Thousands Welcome Ahmadiyya Head

Kampala, Uganda - THOUSANDS of Ahmadiyya Muslims yesterday thronged Entebbe International Airport to welcome their sect's supreme head, Mirza Masroor Ahmad.

Waving flags and posters and chanting awangale, (long live), about 8,000 faithful lined to get a glance at Ahmad.

"Luno lunaku lukulu. Kizibu okukkiriza!" (Incredible, what a great day), said Zakaliya Kizito Bulwadda, 83, the first person to translate the Quran into Luganda (1960-74).

Addressing a press conference at Wandegeya on Saturday, Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Uganda chief Mohammad Yasin Rabbani said Ahmad (the Mahdi) was Jesus in the second coming as prophesied in the Holy Scriptures.

"He is a representative of Jesus. Don't expect Jesus' second coming because Allah has already sent Ahmad. Don't be like the Jews who rejected Jesus as Messiah and denied that John the Baptist was the second Elijah," he said.

Rabanni said Ahmad's visit was good news for all Ugandans.

Ahmad, who was carrying a black cudgel, wore a white turban, white tunic, black leather shoes and two rings on his right hand index finger.

He arrived aboard a Boeing 737 Tanzanian airways plane at 11:40am, was welcomed by Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Uganda chief missionary Mohammad Yasin Rabbani, general secretary Suleiman Ssewanyana and the visit organising committee chairperson, Hajji Shuaib Kiyemba Nseera.

He later met the foreign affairs state minister Henry Okello Oryem.

The two agreed that there was need for religious unity and cooperation.

Ahmad, who is on his last leg of a tour of East Africa, is the second Khalif to visit Uganda. His predecessor, Tahir Ahmad, visited the country in 1988.