On Saturday 26th March 2011 the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, spoke at length upon the issue of achieving global peace whilst delivering the keynote address at the 8th Annual Peace Symposium of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat UK, held at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden. The event attracted an audience of over 1,000, including Government Ministers, MPs, senior Foreign Embassy officials and members of the British armed forces.
During the event the 2nd Ahmadiyya Peace Prize was presented to Abdul Sattar Eidhi, the founder of the Eidhi Foundation, in recognition of his continued efforts in terms of social welfare and humanitarian relief. The award was accepted by Mr Eidhi via a video message due to him being otherwise engaged in facilitating the relief efforts for the Japan earthquake victims.
In his welcome address, Rafiq Ahmad Hayat, the President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat UK, said that the Ahmadiyya community was leading the way in removing misconceptions about Islam. It was a religion that advocated peace, understanding and thus the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat promoted integration and dialogue at all levels.
Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden, quoted a verse of the Holy Qur’an which advocates justice and fair dealing in all circumstances. She said that justice and tolerance were fundamental to a peaceful society.
Lord Eric Avebury who last year won the inaugural Ahmadiyya Peace Prize for his continued efforts to promote human rights across the world said that the root cause of all the recent conflict in the world was intolerance. He said that existing UN mechanisms required reform and that he felt that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat was very well placed to play a key role in that process.
Ed Davey, MP for Surbiton and Kingston and Minister for Employment Relations, paid tribute to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat for ‘championing the cause of peace of peace worldwide’. He said that the Jamaat’s motto of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ was a truly inspiring message.
Dominic Grieve QC, MP for Beaconsfield and the Attorney General, said that in the past year the world had witnessed many examples of intolerance for example attacks on Ahmadi Muslims and on Christians. The world faced constant challenges and the biggest challenge was ensuring that each person was free to exercise his own conscience and free will. If this principle was observed then people in conflict ridden countries could come to have the same rights that are taken for granted in countries such as the UK.
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the world Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, then presented the second annual Ahmadiyya Peace Prize to Abdul Sattar Eidhi. Accepting the award via a video message Mr Eidhi said:
“I do not believe in differences. I believe in humanity. I never ask those in need what religion they practice, I just see that they are human and that they need my help. The best means for achieving peace is humanity; we all must have love for our fellow mankind.”
The recipient went onto thank the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat for honouring him with the prize and further congratulating the Jamaat on its continued service to humanity and disaster relief throughout the world.
During his keynote address Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad spoke about the causes underpinning the current political turmoil sweeping through many Arab and North African countries; about Britain’s long term pursuit of tolerance and justice; the failure of the United Nations to fulfil its mandate, the restrictions placed upon Muslims in certain countries and the continued peaceful reaction of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in the face of the bitterest persecution.
Commenting upon recent developments and unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, His Holiness said that the fundamental basis for peace was truth and justice and failure to heed this would lead to dissent. He said:
“In short, the disorder taking place these days in the world, whether on a national or international scale, is based upon just one factor – and that is a complete lack of justice which is causing anxiety and restlessness to develop. The question arises that how can the present situation in the world be resolved. It is through the development of a relationship with God and exhibiting the truth.”
His Holiness commented upon the role of the United Nations in international relations. He said:
“Now if we assess and examine the United Nations then we see that in its history apart from a few occasions it has never fulfilled the requirements of justice and therefore has failed to fulfil its role properly. This is because factors such as materialism, the forming of blocs and alliances, vested interests, personal enmity and grudges have all proved obstacles to acting with due justice. And so the United Nations has not been able to establish peace because it has not displayed true impartiality and fair dealing.”
His Holiness also spoke of how certain countries had chosen to restrict or prohibit certain harmless practices or traditions. However the British Government had not followed this path. His Holiness said this was due to the tolerant nature of the British people. He said:
“The UK is one of those countries that has become home to people of many different nations, cultures and religions of the world. Although in comparison to many larger countries the UK is relatively small in size, the broad mindedness of its people has made it like a world in itself… Due to the open-minded and progressive nature of the UK public there is a positive influence here which means that whichever political party comes into power, it does not toy with the sentiments of religious followers when discussing religious issues. It is my prayer that this desire for justice remains their guiding principle.”
His Holiness concluded his address by speaking about the persecution faced by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. He said that in May last year 86 Ahmadi Muslims were brutally martyred whilst offering their Friday prayers. Similarly in February this year 3 Ahmadi Muslims in Indonesia were martyred in the most barbaric manner. His Holiness said that despite such cruelties and injustices the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat never responded with anything other than with peace. He said:
“We have always implemented the teaching of Islam that you should never take the law into your own hands and always keep the best interests of your country in view and never create disorder, because this is a requirement of true love for your country. Wherever in the world Ahmadis reside, no matter which country they originate from, be they Asian, or African, or Arab or European or American, their behaviour is always the same. For the sake of attaining Allah’s pleasure they always steer clear of all forms of disorder. And this is the conduct that one day will not only save the world from anarchy, in fact it will be its guarantor for world peace.”
Following the conclusion of the event, His Holiness met the assembled guests and held an audience with members of the British Armed Forces and also with members of the assembled press.