More than 40,000 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community descended on East Worldham yesterday (Friday) for the start of Jalsa Salana UK.

This community has members in more than 100 countries and international visitors were welcomed once again as its 57th annual convention broke the event’s pre-Covid attendance record.

The need for an accurate portrayal of the beliefs and activities of all faith groups was explored in an opening press conference entitled Exploring the challenges of reporting on religious minorities in Britain.

The motto of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is ‘Love for all, hatred for none’ and this message was reinforced through prayers and the speeches of its Caliph, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.

He talks of the peaceful teachings of Islam, emphasising the principles of religious freedom, equality and respect, particularly focusing on the rights Islam grants to all members of society.

Tomorrow, the last day of the convention, participants will form a human chain leading up to the hand of the Caliph to pledge allegiance to him to abide by the teachings of their faith.

The event at the former Oaklands Farm on the B3004 is run by 7,500 volunteers.

Hundreds of giant cooking pots are used to maintain the supply of food while a huge conveyor belt system churns out thousands of roti flatbreads to go with it.

Jalsa Salana includes an exhibition by the disaster relief charity Humanity First, for which many members of the community were working following the devastating earthquake which hit Turkey and Syria in February.

There is also an inflatable planetarium, a display of editions of The Holy Qur’an translated into a multitude of languages, and a photographic history of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community from its inception to the present day.