The global spiritual head and Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has called on both the media and politicians to play a more responsible role in international affairs.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who leads tens of millions of Ahmadi Muslims worldwide, made the remarks at a Peace Symposium held at one of western Europe’s largest mosques.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad at the Peace Symposium U.K.[/tweetthis]
Addressing government leaders, members of the European parliament and diplomats from around the world who had gathered at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London, he began by comprehensively highlighting how Islam's holiest scripture, the Quran, entirely condemns the actions of extremist groups such as ISIS, quoting verses such as: “Verily Allah enjoins justice and the doing of good to others and giving like kindred.”
The Caliph also criticised the international media's imbalanced coverage of Islam.
He said: “Over the years I have made these points time and time again and have highlighted these core Islamic teachings. I have repeatedly quoted the Holy Quran to prove what I am saying is based on Islam’s authentic teachings. However it remains that our peaceful and inclusive message is not covered extensively in the media whilst on the other hand those relatively few people involved in brutality and carnage are given non-stop worldwide coverage and attention. There is no doubt the media plays a huge role in influencing public opinion and so should use this power responsibly as a force for good and as a force for peace.”
In a wide-ranging speech, the Caliph also warned the world stood on the brink of a catastrophic global war in which nuclear weapons could be utilised to devastating effect. He condemned the practice of regime change, highlighting how previous instances in Iraq and Libya had had terrible consequences for the peace and stability of those countries. He stated only peaceful negotiations involving all parties, including the west, Russia and Iran could resolve crises such as those in Syria and called for countries in the region to sanction ISIS and to stop buying oil from the terrorist group.
Guests at the event included former UK attorney general Dominic Grieve, Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, Lord Tariq Ahmad, Minister for Countering Extremism and London Mayoral Candidate Zac Goldsmith.
The symposium was also attended by members of the European parliament, academics from around Europe, international diplomats, interfaith groups and prominent local dignitaries and organisations.
Member of Parliament, Jane Ellison, tweeted praise for both the Caliph and Mr Goldsmith’s addresses: “Always a warm welcome at @AhmadiyyaUK community #PeaceSymposiumUK – thought-provoking keynote address, and good speech from @ZacGoldsmith”
Always a warm welcome at @AhmadiyyaUK community #PeaceSymposiumUK – thought-provoking keynote address, and good speech from @ZacGoldsmith
— Jane Ellison MP (@JaneEllison) March 19, 2016
Meanwhile Member of the European Parliament, Julie Ward simply wrote of the event: “Much food for thought!”
Great to meet @Siobhain_MP #PeaceSymposiumUK Thanks to @khalid2saeed for the kind invitation. Much food for thought! pic.twitter.com/fNNouU0zpK
— Julie Ward MEP (@julie4nw) March 20, 2016
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are a minority sect which originated in India in the 1800s. Having been labelled heretics by some of their co-religionists, Ahmadis face severe persecution in some countries, particularly Pakistan. The community is highly active in humanitarian projects and holds the motto ‘Love for all, Hatred for None.’
Sad to see #StopIslam trending when true Muslim leaders condemn terror: "Islam prohibited suicide and terrorism" pic.twitter.com/2A8kWTw3gG
— Ahmadiyya Press (@pressahmadiyya) March 22, 2016
"No government, group, or individual has the right to punish someone for leaving Islam" #PeaceSymposiumUK pic.twitter.com/o5hww6miZs
— Catrin Nye (@CatrinNye) March 19, 2016