Belgian Ahmadi Muslims call for peace in streets of Turnhout
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Belgium held its third annual Peace Walk on 22 September 2018 which, by the grace of Allah, proved to be a great success.
The Peace Walk was first held in 2016 in the city of Turnhout, Belgium, whilst also being held in 2017. Below is a brief outline of the history of the Peace Walks organised by Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Belgium.
Majlis Ansarullah Belgium was able to hold its very first Peace Walk in the city of Turnhout on 15 October 2016. The success of the Peace Walk had a very positive effect on both the current Mayor of Turnhout, Eric Voc, and the previous Mayor, Francis Stijnen – both of whom appreciated the efforts of the Jamaat for the establishment of peace while expressing their desire to join and further expand such Peace Walks.
More than 300 people participated in the walk consisting mostly of Jamaat members. The route started from the Jamaat Salat centre in Turnhout and ended in the city centre. The city Mayor, a representative of the Catholic Church, and Amir Jamaat Belgium all delivered short addresses when the participants arrived in the city centre. After this, the walk commenced from Turnhout city centre towards the Salat centre. The day’s events concluded with a question and answer session in a large hall followed by dinner.
The following year, another Peace Walk was organised in collaboration with the Turnhout City Council – a proposal was also made to invite various organisations within the city to the event. The date of the walk was set as 18 March 2017 and 9 organisations joined the committee to arrange the Peace Walk. Various meetings were held with the participating organisations to discuss how the Peace Walk could be improved to ensure maximum publicity of the Jamaat. By the grace of Allah, this walk also proved to be very successful.
The Mayor and his predecessor both attended the event along with members of parliament, police and the local television channel who interviewed the Mayor and Amir Jamaat Belgium. During the concluding session of the Peace Walk, Amir Sahib delivered a well-presented address on the topic of Islam is a Religion of Peace in a nearby school hall and was attended by over 500 people.
By the grace of Allah, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Turnhout was able to hold its most recent Peace Walk on 22 September 2018 in collaboration with Turnhout City Council and 12 other organisations including Amnesty international, Hart boven Hard, Stad Turnhout, Bighro, Huis van de mens, Het vredesplatform. For the success of the event, various meetings were held with the council and it was decided that all the participants would walk together throughout the route. It was also decided that the various organisations taking part would put up stalls in the city centre to provide information about themselves.
This Peace Walk was held on 22 September 2018, commencing at 3pm. Jamaat members walked towards the city centre holding various banners, whilst one large banner was held by participants at the very front of the crowd of walkers with a message of peace written across it by the Jamaat.
The walkers arrived at Turnhout city center at approximately 4pm. Thereafter, various organisations gave messages of peace on a stage that was set up by the local council. Ahmadi children also presented the national anthem on stage and in the end, Tauseef Ahmad Sahib, missionary Belgium, thanked all the participants for attending. Fresh baguettes were also offered to those present.
During the event, a documentary was shown at the Jamaat stall which introduced the Jamaat and displayed the efforts of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa in establishing world peace. Further, a tabligh display van was placed next to the Jamaat stall on which a large image of the Promised Messiahas was exhibited.
By the grace of Allah, the event lasted until 6pm and more than 250 non-Ahmadi Belgium nationals participated, including prominent members of the city, all of whom greatly enjoyed the event.