Syed Abdus Samad, Secretary Ishaat, Finland
Helsinki book fair is one of the biggest book fairs in Finland. This 4-day book fair is organised every year in the last week of October. This year, around 80,000 people visited the book fair and 313 exhibitors and more than 1600 journalist participated in the book fair.
Like previous years, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Finland also participated in the book fair by arranging a book stall through the department of Ishaat.
Many books of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, his Khulafa and Quran translations were displayed at the book stall and people were invited to ask questions about Islam and Ahmadiyyat. Free copies of the Holy Quran, Life of Muhammad and World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace were distributed among interested visitors. Alongside discussions, Khuddam and Ansar also distributed leaflets to visitors.
Visitors were interested in a wide range of topics, for example, the existence of God, the status of women in Islam, freedom, equality, Jihad and true Islamic Caliphate.
After discussions, many visitors appreciated our efforts and proclaimed that their views on Islam and its teachings had changed.
One lady, a press reporter from Spain who visited our stall, asked about Ahmadiyyat. We gave her a brief introduction about the Promised Messiahas and his mission.
She was also told about Khilafat and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih’saa efforts towards establishing peace.
She was then told about Humanity First and the recent inauguration of Nasir Hospital in Guatemala by Huzooraa. As she already knew about Humanity First, we told her that Humanity First was directly working under the instructions of Khalifatul Masih. She was very impressed and asked for a copy of World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace. She told us that her viewers would be very interested in the book.
Another man visited our stall and asked about the community and the status of women in Islam. We explained the high status that Islam had given to women by narrating Ahadith showing the importance of mothers, wives and daughters.
He then asked if it was necessary for women to wear the burqa (a type of hijab women wear in South Asian countries). We explained to him the purpose behind the hijab and why women are told to cover themselves in the Holy Quran. He was also told that the way women wear the hijab varies from country to country, and the burqa in particular was more cultural and related to South Asia.
A person who is a teacher and teaches people in prison said:
“My dream is for all the religions to come together and discuss differences instead of violent actions, and your community is taking steps in the right direction.”
In addition to discussions at the stall, Khuddam and Ansar continued to distribute brochures outside the book fair in very cold weather conditions. This year, around 20,000 received the message of Islam and Ahmadiyyat through this book fair.