On 23 November 2013, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Algeria, Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda with an event organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Pan-African Association.
Dignitaries and guests representing a number of African countries attended the function at Baitul Futuh Mosque in South West London.
The highlight of the event was the keynote address given by the Khalifa and World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. During his address, His Holiness appealed for the true independence of all nations and called for all people to be granted self-determination. His Holiness spoke of Africa’s rich potential and said it could only be realised if its people became united and put aside all personal interests. His Holiness also warned against the further spread of terrorism in the region.
The Khalifa began his address by explaining that Islam was against all forms of slavery and oppression.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“True Muslims and Muslim Governments should always promote independence and help others gain freedom – whether it is personal independence or whether it is national independence.”
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:
“Based upon Islam’s true teachings, we (Ahmadi Muslims) strive and work towards the achievement of universal independence and self-determination, with the ambition that every single person in the world is able to live autonomously. All people should have fundamental freedoms, such as religious, political, national and civil freedom.”
The Khalifa said that even in the modern world slavery continued as powerful nations preyed on the weaknesses of the less powerful.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“The powerful nations take advantage of the weaker nations and dictate their own preferred policies and so in this way they have practically enslaved the developing countries. Sadly, the major powers take benefit and advantage of the natural resources of the poorer nations and do not give what is the due right of the weaker nations in return.”
The Khalifa spoke of the importance of national unity and placing national interests ahead of any personal interest. He gave the example of the recent financial crisis in the United States, where despite strong disagreements the Republican and Democrat Parties were able to reach a last minute budget deal for the sake of the country.
Continuing, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“We should always make sure that our differences, our personal egos and party interests are set aside for the greater good and rather we must prioritise national progress. When we think and act in this way our differences will not be a means of impairment but will actually play a positive role in our nation’s future well-being and development.”
Later, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad spoke of his concerns over the spread of terrorism and extremism in Africa. He said that if extremist elements were able to “spread their networks of hatred” it would cause for all progress and development to cease.
Turning to Africa’s future, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad spoke with hope and expectation.
His Holiness said:
“Africa, with the Grace of Allah, has the ability to lead and guide the world. But you need to work hard and stay united to realise this potential, so that instead of succumbing to enslavement, you are those who stand at the forefront of the world.”
Concluding, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“It is my prayer that may Allah enable all African countries – their people and their governments – to understand the true benefits of living together in peace, harmony and unity. It is my prayer that they all realise that prioritising their national interests above their personal interests are the golden keys that unlock the gates to permanent freedom and success.”
Earlier in the evening, His Holiness held a meeting with dignitaries including the Uganda High Commissioner, Her Excellency Prof Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda and Ghana’s Leader of the Opposition, Hon Nana Akufo-Addo.