Ladies and gentlemen, a very warm welcome this afternoon here.
We will now start with our programme with the recitation of the Holy Qur’an.
This will be followed by the English translation.
I will invite Mr Ataul Qayyum Arif Sahib to please come.
[Arabic, Holy Qur'an 2:128-130]
The English translation of these verses are as follows:
“In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
“And remember the time when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundation of the house, praying,
‘Our Lord, accept this from us for Thou art All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
‘Our Lord, make us submissive to Thee, and make of our offspring a people submissive to Thee.
‘And show us our ways of worship, and turn to us with Mercy;
‘for Thou art Oft-Returning with compassion and Merciful.
‘And, our Lord, raise up among them a Messenger from among themselves,
‘who may recite to them Thy Signs and teach them the Book and Wisdom
‘and may purify them; surely, thou art the Mighty, the Wise.”
Peace be upon you, Huzoor. We have here a few guest speakers.
They are from the local city council members.
With the permission of his Holiness, I would first invite Mr Ton van den Berg.
Mr. Ton van der Berg is the member of the Almere City Council, representing the Socialist Party.
He has passion to work for the residents of Almere City
and working hard on city development projects,
especially he is striving hard to create more homes for people with less income.
May I request Ton von den Berg to please come and say a few words.
The English translation of the words just said by Mr. Ton van den Berg is,
“His Holiness, the Caliph of peace and harmony.
“First of all, my warmest greetings
“and I welcome you in one of the most attracting city of the Netherlands.
“On behalf of our party, the Socialist Party, I also cordially welcome
“the other members of your community who have gathered here today
“from other parts of this country and from other countries around.
“I also wish to extend my greetings to my fellow Councillors, who have gathered here today.
“His Holiness, it is my understanding that this is your second visit to this place
“as you have been here in October 2015, when you laid the foundation stone of this mosque.
“His Holiness, I congratulate you for adding this beautiful project in this wonderful city.
“The Ahmadis are peace-loving, law-abiding citizens.
“Although they are suffering a lot of stresses and strains in most of the Muslim countries
“but with your motto, ‘Love for All and Hatred for None’,
“you will ultimately be able to remove the harshness and hatred from the world.
“I once again thank you, Your Holiness, for being here
“and wish you a pleasant stay in the Netherlands.”
Huzoor, our next speaker is Mr. René Eekhuis.
He is the Chairman of the party in Almere City Council.
Mr Eekhuis belongs to the political party, Respect Almere.
He has been to this mosque a few months ago.
That visit has now developed into a very good friendship between him,
his party and the Ahmadiyya Community here in Almere.
May I request Mr. Eekhuis to please come and say a few words.
Good evening. Peace be upon you all.
Our political party, Respect, is based on the ideas of (Dutch).
Freedom of religion is for everyone. This means, also for Muslims.
There is also a mosque in Almere who are learning children hate.
Respect wants to shut down this mosque.
We received an invitation to meeting your mosque a few months ago. We accepted.
We visit your mosque, together with the chairman of Respect, Gerdwin Lammers
and accepted to the (Dutch)
This is not easy to translate so I am going not to try but will like to praise it very much.
There is a sequence in Respect for anyone who wants to be part of the Dutch community,
has to show respect and this is what Imam Siddiqui is doing.
Respect has also shown respect request about shoes.
Respect thinks there could be more understanding about shaking hands.
When there is more explaining about this issue, there could be more understanding.
We met an Imam which is open for dialogue
and that is why there is welcome for the Ahmadiyya Community in Almere.
Love for everyone, hate for no-one;
Respect thinks that is very good attitude and we congratulate you with Almere mosque. Thank you.
Gods Pure One, Victory to God.
On behalf of the Netherlands Sikh Community,
I would like to congratulate you all for this holy day,
because I know you people for a very long time.
I have been to Qadian also and the honour and respect which I have
received from your headquarter and I have seen people also working here
for the Ahmadi Community, they are working very hard.
They are doing translations of Qur'an
and they are giving the message of Allah, God, to the humanity.
Love for peace, Hatred for none, and respect for every religion and every individual.
So I have a lot of respect for your Community and you are here in Almere,
here in Holland and from the deep of my heart, I again congratulate you all
and I have deep respect for Hazrat Sahib, his Highness, who has come all the way from England
and I have the honour to meet him a couple of times here,
and Mr Bommel from our Socialist Party and many other Councillors and MPs.
