President Emeritus, H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, delivered a Keynote Opening Speech
Attendance of people from different walks of life Presentation of Donations
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta organised its 3rd Annual Convention on 13th October held at the ‘Ċentru Familja Mqaddsa’ Msida, on the theme of ‘Serving Humanity’. The Ahmadiyya Muslim community annually organises such conventions to promote interfaith harmony, universal brotherhood, and to build bridges between people and to spread the message of love, hope and peace; and to join in supplications for the well-being of the society. Explaining the objectives of this convention the founder of the Ahmadiyya community says: “These meetings will lead to progressive strengthening of a bond of mutual love and affection.’’
Her Excellency, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the President Emeritus of Malta, was the special guest of this convention. Her Excellency delivered a keynote opening speech and congratulated the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for holding this convention and said that:
“Such an occasion is evidence of respect, love and harmony. Promoting these values, of respect, love and harmony, in a world where unfortunately mistrust has become the order of the day, is truly encouraging. It is heartening to note that, such an initiative, as this convention, counters the waves of discord and confusion that seem to unfortunately dominate our human family, nowadays. I truly appreciate such initiatives because they create a balance to the sad mentality that seems to be taking over the minds of some of us. Such a convention gives us hope and lifts our morale over the tragic events of conflict between nations; of violence carried out in the name of religion; and of other forms of violence against humanity.”
Highlighting the beauty and effectiveness of motto of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Her Excellency said that, ‘I must acknowledge the fundamental belief of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community that emphasises the value of ‘Love for all, hatred for none’. I believe that this value should be a guiding light for all of us. This convention attests to this value as it creates an opportunity for us, to come together, irrespective of our diverse faith traditions, in respectful dialogue’.
Her Excellency also acknowledged the vision of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and stated that, ‘I would like to reiterate my thanks to you Imam for your vision and for your genuine endeavours for the common good, in the best interest of our communities and of our one human family’.
The session started with a recitation of the Holy Quran by Yusuf Mohammad Bala. Imam Attaul Wasih Tariq presented the introduction of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and the purpose of the convention. Hon. Ivan Bartolo, Member of Parliament, Ms. Margaret Baldacchino Cefai, the Mayor of Msida, Rev. John Anthony Berry, secretary of the Diocesan Commission for the interreligious dialogue, Rev. Ioan Iftimia from the Romanian Orthodox Church, Mr. Anthony Gatt the Director of Caritas Malta, and Imam Laiq Ahmed Atif, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Malta, delivered their talks at the this convention. All the speakers highlighted the importance of serving humanity and of building bridges between communities through the basic values of compassion, love and respect.
Honourable Ivan Bartolo highlighted that together we can achieve everything and emphasised on the need of harmonies collaboration between all, and said, ‘together we can make it’.
Ms. Margaret Baldacchino Cefai, the Mayor of Msida, stated that: “It is indeed an honour and a pleasure to be once again addressing this annual convention of the Ahmadiyya – an organisation that has garnered a reputation, which is second to none for demonstrating its generosity towards those that need assistance and through its universal message of ‘Love for all, Hatred for none’. The Ahmadiyya is indeed a religious community that reflects values of peace and empathy.”
Mr. Anthony Gatt the Director of Caritas Malta thanked the Ahmadiyya community and said, ‘thank you for this invitation, I too feel very privileged to receive this invitation and to share this culture of peace and love for humanity’. He spoke about the role and services being offered by the Caritas Malta and shared the experience of collaboration with the Ahmadiyya community.
Rev. Ioan Iftimia from the Romanian Orthodox Church thanked the community for the invitation and acknowledged the services of the Ahmadiyya community and spoke about his mission in Malta.
Rev. John Anthony Berry defined ‘service’ in two words: ‘Readiness and attentiveness’. And said that, ‘when dealing with humanity, with human lives, we need to spread love wherever we go’. He concluded with a quotation of Russell Simmons: “Service is the key to everything in life.”
Imam Laiq Ahmed Atif, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta Highlighted the point that, today’s world has become like a global village, as every nation is now inter-connected. As a result, more than ever before, it is the duty of all humankind to foster a spirit of brotherhood and mutual love amongst the people of all nations and of all beliefs. He said that: “Serving humanity is a hallmark of Islam. The entire Islamic teachings are based upon two fundamental principles of, rights of God and rights of humanity. Thus, we are taught that the worship of God and kindness to the creation cannot be separated from each other.”
He presented references from the Holy Quran and the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, in connection with serving humanity. He presented the Quranic verses that highlight the qualities of virtuous and the true servants of God. “And they feed, for love of Him, the poor, the orphan, and the prisoner, Saying, ‘We feed you for Allah’s pleasure only. We desire no reward, nor thanks from you.” (76:9-10)
He explained that, ‘it is this mother-like spirit of selflessness, compassion, kindness, sincerity and devotion, without seeking any praise or reward, that Islam requires Muslims to develop in their hearts for all of humanity and not just their own progeny’.
He concluded: “I pray that a spirit of service to humanity takes permanent root in society, so that we protect our future and leave behind a better world for our children and coming generations to live in.”
Keeping in view the theme of the convention, that is “Serving Humanity”, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, was pleased to present five wheelchairs to Her Excellency, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, for the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, to which Her Excellency is the Chair; food vouchers for the needy people; 100 books to the Caritas Malta; fifty plants to Msida Primary School; citrus and olive trees which will be planted in the Gzira School; and a podium for the ‘Ċentru Familja Mqaddsa’ Msida.
People from different walks of life attended this convention. After the speeches traditional food was served and participants had more time to interact with each other.