Atif Ahmed Zahid, Missionary, Adelaide, Australia
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Adelaide West had the opportunity to hold a Holy Quran exhibition and bookstall at the 144th Millicent Show on 5 and 6 November 2021. Preparations for the programme started a couple of months in advance. A total of ten Jamaat members participated in this tabligh programme.
On 4 November, after Fajr prayer, members of the Jamaat departed on a 450 km journey towards Millicent. On the way to the Millicent, members distributed pamphlets on peace and how to achieve it, in various small towns.
On 5 November, on the first day of the show, members arrived early at the showground to set up the Quran exhibition and bookstall. The exhibition was set up right at the entrance of the showground making it a very prominent stall for all the visitors. At 12 pm, the gates of the showground were opened for the general public. The exhibition attracted an abundance of interest from the public.
During the course of the day, the exhibition and the bookstall were visited frequently by both dignitaries and the general public. Atif Ahmed Zahid Sahib, the Ahmadi missionary led the team in fruitful discussions with visitors on various topics including an introduction to Ahmadiyyat, Islam being a peaceful religion, brotherhood and harmony among different religions, women’s rights in Islam, shariah law and integration etc.
Noteworthy dignitaries attended the stall as well, and amongst them were Honourable Des Noll, Mayor of Millicent. The honourable mayor welcomed the Jamaat members to the show and said that he was very pleased to see the members promoting the message of peace at the show. He spent quite a few hours interacting with us.
Member of Parliament, the Honourable Nick McBride also attended the stall and spent time interacting with us and appreciated Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya’s efforts in promoting peace.
The host of the show took an interview of the missionary on the PA system, in which he gave an introduction of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya and invited everyone to visit the Holy Quran exhibition.
More than 6,000 people from different parts of that region looked at the Quran exhibition and the books. Detailed discussions were held with more than 200 people on various topics related to Islam. They were given Jamaat books to read and contact details were exchanged for future contact. The first day ended at 9 pm.
Day two of the show started at 9 am when the gates were open for the general public. Like day one, day two was also very well attended.
The senior vice president of the Millicent show, Ms Sue Vanderheul visited the stall, interacted with Jamaat members and appreciated our efforts in promoting peace.
She mentioned that it was the first time that any Muslim community organised a Quran exhibition in the show. She further said:
“Thank you for coming here. It’s been an experience that we haven’t had before. And it’s good for everybody to know everybody’s interests and religions and things like that. Knowledge is power, and the more people can get along with everybody else, makes for a better world.”
She was also very impressed with the Jamaat’s motto “Love for all, hatred for none” and said, “If everybody embraces it, there shouldn’t be any hate in the world.”
The Holy Quran exhibition received coverage from the media as well. A regional newspaper The Border Watch with a readership of more than 20,000, published a detailed article about the exhibition and teachings of Islam.
Some of the comments of the visitors are given below:
Mr Matt Bubner, the host of the show, said:
“It’s great to have these guys here today. Promoting peace across the lands and just interacting with the people here and answering questions and dispelling myths all about Islam and explaining what it actually means and not what you see on TV. These guys could not be more lovely, they are awesome, and it is great to have them as part of the Millicent show.”
Mr Patrick, a visitor from nearby town Kingston, said:
“I know Muslims for a very long time. They are very peaceful people. Every religion has bad people but that doesn’t mean all the people are wrong. What you are guys are doing is amazing.”