And so, I am very happy today to see a new mosque here in Almere and our Sikh community
who believe in inter-religion and we have many conference in Amsterdam where we have invited
your community and they have told us many things we did not know and mutual understanding
and when we came to know you believe in one God, one Allah and He is the Creator
and there is no caste system, and there is love for equality for everybody,
and this has given us a lot of respect and from the Sikh Community,
we congratulate you again. Thank you very much.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I regret that I just missed out one speech here,
and that was the head of our national Community in Holland, Mr. Hibatunnoer Verhagen,
he will give a short introduction of the Community here.
I would humbly ask our National President to come and say a few words.
In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
Peace and blessings of Allah be on you all.
Most respected and beloved, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih,
may Allah continue to increase the shower of His blessings upon your Holiness.
All praise belongs to Allah.
It is the great blessings of the Almighty Allah,
to welcome your Holiness on the inauguration program of the Baitul Afiyat Mosque.
Also, heartily we welcome the respected guest speakers and all other respected guests.
On this occasion it is proper to be grateful also, in general, to the government,
and councils who allowed us to practise and propagate freely our faith,
and all the faiths, in fact, and for protecting that right.
Recalling briefly our history,
after Jama’at Ahmadiyya built the first Mosque in London in 1924,
in 1926, in Amsterdam, a centre was opened and literature was published.
The centre was shifted to The Hague, where the first Missionary was posted in 1947.
In 1953, the Holy Qur'an was translated into Dutch.
In 1955, the Khalifatul Masih II (ra), visited and prayed in the Mubarak Mosque,
which was still under construction.
The first Baia’t and the opening ceremony and inauguration was done in the end of December 1955,
by respected Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, President of the International Court of Justice -
who was also a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community,
and he was a companion of the founder - Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as).
The Mubarak mosque here became historically the first mosque of Holland,
built by the contributions of ladies only.
The mosque was extended to over double its size in 1998.
In 1985, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) opened a community centre in Bait-un Noor
containing now also a mosque.
In 2008, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih (aba), the Fifth Caliph, now present among us,
your Holiness opened the community centre, Baitul Mahmood in Amsterdam.
It was during the celebration of 100 years existence of Khilafat.
Now we come to the Baitul Afiyat mosque.
It was development started in 2006, where your Holiness laid the first stone in 2015
and now has inaugurated it by praying in it.
It is also proper to welcome and remember and thank on this occasion the architect, Mr Farhan;
the constructor Mr Farule.
Community volunteers played a large part.
IAAAE, the International Association of Ahmadi Architects and Engineers - present among us;
and the teams of our present President of this Baitul Afiyat mosque, Hanif Handrick.
He had a team which worked very hard with other teams.
His whole team; the teams of Hanif Sahib, Kashif Sahib, Yamin Sahib, Samar Sahib,
and from Germany and Belgium are also here.
They are all here I think. From Belgium, I forgot his name at the moment.
The Central Mosque Committee, chaired by Abdul Hameed Sahib.
The Fundraising Committee, chaired by Basit Sahib.
and of course all the contributors; men, women and children, the whole community.
Since years they are doing, and they must be remembered and be thanked on this occasion.
The volunteers we just mentioned, they spent 6500 hours without recompensation.
And there are numbers of other workers; they are still around, they built up,
set up this whole location and they will also after the inauguration will break it down.
There is a large number. So my humble request is to your Holiness, I request for the prayers
for all of them I mentioned who have been involved and remember them and their families.
JazakAllah. Thank you very much. JazakAllah.
Huzoor, our next eminent speaker is Jerzy Soetekouw.
He’s a Dutch politician for PvdA - that is the Labour party.
Since March 2018, he has been alderman for the social domain, diversity and inclusion in Almere.
He is also deputy Mayor. Before this period, he served as councillor on behalf of his party
for a couple of years. I would request Mr. Soetekouw to come and say a few words.
Good afternoon. Welcome, and it’s a great honour to be here in front of you.
Thank you so much all of you for being here and coming here to
celebrate the opening of the new Mosque.
And first of all, peace be upon you.
Very great to be here in the newest town of Holland.
As some of you probably already know, this town is only 42 years old.
So this is new land that we’re standing on. It’s a new city here, the newest city in Holland.
And in 42 years, we have grown from 0 citizens until 210,000 inhabitants.
People from all over the world, from all kinds of religions came to Almere, to this wonderful place.
And now we celebrate here diversity in one of the most diverse cities in the world.
Today we celebrate the coming together of more than 140 nationalities,
more than 119 ethnicities, and there is a great richdom in all the diversity.
