Ata ul Naseer, Missionary Greece
It was Thursday, 7 March 2013 when I first set foot in this beautiful country known to be “heaven on earth” due to its beautiful landscapes, awe-inspiring mountains, golden shorelines and hundreds of islands. Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Greece had been established in 1983 during the time of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV, may Allah have mercy on him; however, a missionary had never been sent to this country.
So, in the 30th year since its establishment, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah strengthen his hand, appointed me as the first missionary to this historic country. I did not know a single word of Greek and I had never visited the country previously, but when I was informed about Huzoor’saa decision, all I felt was an honour that was being bestowed upon me. In the month of March 2013, Huzooraa spoke about this appointment in one of the Waqf-e-Nau classes, that he had appointed a pioneer missionary to Greece.
As a missionary, one of my tasks is to convey the message of Islam as expounded by the Promised Messiah, peace be upon him, to the people of this land. In Greece, generally there is animosity towards Islam due to the historic past of Greece with Turkey. While distributing leaflets in different cities, I have been told to “go back to Turkey”, and at times, community banners have been picked up and thrown onto the ground. Threats and abuse during these leaflet distributions and on social media posts are common.
In Greece, we started distributing peace leaflets on 12 January 2015 in the Parliament Square of Athens. The leaflet was an A5 double-sided sheet, which contained the peaceful teachings of various religions, including Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. We had only printed 75,000 of these leaflets in 2015, but the task was huge and the message was to be conveyed to millions of people living in Greece, in a time when Islamophobia was at its peak.
Every week, several Khuddam and Ansar would go to Parliament Square for leaflet distributions. Some went door-to-door, giving leaflets and conveying New Year’s wishes to the shopkeepers through the streets of Athens. Although it was a great effort by the Khuddam and Ansar, but aft er all, how many people could they approach with these 75,000 leaflets? The population of Greece is over 11 million. We also continued to write letters to Huzooraa for prayers.
I truly believe that it was due to Huzoor’saa prayers that one day, our leaflet was received by a journalist who was against Islam. He wrote an article about the leaflets being distributed in Athens and published it on his website along with pictures of the leaflets, which contained the peaceful teachings of Islam and other religions that we wanted to convey to the people. This article was re-posted by various blogs and websites whose daily visits were over 500,000. So, one leaflet out of those 75,000 published that year conveyed the message to over 500,000 people. All praise belongs to Allah! Now, by the grace of Allah, every year, over 100,000 leaflets are distributed in the country on various topics, and similar events take place which increase the outreach of these leaflets.
During the last six years, these leaflets have been distributed in cities such as Athens, Crete, Thebes, Larissa, Lamia, Katerini, Thessaloniki, Xanthi, Komotini, Alexandroupoli, Didymoteicho, Kavala, Oerstaida and Serres.
In the north, nearly all the villages have been visited, which are highly populated with Turkish-Greek Muslims. As far as other activities of the community are concerned, we have been able to hold five national peace symposia and Holy Quran exhibitions in Athens. A “World Religions Conference & Holy Quran Exhibition” was also organised in Thessaloniki.
Through the use of social media, we have reached millions in nearly all parts of the country and since 2013, around 20 new members have joined the Jamaat, who are from various nationalities. This year, we are expecting over 10 new members who are interested in the Jamaat and will, Insha-Allah, formally take Bai‘at and accept the message of the Promised Messiahas.
We ask the Al Hakam readers to keep this small Jamaat in your prayers so that we can convey the message of the Promised Messiahas to the corners of this country in the best possible manner. The rest is in Allah’s hand, as it is His promise that “it is upon Me to guide.”