On 11 July 2012, the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Fifth Khalifa, officially inaugurated the ‘Tahir Hall’, a three-storey complex built by the Jamaat on land adjacent to the Baitul Islam Mosque in Peace Village. More than 550 people attended the event including more than 150 non-Ahmadi guests.
The event began as Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad unveiled a plaque to officially mark the occasion. This was followed by a welcome address by Lal Khan Malik, the President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in Canada and the remarks of various guest dignitaries.
The highlight of the evening was the keynote address given by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad in which he expressed his great admiration for Canada and its spirit of openness and tolerance. He also used his address to warn about the dangers of extremism penetrating Western society.
In his welcome address, Lal Khan Malik, gave a brief history of the Tahir Hall project. He informed that the building was multipurpose and would be used to educate, to encourage health and fitness and also for administrative purposes. He stated that all of the money for the project had been raised internally by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat.
The audience was also informed that the building had been named after Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the Fourth Khalifa, who led the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat from 1982 until his demise in April 2003.
Minister Julian Fantino MP said he brought greetings from Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He added:
“The inauguration of Tahir Hall represents yet another milestone resulting from your outstanding commitment to strengthening our community. This auspicious occasion is highlighted by the presence of His Holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Community.”
The interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Bob Rae MP, said:
“It is a great pleasure and privilege to attend the event and to have Hadhrat Mirza Masroor with us in Canada. We celebrate the commitment of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat towards mutual understanding, love and religious tolerance. We are very proud of our relationship with the Community and we will always stand up for its members who are denied their rights.”
Kyle Seeback MP said that the Jamaat was a ‘model and beacon for all Canadians’. Judy Sgro MP said it was a ‘truly special day’. She added that the building was a source of pride for all.
Dr. Kirsty Duncan MP said that the Tahir Hall was ‘a gift to the community and to Canada’. She added that she had attended the Annual Convention a few days earlier and had been ‘truly inspired by His Holiness, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad’.
Others to take the stage and congratulate the Jamaat included Linda Jeffrey MPP, Eric Joliffe, Chief of York Regional Police, Councillor Marilyn Iafrate and Doug White, the Mayor of Bradford.
The Mayor of Vaughan, Maurizio Bevilacqua, introduced Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad and invited him to deliver the keynote address.
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad used his address to speak about the high levels of tolerance manifest by the Canadian people.
His Holiness said:
“Canada is a vast country, spread far and wide and in the same way the levels of tolerance and mutual respect displayed by the Canadian people is vast and truly exemplary. It was in view of such a harmonious society that my predecessor, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ra), the fourth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Community, stated in admiration of Canada, that he wished that ‘the whole world becomes Canada and Canada becomes the whole world’.”
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued by stating that he had always been afforded a kind welcome whenever he had visited Canada.
His Holiness said:
“I recall that when I first came to Canada in 2004, upon arriving at the airport there were many politicians and people associated with the Government who were present to welcome me to the country. When I saw this, I was extremely pleased but also quite astonished. It felt as though I had come back to my own country and it was my own brothers and sisters who were there to greet me.”
The Khalifa concluded by speaking about the perils of all forms of extremism.
He said that extremists were taking advantage of liberal immigration laws to enter certain countries and were thus there was a real threat that their hate-filled ideologies would penetrate Western countries such as Canada. Thus he urged the Government and Authorities to take serious notice of this risk.
His Holiness said:
“For “the entire world to become Canada” we must keep a vigilant eye on all forms of extremism and extremists. A close eye must be kept on those who try to enter the country on the pretext of business or investment… No doubt the eyes and glances of those who hold extremist ideologies are cast upon this country. It is not necessary that they will conduct a large scale terrorist attack, but instead they may take a more subtle approach, whereby they will seek to gradually spread their hate-filled ideologies upon entering the country.”