After the success of the Jesus Exhibition in the United Kingdom, dawah teams from different regions got motivated to conduct the exhibition in their countries. iERA’s international Outreach Specialist in the Arab Gulf area coordinated the implementation of the exhibition with one of the leading dawah organizations in Bahrain – Discover Islam Bahrain – which allocated a generous budget for the activity in addition to contributions from the Street Dawah Bahrain team.
The activity took place on the Friday 29th and Saturday 30th December 2017, which is the official holiday weekend in Bahrain, falling in between two festivities celebrated by non-Muslims; Christmas and New Years Day. The strategic location of Gudhaibya was chosen for the exhibition; which is located in the heart of the Bahraini capital “Manama”. Gudhaibya is highly populated with expats from countries like the Philippines, India and Bangladesh. The potential audience live within the vicinity of where the exhibition is being held and are also likely to gather around in this area during the holiday weekend.
The exhibition was held in a multi-function hall named Mohammed Al Mannaei Hall, located in the parking area of Ghudaibya Grand Mosque. The organizers used various channels of communication to attract individuals to the exhibition culminating in the use of; social media, personal network invites, invitation cards distributed in person within the surrounding area, which included some shopping locations, a garden and a nearby restaurant. A big billboard was placed in front of the grand mosque facing a strategic traffic junction in the heart of the city, to increase awareness amongst the Non-Muslim passersby and attracting them to visit the exhibition.
Thes majority of the visitors to the exhibition were of Christian origin where their professions ranged from media professionals to many white-collar expats and even a few religious leaders attended. The Jesus Exhibition banners developed by iERA, were on full display, by utilising these, volunteers naturally gave guided tours to the visitors creating organic dawah conversations. Food was also provided at the venue free of charge as a courtesy. Guided tours and positive conversations were key success factors for the exhibition, the duaat were ready to take the visitors around and explained the content of the banners with adherence to the values of respect and information sharing without negative criticism to persons or thoughts and beliefs.
Dawah teams from Discover Islam Bahrain and Street Dawah Bahrain were at the exhibition communicating in more than a dozen international languages including Arabic, English, Tagalog, Hindi, Bantu Swahili, Malayalam, etc. The exhibition caught the attention of prominent Da’ee, mentioning the exhibition on social media and made requests to get involved in the exhibition in some form, expanding it to other major cities across the Middle East. This opens the opportunity for more coordination between iERA and other major dawah organisations within the region.
The Jesus Exhibition is the first of its kind in Bahrain and it was a successful project with positive feedback from its visitors, many lessons were learned from this activity and will create future opportunities, in shaa Allah.