Annual Muslim convention in Alton scaled back due to pandemic

The Ahmadiyya community has been working with the NHS on Covid safety measures for this year’s Jalsa Salana

Jalsa Salana annual muslim convention in Alton, Hampshire - field with marquees and parked carsA

Britain’s biggest annual three-day Islamic convention which takes place every year in Alton, has partnered with NHS Test & Trace to make it COVID safe.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim community’s 55th annual convention, Jalsa Salana, runs from today until Sunday.

Because of the pandemic, this year members can only attend in person if they are invited, can show proof of double vaccination, and undergo a lateral flow test before entry. There will also be social distancing measures in place.

The event itself has been scaled right back, with only 4,000 delegates attending instead of the usual 35,000.

Members not invited can join proceedings virtually at 40 specially set up satellite sites, including:

● The Baitul Futuh Mosque, Morden, South London

● Dar ul Barakat Mosque, Birmingham

● Dar ul Aman Mosque, Manchester

The event will also be transmitted live satellite tv around the world, and can be followed on social media.

The highlight of the Jalsa will be the addresses by the worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Rafiq Hayat, National President Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK said: “Even though most Covid restrictions were lifted in England on 19 July, we recognise the need to exercise care and shall try and provide a safe and covid-free environment for our Jalsa.

Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency Jenny Harries said: “Working with local communities to help keep them safe is a critical part of the work the UK Health Security Agency carries out on a daily basis – rolling out Test and Trace programmes like this to improve detection of positive cases and protect more people more quickly.

“Our local level partnerships right across the UK are instrumental in the ongoing national response to controlling COVID-19 and I am delighted we have been able to help this important convention.

“Around one in three people with COVID-19 do not display symptoms, meaning anyone can infect someone close to them unknowingly. This rapid testing programme with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is one of many that is helping us return to a more normal way of life.”