A kaleidoscope of colours, sounds, sights, flavours and fun transformed Canberra when the 2016 National Multicultural Festival (NMCF) unfolded in Canberra city centre from February 12 to 14. Around 280,000 people flocked to the heart of the city to revel in Canberra’s love affair with its cultural diversity. The NMCF is the premier cultural event in Canberra and attracts people from all walks of life. The festival is home to more than 370 stalls comprised of food stalls, Embassies, High Commissions, community and religious groups amongst others.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Canberra held a stall at the annual National Multi-Cultural Festival on 13th & 14th February 2016. This was the 5th year that Canberra Ahmadiyya Muslims participated in the festival. They were also fortunate enough to receive a visit from respected Ameer Sahib (National President) Australia who visited them on Saturday afternoon of 13th February. Members of the MTA Australia team also came and recorded some footage.
The stall consisted of having one of the partition walls from Griffin Centre prayer room spread across the back of the stall. On this wall some visually eye catching posters which were provided to them from Markaz (National Centre) were displayed. The posters highlighted their global spiritual leader Hazrat Khalifatul Masih’s (atba) global efforts for the establishment of peace as well as posters highlighting Australia Ahmadiyya Association’s many community efforts. At the very front of the stall there was a table which was used to display books such as Holy Quran with English translation, Life of Muhammad (saw), World Crisis & Pathway to Peace and various other Ahmadiyya books. Also on display were various pamphlets including all the latest ones provided by Markaz.
Usually at all times there were 2-3 members minding the stall and greeting interested visitors. There were another 3-4 members distributing “Muslims for Loyalty” & “Muslims for Peace” pamphlets at different locations throughout the festival footprint. Some members wore T-shirts bearing “Love for All, Hatred for None” slogans which were appreciated by visitors to the stall as well as people passing by.
Visitors were greeted and after engaging in conversations were welcomed into the stall marquee to view the exhibition. Many interested people took up on this opportunity and a more in depth introduction of Ahmadiyya Islam was given to them. They were given introduction and explanation to Promised Messiah (as) and Khalifatul Massih V (atba). An overview was also given on the continuing peace initiatives undertaken by Khalifatul Massih V (atba) & Ahmadiyya commitment to serve Humanity through various projects & community involvements as shown in the exhibition.
All visitors to the stall were given “Muslims for Loyalty” & “Muslims for Peace” pamphlets with a brief explanation. After assessing their interest, further pamphlets such as “Answering the CRISIS”, “Introduction to Ahmadiyyat” & “Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) Charter of Peace & Freedom” were given. If visitors showed interest in the books, “Life of Muhammad “(saw), and “World Crisis & Pathway to Peace” were offered on a complimentary basis in a specially designed bag with the association’s contact details. An estimated 300-400 people visited the stall.
Across the 2 days many pamphlets & books were distributed. These included:
- Approximately 4000 “Muslims for Loyalty & Muslims for Peace” pamphlets combined
- Approximately 400 other pamphlets combined such as “Answering the CRISIS”
- 15 copies of Holy Quran English Translation sold or given free
- 35 copies of Life of Muhammad (saw) sold or given free
- 40 copies of World Crisis & Pathway to Peace sold or given free
- 10 copies of Philosophy of Teachings of Islam sold or given free
- Other 10 books, various titles
Amongst the visitors to the stall received, were also some invited guests & dignitaries.
- Hon. Andrew Barr ACT Chief Minister. He was received by respected Ameer Sahib and given a tour around the exhibition inside the stall. He was presented with a copy of the Holy Quran with English translation along with Life of Muhammad (saw) and World Crisis & Pathway to Peace. These were given in a specially designed Ahmadiyya branded bag.
Respected Ameer Sahib Australia, President Sahib Canberra, Imam Sahib & Ahmadiyya members with Hon. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr
- Giulia Jones MLA Canberra Liberals. Shadow Minister for Multi-Cultural Affairs, Women & Mental Health. She visited the stall and appreciated Ahmadiyya efforts in the community
- Shane Rattenbury MLA ACT Greens. Minister for Corrections, Education, Justice & Consumer Affairs and Road Safety. He visited the stall on Sunday 14th February and was given a tour of the exhibition. He was very impressed & interested in worldwide Ahmadiyya efforts towards peace as well as efforts made in the local community.
- Representatives from Embassies of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Palestine, Qatar and Iraq also visited the stall.
Visitors to the stall were very impressed with and appreciative of Ahmadiyya effort to spread the message of peace. Some said “Thank you for being here and doing what you are doing” while others were very impressed with the “Love for All, Hatred for None” T-shirts, members wore. One lady commented how “…seeing you all there with your T-shirts with that message, nearly brought a tear to my eye”. One visitor enquired if he could purchase the T-shirt and after finding a spare one it was gifted to him, and he also purchased some books.
One particular visitor named Clint was very impressed with Ahmadiyya efforts in the community. He encouraged us to try and convey this message to more people. He said “More people need to know about the good things you guys are doing”.
Clint was very impressed with Ahmadiyya message of Peace.