Thousands of young British Muslim men have gathered in the Surrey countryside to rally against ISIS and radical Islam.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) is holding an Ijtema, an Arabic word which means gathering, and calling on the young Muslim men of Great Britain to pledge loyalty to the Nation.
The three-day residential event has brought together 5,000 young British Muslim men from England, Scotland and Wales, to foster bonds of brotherhood and affirm their pride in being British AND Muslim.
A central feature of the gathering is the pledge of allegiance which includes a promise to serve and protect Great Britain. This is demonstrated with a daily flag hoisting of the Union Jack followed by a prayer from all present.
2014 is the Centenary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the UK and the Caliph, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, spiritual leader to tens of millions of Muslims across the world, will be in attendance.
The Caliph, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, said:
“Britain has provided a home for people from across the world. As Ahmadi Muslims, we give thanks to Queen and Country for allowing us to practice our faith freely. Islam teaches us to be loyal to the country in which we reside and as Ahmadi Muslims we believe it is our duty to serve the country, to contribute to society and promote peace and good citizenship.
“When we say Islam means peace, we practice that very fact and demonstrate it with our actions. Our ethos is Love for All, Hatred for None.”
Participants have travelled from 107 branches of the AMYA, from Aberdeen to Brighton. Also present will be the members of the British Armed Forces, Police, Fire Brigade, and Ambulance Service.
Adam Walker, spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Associations said:
“ISIS represents an abhorrent manipulation of Islam and we are here to say loud and clear – NO TO EXTREMISM.
“ISIS has hijacked Jihad to inflict inhumane and barbaric atrocities in the world. The true Jihad taught by the Prophet Muhammad calls on people to reform themselves in order to become positive members of society.
“While a small number of misguided British fanatics are fighting in Iraq and Syria, thousands of proud British Muslims are here, raising the flag of tolerance, equality, peace and mutual respect – these are ‘British values’ but they are equally ‘Muslim values’.”
Activities at the gathering will include:
• An address by the Caliph of Islam, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad
• Communal prayers attended by all 5,000 participants
• Flag hoisting of the Union Jack
• Pledge of allegiance during plenary sessions by all 5,000 participants
• Banquet dinner for all participants on Saturday evening
• Sports competitions including football, cricket, weight lifting and tug-of-war
• Academic competitions including recitation of the Holy Qur’an, poetry and prepared speech
• Screening of World Cup games
• Interactive discussion forums
The AMYA has for decades mentored tens of thousands of practising young British Muslims and instilled in them the understanding that peace, respect and tolerance are values shared by both their religion and nation. As a result, AMYA members have always rejected extremism, contributed tirelessly towards British society and have been commended by every part of society for their work.