Luqman Mansoor, Tabligh Trip Coordinator, Jamaat Adelaide West
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Adelaide West held a Tabligh and Quran exhibition stall at 145th Millicent Show. The dates of the shows were 4-5 November 2022. The preparations started a couple of months in advance. A team of six members was formed, with dedicated duties assigned to each member.
On the evening of 3 November 2022, the community van was loaded with the required stuff. The tour started on 4 November after the Fajr prayer. After the silent prayer, members were given general instructions for the tour. The contingent travelled together in a community van towards Millicent.
The first stop was at Tailem Bend, where the members had a friendly chat with locals over breakfast. The next stop was Meningie to meet locals and then Kingston, where we stopped for peace pamphlet distribution. Upon reaching Millicent, members set up the stall and then offered Jumuah and Asr prayers in congregation at the AH&P society hall. The gates opened for the general public at 1 pm. The locals greeted our members delightedly and asked questions.
During the course of the day, the stall was visited regularly by both dignitaries and the general public. Atif Ahmad Zahid Sahib, a missionary, was there to lead the team in fruitful discussions with visitors on various topics, including the introduction of Ahmadiyyat, Islam being a peaceful religion, brotherhood and harmony between different religions. Noteworthy dignitaries attended the stall as well and amongst them was Mr Des Noll, Mayor of Millicent. Des welcomed us to the show and said he was very pleased we were there to attend the show; he spent quite a few hours interacting with our team. During his interview, he said:
“Let me take this opportunity to welcome you as a Muslim community to the Millicent community; we are very pleased to have you here. One of the strong things about our community is that it is built on diversity; our community is very proud of the diversity that we have, which creates a solid foundation. We are a very connected community and that’s very important to us, so we’re very pleased to have you here and spend some time with you and learn about your culture.”
On estimate, there were around 350 people who visited the stall. Jamaat literature, including books such as The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, and An Elementary Study of Islam, were gifted to people visiting, along with peace pamphlets and sweets for children. During the course of the day, there were around 3000 visitors attended the show.
Day two started at 9 am when the doors were open for the general public. Like day one, day two was also very well attended. Traditionally, the second day of the show is for the family audience, where a large number of young kids with their parents attend the show. A huge crowd from Millicent, Mount Burr, and Mount Gambier attended the show. People showed keen interest in our stall and it was very busy from the very beginning.
The senior vice president of the Millicent show, Ms Sue Vanderheul, came and visited the stall, interacted with team members and recorded an interview in which she said:
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been here for a few years now, they set up and they’re always very well presented, and everybody comments on how nice and friendly they are and they’re always welcome here.”
Many visitors came and interacted with the team, however, Mr Mori spent considerable time with us and on meeting us, he said:
“I’ve always been interested in different religions and I would like to be able to stop the preconceived idea that all religions are bad or whatever. So, we’ve travelled overseas to many Islamic countries and found them very interesting. They’re just normal people wanting to live normal lives and normal religions. Great people, easy to talk to here, enjoyed talking with and meeting them.”
On the way back, members also visited the towns of Port Macdonnell, Beachport and Naracoorte, and placed some books in the libraries of these towns, which will be a great addition to their collections. The management of the libraries was appreciative of our visiting them.
The event was successful and the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat was conveyed to many new people. Many people visited the stall and were introduced to Islam Ahmadiyyat. New contacts were formed for future propagation and advance booking for the next year’s show was also made.