Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Georgia (AMAG) attended its first book fair at the 20th Tbilisi International Book Fair from 31 May to 3 June 2018. The BF has been organised by the Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association since 1997, who advised that AMAG were the first Muslim organisation registered for the book fair.
Literature was displayed and distributed in Georgian, Russian, Arabic, Persian, Turkish and English. Given the lack of knowledge on Islam, and to spread the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat, AMAG provided literature free of cost to people who requested it at the stall.
The response from the visitors was remarkable, given the deep Orthodox Christian beliefs in the country. Some salient observations are noted below:
There was a lack of knowledge amongst the visitors on the teachings of Islam
The younger generation had a particular interest in exploring other religions, including Islam
Visitors had a great interest in the Holy Quran and requested copies although the majority were Orthodox Christians
Some notable comments from visitors are cited below:
After reading the addresses of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, a man returned on the last day of the book fair to inform us that he was very impressed by the speeches and that the address was excellent and very courageous. He was particularly impressed how the message was delivered, expressed straight to the point, and on aspects covering protection of a country’s natural resources
During a detailed discussion with one visitor, who was an Orthodox Christian, he politely asked whether it was true that Islam taught that if a Muslim kills a Christian then the Muslim will go to heaven. The true teachings of Islam were conveyed to the visitor and literature given, but it showed the misinformation amongst people
Chairman of the Armenian Association of Georgia, who was a former MP, a former adviser to the President and a journalist, mentioned that he tells Armenians that they should have accepted Islam long-ago due to the values of hygiene presented by Islam
One non-Muslim student said that she “loved Islam” and wanted to learn more
A number of visitors encouraged AMAG to continue the work we were doing, in spreading the teachings of Islam, peace and love
There was a lot of interest in a number of books of the Jamaat.
It is estimated that the event was attended by more than 50,000 people over the four days. Nurym Taibek Sahib from the Russian Language Desk, UK attended the event and assisted in spreading the message to Russian speakers.
All in all, the book fair served as a good platform for AMAG to spread the true message of Islam.