And today we celebrate that again by welcoming the Ahmadiyya Community here in Almere.
In Almere we see diversity as a great richdom, there lies a great power within
the differences between people, the connections between people.
By coming together, we can inspire each other, we can learn new things from each other.
And with this new mosque, I like the proposal,
I love the proposal; love for everybody, hate for no one.
We welcome a new community that celebrates the peaceful
thoughts of coming together here in our city.
And as the Deputy Mayor, and as the alderman responsible for the social domain,
responsible for diversity and inclusion, I would like to celebrate the diversity.
And if we can really celebrate diversity, we have a couple of duties.
A couple of duties to fulfil. First of all, the basic foundation for every citizen
in this wonderful city of Almere should be the same.
In Almere, you are free to believe in what you want, to be who you want -
and we need to respect each other in that.
That is my task for the municipality, but that is also our task as a community,
not only within each other’s community but also to the rest of our cities.
So first of all I would like to ask you to stay in touch with the rest of the community.
The rest of the city of Almere and when I look into this room,
I can see already the new connections starting to rise - that’s wonderful.
Second of all, we can only be free if our basic human rights are respected for everybody,
everybody is allowed and can feel safe in our city.
As you see also the police is represented here, I’m represented here as the Vice Mayor.
Here in Almere no matter what religion you are, no matter what you believe in,
you can always count on the support of the local authorities. That needs to be really clear,
you can always count on the local support of the local authorities.
Third of all and there’s a great start, we would like to get inspired very much
by your community because as I said we are a city of newcomers
everybody came here to the new lands and we are building a whole new community together.
We have a unique proposition here in the city of Almere because we are the only city
here in Europe that has the proposition of being a city of newcomers
and this is the first generation of born people in Almere,
this is the first generation that can set a new identity for the city of Almere.
In a city with so little history we write history every day and today we write history
again with the opening of this new mosque and this is the first day of integrating
the Ahmadiyya community into the rest of the Almere community.
So I hope to get enlightened, I hope to get enriched and most of all I hope to get inspired
by you as a community and I don’t say this only as deputy Mayor but I also say this
as a child of this city, as a man from Almere and I wish you as a community
and I wish the rest of Almere a lot of meaningful connections and a lot of inspiration.
God bless you all, have a wonderful evening
and lets start today with celebrating to be together in this wonderful city.
Thank you so much and it was and it is a great honour
to be here with you at the opening of this mosque. Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, our keynote speaker today
is his Holiness Hazrat Khalifatul Masih the V (aba).
Huzoor has been moving around the whole of the world for the propagation of
peace and harmony and with Huzoor’s permission I ask Hazrat Khalifatul Masih (aba) to address us.
I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah.
He is alone and has no partner.
And I bear witness that Muhammad (saw) is His Servant and Messenger.
After this I seek refuge with Allah from Saturn the accursed.
In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
All the distinguished guests, peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
First of all, I would like to thank all of you for accepting our invitation
and joining us at the opening of our new mosque here in Almere.
In today’s world, many people living in the Western world,
harbour suspicions about Islam and Muslims.
In fact, it is no exaggeration to suggest
that many people fear the religion of Islam and its followers.
Hence, the fact that you have accepted our invitation proves that you are open-hearted people
and aspire to forge bonds of friendship between the people of different communities and beliefs.
It illustrates your desire for interfaith dialogues, and shows,
you recognise the importance of upholding the human values.
I sincerely appreciate your gesture
and I assure you that our faith teaches us that religion is a matter of the heart
and it is for each individual to determine his or her own path - free from any form of coercion.
In this regard, the Holy Qur’an explicitly
states that there should be no compulsion in matters of religion.
The inauguration of a mosque is purely an Islamic function.
And it will be of no surprise to you, that we Ahmadi Muslims,
have an emotional connection and deep affiliation to our mosques.
Consequently, it is a cause of sincere joy and profound emotion for us
that Allah the Almighty has enabled us to build this mosque here in the city;
where we can join together for the worship of the One God in the way that he has taught us.
However, all of you who are our guests have no such emotional bond to this mosque, but,
have still made the effort to participate in today’s event and this proves that you are kind,
generous and tolerant people.
In addition, it shows that to increase your knowledge about Islam,
and learn about the objectives and reasons for which we have built this mosque.
For this I also commend you because taking the time to learn about the faith
and beliefs of others is a crucial way of knocking down the barriers that divide us.
And exposing those myths that often cultivate unnecessary anxiety and trepidation.
