In this day and age when violence, crime, drugs and alcoholism seem to be gaining the upper hand, it is very encouraging to hear about various religious representatives who are ready to meet, discuss and find out on what they can agree more than on what they disagree. One organisation which encourages interfaith dialogue is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association.

Laiq Ahmed Atif is the official representative in Malta of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, which this year is celebrating 100 years of its Caliphate.

This religious organisation, which advocates peace, tolerance, love and understanding among followers of different faiths is non-political, non-sectarian and also an international relief organisation.

It has branches in over 190 countries in all the continents. It does not discriminate on basis of faith, colour, religion or language. Recently, Mr Atif presented the President of Malta with a donation of €2,000 in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund. He also donated €1,000 to the National Foster Care Association of Malta to provide continued support for foster carers.

Between August 22-25, Lawrence Grech, my wife and myself were the honoured guests of this organisation's annual convention in Manheim, Germany. Our four-day stay will always remain a very memorable experience. We were warmly greeted by all - as were the many other guests - and the welcome given could not have been better. The great enthusiasm and participation of the thousands of members present was indescribable.

The climax of our visit was our meeting with the Caliph, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the supreme head of the organisation. We were greatly honoured by being given a private audience of about 20 minutes.

The Caliph is a very knowledgeable and wise person. His humility and saintliness are much admired and respected by all. He is a man of peace and love towards God and humanity. His organisation has and is suffering persecution by militant extremists in certain countries. For the Ahmadiyya Caliphate the "Jihad" is an expression of love towards God and struggle towards Him - and is different from militants "Jihad", as white is different from black.

The organisation's motto is Love For All Hatred For None and their aim is to improve the quality of life of those less fortunate - not by words but by deeds.

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