Jalsa Salana: Thousands head to Alton farm religious gathering


Jalsa Salana
image captionThe three-day convention is being held at a 200-acre farm in Alton

The largest annual Islamic convention in the UK is underway at a farm in Hampshire.

The three-day Jalsa Salana usually attracts 35,000 people from around the world but this year it has been scaled back to 4,000 invited guests each day.

The gathering, normally held annually at Oaklands Farm, Alton, was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

Those attending must have proof of double vaccination and provide a negative Covid-19 test on entry.

Jalsa Salana
image caption Strict social distancing measures are in place at the event

Invitees, who must be UK residents, have been chosen from a ballot compared to previous years where guests have come from as far as Fiji and Ghana.

Marquees on the 200-acre farm are staying the same size to allow for social distancing and face masks are mandatory in all enclosed spaces.

The event, which has been running for over 50 years, is organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMC) and features a daily address by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Caliph of the AMC.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad
image caption Muslim leader Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad speaking at the convention

Abid Khan, from the organisation said: “This is the first time since the pandemic started that our members from across the UK have been able to meet and worship together with our Caliph.

“So, whilst we are sad that due to social distancing measures it is still not possible for everyone to be here or for guests from abroad to attend, unquestionably this is a wonderful and joyous occasion for our community.”