Mohammad Atae Rabbi Hadi, Missionary, Australia
On 12 February 2022, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Queensland held a Quran Exhibition to promote the peaceful teachings of Islam and educate Australians about the Holy Quran and its teachings in Toowoomba Queensland, Australia.
Toowoomba is one of the largest inland cities in Queensland, (second largest after Canberra, Australia’s capital city), and is situated 125km west of Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, with an estimated population of 169,000.
This city was chosen for this exhibition not just due to its national significance but also because there is a strong inter-faith community, and it is also considered part of “Queensland’s Bible Belt” due to the high concentration of Christian residents in the area.
Preparations started a month before the event which included getting the material of the Quran Exhibition printed, which covers the history of the Holy Quran, its teachings, and their significance.
A day before the event, a volunteer prepared sandbags and collected all equipment at the Baitul Masroor Mosque. At the same time, three volunteers loaded all other equipment and exhibition content into the van from the Mubarak Mosque, which is close (approx. 10 km away) to Brisbane’s CBD, before driving to the Baitul Masroor Mosque and loading everything as the plan was to leave earlier the next day.
After offering the Fajr prayer at the Baitul Masroor Mosque on 12 February 2022, three volunteers left for Toowoomba and arrived at the site for the exhibition around 7:30 am. Other volunteers arrived at various times during the day with five local volunteers staying with us throughout the day.
Located on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, which runs roughly parallel to the east coast of Australia, Toowoomba is at an altitude of 691m and is full of green and beautiful spaces. One of these is called Village Green on Ruthven Street in the heart of the city and is right next to Toowoomba Library, the City Hall and Art Gallery. Toowoomba regional council gave us the approval to use the space for our exhibition. Being outdoor has its own challenges, especially in a city where it often rains, but it also brought great visibility which is not possible indoors.
On arrival at the site, we were greeted by a more beautiful spot than we ever imagined, the flower beds with hundreds of flowers in the middle of the area and the beautiful wall with vines on the side presented quite a beautiful picture. The exhibition was set up on one side of the space with the flowers running in parallel in the middle.
Two banners were placed next to the street for visibility to any passers-by, therefore becoming a source of tabligh for thousands of people who went past. One of these was for the Quran Exhibition and the other banner was “Messiah Has Come”. Having this banner on display in the middle of the city right next to a major thoroughfare was very empowering and a true blessing of Allah.
Twelve copies of the Holy Quran in multiple translations were selected based on the popular languages of Toowoomba residents and were displayed on stands with name tags. Moreover, two books, The Philosophy of Teachings of Islam, and The Great Western Revival, were also put on display along with posters for each book introducing them to the public. The books were arranged in the middle of the exhibition space.
The event was promoted on Facebook and Instagram through multiple accounts of the community. 17 people attended our exhibition, asked us different questions, and took their time going through all the content on display. The Chair of Toowoomba Inter-faith as well the Coordinator of the Multi-Faith & Intercultural Dialogue Centre in Caboolture, (who drove 3 hours to attend), also came to view the exhibition and attend a meeting with the Ahmadi missionary.
A common thing observed in the visitors who attended the two exhibitions which were organised by the Queensland Jamaat this year was the amount of time they gave us and how much they learned about Islam, the Holy Quran, and its peaceful teachings.