Laiq Ahmed Atif practises what he preaches – Love for All, Hatred for None.
“On my flight to Malta from Germany, I prayed a lot – because Malta was a completely new country for me, I prayed that God gives me courage and wisdom to get to know the Maltese people,” says Laiq Ahmed Atif, 30, from Pakistan.
“As soon as I was out of Malta International Airport, I felt comfortable – I knew that Malta would be my second home.”
Atif has been in Malta for four years and is the president of an organisation called Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta. He is married to Bushra and they have two children – a boy and a girl.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta, with headquarters in the UK, offers solidarity to all peoples from all cultures and religions. The organisation is present in almost 200 countries and has over 160 million members worldwide.
“There are a lot of branches in Islam. In Ahmadiyya, we believe that the Messiah and Mahdi (guide), who according to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would come to reform Islam, has already come.”
The motto of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta is ‘Love for all, hatred for none’.
“When we help people, we help human beings – we don’t look at race, religion or culture,” says Atif. Atif has worked hard to integrate.
“The Maltese people have a kind heart and that helped me integrate fast,” he says. Atif has also learned Maltese. “I wanted to learn the language so that I can act as a bridge for cultural diversity and religious harmony in Malta,” he says.
“I remember how, when Atif first came to Malta, he would read all the papers and watch the news so that he could understand the Maltese culture,” says Justin Schembri, who teaches Atif Maltese. “He wanted to learn about the Maltese culture before he actually started participating.
“When I met Atif, there was a connection between us – we were not just teacher and student, but we also became friends.
“Atif managed to integrate so well in Malta because he is a very friendly and respectful man – he seeks friendship with everyone,” Justin says.
“Integration is very important, especially in our globalised world” says Atif. “We cannot be isolated from others, and we must respect diversity – diversity is what makes the world beautiful.
“As a Muslim, it is my responsibility to love Malta as the country where I live. I do not want to be a burden on this country – rather, I want to be part of it.”