Unity Amidst Diversity
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, under the leadership of its holy founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, held its first convention on December 27, 1891 in Qadian, India. Approximately 75 people attended the event. For over a century since then, the Community has held its Annual Convention, or Jalsa Salana, in numerous countries around the world. Tens of thousands of Community members gather at these conventions at various times throughout the year. The principle aims of the Annual Convention are to facilitate greater spiritual awareness among Community members, strengthen ties, and promote peace.
No Ordinary Convention
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadian (Ahmad) claimed to be The Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Ahmad claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus as of Nazareth and the divine guide, whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him).
Visit of the Khalifa
In 2008, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Khalifa and international leader of the Community, visited America for the first time. Addressing a gathering of over 10,000 people, including dignitaries and journalists, His Holiness remarked: "You know your creator when you love his creation. If everyone remembers and practices this, there will not be any enmity in anyone’s heart… That is how you create peace in the world." Over 35 U.S. newspapers covered the historic visit.
In recent years, many prominent leaders have participated in the Annual Convention of the Community in the USA, including: Martha Kanter (U.S. Under Secretary for Education); Farah Pandith (U.S. Secretary of State's Special Representative to Muslim Communities); Tim Lenderking (Director, Office of Pakistan Affairs, U.S. State Department); Victoria Alvarado (Director, Office of International Religious Freedom, U.S. State Department); Kay Bailey Hutchison (U.S. Senator, R-TX); Jim McDermott (U.S. Congressman, D-WA); Sheila Jackson Lee (U.S. Congresswoman, D-TX); Jackie Speier (U.S. Congresswoman, D-CA); Michael Honda (U.S. Congressman, D-CA); Gerry Connolly (U.S. Congressman, D-VA); Mahamoud A. Béchir (Ambassador of Chad to the U.S.); Abbas Faiz (Office of the International Secretariat, Amnesty International); and Joseph K. Grieboski (President of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy). The Community has also partnered with charitable organizations such as the American Red Cross, Ronald McDonald Charities, and Humanity First, USA.