Certainly, it is a call of extreme regret to me, and to all peace loving Muslims,
that in non-Muslim countries there is widespread fear of Islam
and many people believe that Muslims and mosques are good for nothing
apart from causing problems and undermining the peace and security of society.
However, the reality is the opposite.
And so, to elevate any apprehension that may exist amongst the local community,
I shall now briefly mention the core purposes of mosques
so that you can all better understand what this new mosque presents.
The primary objective of a mosque is the worship of the One God
and so mosques are a place where Muslims join together to bow down
and prostrate before God Almighty.
The second crucial purpose of a mosque
is to be a place for Muslims to strengthen their mutual relations
and to develop unity among Community members.
The third pivotal objective for any mosque
is to be a means of introducing non-Muslims to the teachings of Islam,
and to fulfil the rights of the wider society.
It is to provide a platform and venue
from which Muslims can join together to fulfil the rights of their neighbours
and the wider society; regardless of creed, caste or colour. Let it be clear,
that any mosque which does not serve as a beacon of peace and sympathy for mankind
and from where neither the rights of God Almighty, or His creation are fulfilled,
is nothing but a hollow and empty shell.
Even a cursory glance, of Islamic history proves to be true.
During the time of the Holy Prophet (saw) a so called mosque was erected
with the intention of causing mischief and sowing seeds of division within society.
It was built to ignite the flames of hatred amongst Muslims
and also to trigger hostilities between Muslims, and other communities,
notably the Jewish community.
As a result,
it is recording in the Holy Qur’an that Allah the Almighty instructed the Holy Prophet (saw),
to demolish the mosque because it had been built with ill intent;
therefore, the mosque was razed to ground.
As I said, this incident has been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an,
and so will forever serve as a solemn warning and reminder for Muslims.
It illustrates that if a mosque does not serve as a centre of peace,
where people join to fulfil the right of fellow beings,
and instead serves as a breeding ground for extremism or inciting dissent,
it can never fulfil its real purpose or be deemed a true mosque.
A mosque's objectives can only be fulfilled
when the worshippers enter the mosque with a firm intention to worship Allah the Almighty
and to work with the betterment of humanity.
And a mosque's purpose can only be fulfilled
when the worshippers are infused with a spirit of selflessness,
humility and true sympathy and love for all mankind.
Another thing I wish to make clear is that
a mosque is a purely religious and spiritual house of worship
and should remain free from materialism
and clear of anything through which the peace of society is jeopardised.
All such activities are utterly prohibited by Islam,
and the founder of Islam (saw) expressed hatred for such things.
It is only permitted to hold those events or gatherings within mosques
that encourage worship of the One God or which peacefully convey Islam's teachings
or which serve to fulfil the needs of humanity.
Thus, when we build mosques,
where we join together for the worship of God Almighty five times a day
and where we hold religious events to enhance our moral and spiritual development;
we also hold regular events and establish schemes to serve our neighbours and the wider society.
We devise plans through which we can help the poor and needy and fulfil the rights of orphans
and provide aid and assistance to the vulnerable and deprived members of society.
With the Grace of Allah, to further such efforts,
we have established an international charity, Humanity First.
And from a community level we hold various charity events across the world throughout the year.
For example, in Africa,
when we build mosques, apart from introducing the teaching of Islam to others,
we strive to help the local people irrespective of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.
We build hospitals, clinics and schools where all people are welcome.
In reality, the majority of the students and patients who attend our schools and hospitals
are not members of our Community.
Also for the sake of serving humanity,
and with the sole objective of helping those who are underprivileged,
we have established a humanitarian relief project,
providing water in remote villages in towns of Africa,
our engineers dig bore holes and install water pumps
which provide clean and portable drinking water to the local people.
You cannot imagine until you see it with your own eyes
how the local people who have no concept of clean water
are overcome with emotion and unbridled joy.
When they see it flowing from their taps for the very first time.
The innocent children who have been born into the intuition
and extreme poverty cannot contain their excitement and wonder.
For generations the local people who were forced to travel miles on a daily basis
where vessels and buckets rested on their heads.
In order to require pond water for their domestic use.
Even that water for which they had to struggle so much was invariably contaminated
and the cause of many diseases and illnesses.
Given this, when those desperate people see fresh and clean water,
it is as if they have attained all the treasure of the world.
Accordingly, we believe that if a Muslims desires to fulfil the rights of the worship
of God Almighty and fulfil the rights of a mosque, then,
he or she must fulfil the rights of mankind.
