Zoha Zahoor, Lajna Imaillah Toronto, Canada
Lajna Imaillah Toronto Region organised an interfaith symposium on 30 April 2023, at the Baitul Afiyat Mosque in Scarborough, Ontario. The symposium’s theme was “How practising my religion makes this world a better place”, reports the regional general secretary, Tooba Zahid Sahiba.
This event marked the first large-scale in-person event hosted by Lajna Imaillah Toronto following the Covid-19 pandemic. The event witnessed a gathering of 40 non-Ahmadi female guests, including prominent parliamentarians, revered faith leaders, and dignitaries. Amatul Salam Malik Sahiba, Sadr Lajna Imaillah Canada, and her amila members were also in attendance.
The event commenced with the recitation from the Holy Quran, followed by a captivating video about the blessed institution of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya and the international bai‘at ceremony.
The host, Zenab Amatullah Sahiba, then proceeded to deliver an introductory speech and express her gratitude to the guest speakers. The symposium featured four speakers, each offering a unique perspective on the central theme.
The first speaker for the afternoon was Jigna Chheda, who represented Jainism and has served the Jain Society of Toronto in various capacities and is currently its vice president. The next speaker was Pastor Angela De Caro, who represented Christianity. She is an assistant pastor at Maple Community Church. The next guest speaker, Rabbi Jennifer Gorman, represented Judaism. She is currently serving as the national director of outreach and programming for the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee. I had the honour of delivering the final speech, in which I highlighted the Islamic principles of humanity, justice, and equality.
Following these speeches, the attendees acknowledged and praised the efforts and positive impacts of all the speakers.
Salma Zahid Sahiba, Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre, stated:
“I want to congratulate the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association on 100 years of service. What brings us together is the desire to build a better country and community where people can live in peace and harmony. The walls of hatred among us can only be broken when we have this interfaith dialogue.”
Amatul Salam Malik Sahiba, Sadr Lajna Imaillah Canada, gave her concluding remarks, in which she thanked all guest speakers, dignitaries, and attendees for attending the event:
“By the grace of God Almighty, we are celebrating 100 years of the establishment of Lajna Imaillah. Ahmadi Muslim women are guided by our worldwide leader, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, who encourages us to seek higher education, pursue careers that benefit the community and be caretakers of children and the society at large,”
The attendees also participated in a question-and-answer session where the guest speakers had the opportunity to engage in a healthy discussion.
The exhibition at this year’s event featured a notable presentation of the Holy Quran, accompanied by translations available in over 70 languages. Additionally, Lajna Imaillah Toronto presented an impressive array of handcrafted paintings, calligraphy, and decorations, each crafted to commemorate the momentous occasion of the completion of 100 years since Lajna Imaillah’s establishment. The exhibition was prepared and hosted by Anisa Zahid Sahiba and Fatima Amatullah Sahiba. The event was covered by MTA International Canada.
The symposium concluded with silent prayer, uniting the 122 attendees in a collective moment of reflection and spirituality.