The World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and Fifth Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, was welcomed to the Houses of Parliament by the Deputy Prime Minister and various Secretaries of State and Parliamentarians on 11 June 2013.
The Khalifa was visiting Westminster to deliver the keynote address at a special reception hosted by Rt Hon Ed Davey MP (Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change) and the ‘All Party Parliamentary Group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’ in recognition of the 100 Year Centenary Celebrations of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in the UK.
Prior to the formal proceedings, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad held private meetings with the Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Home Secretary Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Energy Secretary Rt Hon Ed Davey MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP and Siobhain McDonagh MP.
The formal proceedings began at 1.05pm with a brief welcome address given by Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. This was followed by short addresses by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, by Douglas Alexander, the Shadow Foreign Secretary and by Theresa May, the Home Secretary.
Rt Hon Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:
“It is a real privilege for us to host the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community today. We know well the amazing work His Holiness (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad) does for the cause of peace and also the members of the Ahmadiyya Community. Thus it is absolutely fitting that so many MPs are here to thank you for being loyal and hard-working members of society.”
Rt Hon Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister said:
“The most important values and ethos which the Ahmadiyya Community has steadfastly communicated to millions of people around the world is of course one of peace, of love and one of reconciliation and that is a message which is enduring, powerful at all times – amongst all ages and in all communities… We all join with you, whatever background, political party or religious background, in celebrating the presence of your community here over a hundred years but also to celebrate the message the community has so quietly, steadfastly and with dignity been spreading and communicating for so long – one of peace, love and reconciliation.”
Rt Hon Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary said:
“In a world of ever greater diversity and challenges that message of reconciliation is needed more than ever before. I want to place on record our admiration for the leadership you (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad) have personally shown and collectively your community has shown, for the work you have done, the difference you have made and the service you continue to do not just for the members of the Ahmadiyya Community but being a powerful voice for tolerance, reconciliation and for peace. ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ is a philosophy from which we can all benefit and from which we have a lot to learn in the years ahead.”
Rt Hon Theresa May, Home Secretary said:
“His Holiness (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad) has shown and continued to show that the only effective way of persuading extremists out of their poisonous convictions is peaceful dialogue. That is a message that you are giving around the world and it is a message we should all listen to and heed. I know that you have been targeted as a community yourselves, particularly in Pakistan, where it is a criminal offence for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims, and where you have been subjected to some horrific attacks. I am absolutely committed to tackling all forms of extremism wherever it occurs… I have every confidence that in another 100 years there will be a group of people celebrating 200 years of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Britain. Thank you for all that you have contributed here in the United Kingdom and not just here but also the message you are giving around the world.”
During his keynote address, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad spoke of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat’s commitment to peace and tolerance; he spoke of the importance of loyalty to one’s country as a part of Islamic faith; he strongly condemned the recent brutal killing of a British soldier in London; he absolutely rejected the concept of a violent Jihad in today’s world and he appealed for justice in an effort to safeguard the world from warfare and conflict.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad began his address by addressing directly all people associated with the Houses of Parliament by saying:
“It is my sincere hope and prayer that all of the departments and people who work within this beautiful and grand building are able to fulfil the rights of serving this country and its people. I also hope and pray that they are able to work in the best possible manner towards fostering good relations with other nations, to act with justice and so make decisions that are of benefit to all parties. If this spirit is adopted then it will reap the very best fruits, which are of love, affection and brotherhood and will lead the world towards becoming a true haven of peace and prosperity.”
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said that loyalty to one’s country was an essential part of Islamic faith and that it had been “emphatically ordered” by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He said that all Ahmadi Muslims living in the UK desired “the progress and prosperity of this great nation.” His Holiness also praised the British public for welcoming immigrants to the United Kingdom and allowing them to become “part of the fabric of British society.”
The Khalifa continued by stating that throughout its 100 year existence in the United Kingdom the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat had always promoted peace and rejected all forms of extremism.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“These past 100 years prove and serve witness to the fact that the members of the Ahmadiyya Community have always fulfilled the requirement of being loyal to their country and have always steered absolutely clear of all forms of extremism, rebellion and disorder. In reality, the fundamental reason for this loyal and loving approach is due entirely to the fact that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a true Islamic religious community.”
The world leader continued by condemning and rejecting absolutely the concept of a ‘violent Jihad’. He accepted with regret that some other ‘so-called’ Muslim scholars promoted such teachings but said they were entirely wrong and responsible for the formation of various terrorist groups and the radicalisation of certain individuals.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“The most recent example of terrorism was, of course, the brutal killing of an innocent British soldier on the streets of London. It was an attack which had absolutely nothing to do with the real teachings of Islam; rather, Islamic teachings vehemently condemn such acts.”
Later in his address, His Holiness appealed for mutual religious respect and tolerance. He said that Islam had given the foundation for peace because the Quran taught that prophets of God were sent to all peoples and nations.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“No other religion so willingly and openly praises every faith and every nation as Islam does.”
Describing the true character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“It was the Founder of Islam who developed the love of God and the love of His creation in our hearts. It was he who ingrained and established love and respect for all of mankind and for all religions within us. The Holy Prophet(peace be upon him) spent his entire life spreading peace in the world. That was his noble mission. Certainly, there will come a day when the people of the world will realise and understand that he did not bring any teachings of extremism. They will realise that all he brought was a message of peace, love and kindness.
Explaining that freedom of religion was a fundamental tenet of Islam, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“If a person’s heart desires then they are free to accept Islam, but if their heart does not, then they are free to reject it. Therefore, Islam is completely against compulsion and extremism; rather, it advocates peace and harmony at all levels of society.”
The Khalifa concluded by speaking about the critical need for justice in the modern world. He said that he feared current conflicts could escalate into a world war unless all forms of discrimination and inequality were rooted out.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“Due to the acts of certain countries the signs are that another world war is on the horizon. If a world war breaks out then the Western world will also be deeply affected by its far-reaching and devastating consequences. Let us save ourselves from such destruction. Let us save our future generations from the miserable and devastating consequences of war. There is a real risk of a nuclear war breaking out. To prevent such a horrific outcome, we should adopt justice, integrity and honesty and join together to suppress and stop those groups who wish to spread hatred and who wish to destroy the peace of the world.”
The event concluded with a silent prayer and thereafter guests were able to personally meet with Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
The Centenary Celebrations were attended by 68 dignitaries, including 30 MPs and 12 Members of the House of Lords, including 6 Cabinet Ministers and 2 Ministers. Various media organisations including the BBC, Sky TV and ITV were also present to cover the event.
Prior to the event the three main party leaders had all written in support of the Centenary. Whilst congratulating the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Cameron MP said Britain could be proud of the Community and he praised Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad as “a man of peace.”