed by French translation. After which Amir Sahib Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Belgium gave an introduction of the Jamaat.
The first part of the programme was about “The concept of fasting in different religions”, in which religious representatives would present their teachings about fasting. A missionary, Mohammad Arsalan Sahib moderated this section of the programme and invited Mr Hugues Krygier, president of the synagogue of Uccle city. After him, Sisiter Ginette Besse was invited to present the Christian teachings about fasting. Then, Venerable Phra Rajvisuddivides, monk of the Buddhist temple of Waterloo and Brussels, presented the concept of fasting in Buddhism. After him the Baha’i community representative, Mr Jeff Simon presented the concept of fasting. In the end of this interactive session, Mohammad Arsalan Sahib presented the Islamic teachings about fasting.
In the second part of the programme, a presentation was presented by Essan Secundar Sahib, Missionary-in-charge, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Belgium on the topic of the essence of Ramadan and activities of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Belgium.
After these sessions, two video clips were shown to the guests on the humanitarian services of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Belgium and a video clip on how a Muslim spends a day during Ramadan.
At the end, Iftar was done along with the guests.
In total, attendance was 211.
After the meeting, we received many positive comments from participants.
Mrs Fathiya Alami, honorary counsellor Uccle said:
“Salam, it was a very successful programme. We have learnt a lot as we did in each programme organised by your community. I really like the video in which you presented the daily routine and prayers. We pray that Allah gives you success in your noble mission.”
Mrs Julie Delvaux, in-charge of anti-drugs in Brussels said:
“Thanks for your invitation for virtual Iftar. Each time I attend any event of your community or I visit your mosque I learn a lot. What you have done today by bringing different religions on one platform is a true example of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None.’”
Sister Ginette Besse, from Church of Uccle said:
“Thanks for your invitation. It was a great learning experience for me. We have seen that we share the same values and it is possible, to live together in a peaceful world. I was happy to see the support shown by the mayor of Uccle and other religious leaders. Again a very big thank you for your proposal which goes beyond an intellectual approach, a personal interest, to bring together, unite men and women of goodwill.”