For Muslims serving God and serving his creation are intrinsically linked.
If a Muslim God forbid, causes pain or distress to other people
and fails to show compassion then even if they are regular in the worship of God their
prayers and supplications are futile and utterly worthless.
Indeed, in chapter 107, verse 327 of the Holy Qur'an, Allah the almighty states,
"that the one who drives away the orphans and urges not the feeding of the poor,
"so woe to those who pray but are unmindful of their prayers.
"They only like to be seen of men."
Because they are not discharging their duty towards mankind.
So their prayers are not accepted.
Here Allah almighty has cursed those men, who pray to Him,
but fail to fulfil the rights of the weak and needy
and he has declared that their prayers will never be accepted,
their worship and entering to the mosque is nothing but a sham and an empty gesture.
The Holy Qur'an is very clear that their prayers are meaningless,
and their hypocritical ways will only lead to their humiliation and despair.
Consequently, a mosque not only draws our attention to fulfilling rights of God,
but also fulfilling rights of mankind and importance of serving humanity.
When these are core objectives, of true mosques,
there should be no reason for any of you to fear this mosque.
Time and time again,
Islam has laid great stress upon caring for one’s neighbours
and fulfilling their rights for example,
where chapter 4 verse 37 of Holy Qur'an calls on Muslims to show love
and compassion to their parents, and families it also calls on them to fulfil,
the needs of the vulnerable members of society
and special mention is made towards fulfilling the rights of one’s neighbours.
Muslims are taught to love and protect their neighbours
whether they have a personal relation with them or not.
And to be ever ready to help them in their time of need.
Furthermore, the definition of neighbour in Islam is extremely vast it includes,
a person’s work colleagues, subordinates, and travel companions.
It includes not only those people who live in the immediate vicinity,
but comprises the entire neighbourhood. Indeed the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) said
that the people’s neighbours include at least 40 houses around him,
thus it can be said that all the people of this city are the neighbours of this mosque.
Or of people who worship at this mosque.
Regardless of whether our neighbours are Muslims or non-Muslims,
it is our religious duty to care for them, to fulfil their rights,
and to ensures we do not cause any problems or difficulty for them.
This is not a favour on our part, but our basic religious duty.
In fact, the Prophet of Islam (saw),
said that Allah the Almighty had emphasised the importance
of discharging the rights of one’s neighbours so fervently to him
that he began to think that the perhaps there would be included
amongst a person’s rightful inheritors.
In short, now this mosque has been built,
our obligations to worship God Almighty has not only increased,
but in parallel our responsibility to serve the local community
and to contribute positively to the society has increased manifold.
The local Ahmadi Muslims will consider all people of this city as their neighbours
and recognise that they have many rights over them
and will strive to fulfil them to the best of their abilities.
Whenever any of you require our help, we pledge to be there to aid and assist,
in whatever way we can.
I am confident that the local Ahmadi Muslims,
will take it extremely seriously,
their obligations towards the local society.
And will always strive to contribute positively to this city
and to be faithful and loyal citizens,
who care passionately about their local community.
In light of this, I will also take this opportunity, to remind the local Ahmadi Muslims,
that they must always display the highest moral standards
and follow the true teachings of Islam and serve their local community.
Through their piety and heartfelt concern, for their fellow beings,
they should remove any lingering fears,
or misconceptions of Islam that may exist amongst some members of the local society.
God willing, I am sure, that now this mosque has opened,
the relation between our community, and the wider public, will become ever closer,
and the ties of friendship between us will continue to strengthen for evermore.
I am sure that a spirit of love and mutual affection will continue to grow,
and you will come to see the Mosque as a symbol of peace and goodwill for all Mankind.
At this time, more than ever before, it is incumbent upon all of us,
whether Muslims or non-Muslims, to work together for the cause of peace
and to set aside our religious differences, and to unite in the name of humanity and
work towards the betterment of our nation and strive to bring peace in the world.
May Allah the Almighty grant humanity the ability and wisdom to do so.
At the end, I pray that this Mosque proves to be an everlasting beacon of light,
radiating peace, love and humanity in all directions.
With these words, I will like to thank you all once again for joining us,
on this auspicious occasion.
Thank you very much.
Ladies and gentlemen, with this we will conclude the formal part of this evening.
It is our tradition that we conclude the session with the silent prayers.
We will be blessed that in the silent prayers, His Holiness, will lead us,
you may join us in your own way as you wish.
Please, silent prayer.