On Saturday, March 17, 2018, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad aba (may God bless him), world leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Caliph V, delivered the keynote address at the 15th Annual National Symposium Peace, which was organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of the United Kingdom. The event took place at London’s Beytul Futuh Mosque, where more than 550 non-Ahmadine guests were present, including ministers, ambassadors of state, MPs from both chambers of parliament, dignitaries and other guests. The full transcript of the talk given by His Holiness is presented as follows:
“Bismil-lahi-Rahmani-Rahim – In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
As-salamu alaykum u rrahmatullahi u brakatuhu – May Allah’s peace and mercy be upon you all!
First, I would like to thank our guests, who have gathered here with us, at our Annual Peace Symposium.
For the last fifteen years, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has regularly organized this symposium to promote world peace. Perhaps some of you may question the usefulness of conducting this activity each year, given that during this period, world peace, both in Muslim countries and elsewhere, has not improved at all, but has deteriorated. Much of the world is plagued by more divisions, hatreds and injustices. Society has become polarized, wars have broken out, states have threatened each other, and inequality has deepened everywhere, in both developing and developed countries.
In such a situation, your suspicion is quite legitimate; however, our faith requires us to strive and move people around the world toward peace and justice, whether they are rich or poor, powerful or oppressed, religious or non-religious. Therefore, we will continue to do our duty to make people aware of the observance of basic human values. The basic teachings of Islam require that we fulfill the rights of the Creator as well as respect the rights of our fellow citizens.
In this brief introduction, I want to take this opportunity to talk about some issues that I consider to be of great importance, especially in these troubled times.
In today’s world, we often see great powers and international institutions designing plans and strategies aimed at improving human life in all countries of the world. Recently, one of the issues that many politicians and intellectuals have debated and used for campaigning is climate change and particularly carbon emissions reductions. Of course, trying to protect the environment and take care of our planet is an extremely precious and noble cause. At the same time, however, the developed world, and especially the world’s leaders, must realize that there are other issues that must be dealt with with the same necessity.
People living in the world’s poorest countries have no interest in the environment or the latest figures on carbon emissions, on the contrary, they wake up every day wondering if they will be able to feed their children. Their economic situation is really depressing and the poverty rate goes beyond our understanding. For example, there are many places where most residents do not have sufficient drinking water, and are forced to use contaminated and untreated water to survive and respond to their livelihoods. But even this water is not readily available. Women and children have to walk many miles daily to collect water for their families in large pots, and then carry them home, balanced on top.
We should not regard these as problems for others. On the contrary, we must realize that the consequence of such poverty has grave implications for the world at large and directly affects global peace and security. The fact that children have no choice but to spend their days collecting water for their families means that they are unable to attend school or provide any form of education. They are stuck in a vicious cycle of illiteracy and poverty that seems endless and extremely harmful to society. Today, their poverty and difficulties are escalated by modern technology, through which peoples living in conflict-ravaged or deprived areas can view the comfort with which the peoples of developed countries live, and the opportunities that exist for them. Seeing this extreme inequality and comparing their conditions with others, these localities become even more troubled. Their frustrations are used as prey by extremists, who lure the poor with financial rewards and promises of a better life for their families. Likewise, targeting illiterate youths means that extremists have the free opportunity to recruit and radicalize them. The extremists also benefit from the fact that the regimes of those countries have generally disappointed their people. who lure the poor with financial rewards and promises of a better life for their families. Likewise, targeting illiterate youths means that extremists have the free opportunity to recruit and radicalize them. The extremists also benefit from the fact that the regimes of those countries have generally disappointed their people. who lure the poor with financial rewards and promises of a better life for their families. Likewise, targeting illiterate youths means that extremists have the free opportunity to recruit and radicalize them. The extremists also benefit from the fact that the regimes of those countries have generally disappointed their people.
Regrettably, the ruling classes, in places deprived or destroyed in war, are concerned more about preserving their position or power than about relieving the suffering of their people. As a result, those who have nothing begin to look upon their corrupt leaders with contempt, while the great powers of the world consider them enemies. Unfortunately, we are seeing the frightening consequences of this phenomenon in Muslim countries as well. Some Muslims raised in the Western world, having seen the desperate situation in their countries of origin, have radicalized and committed horrific acts of terror here in the West.
Therefore, I firmly believe that if we truly want to protect the world and leave a hopeful legacy to those who come after us, it is essential that every effort is made to raise the standards of developing countries. The poor states should not be underestimated, but we should consider them as part of our family, our brothers and sisters. By helping these countries stay on their feet and giving their people opportunities and hope, we will help ourselves and protect the future of the world. Otherwise, we are seeing how poverty and poverty in developing countries are adversely affecting the rest of the world.
Likewise, as a result of the recent terrorist attacks and widespread immigration into the West, there has been a dangerous rise of nationalism in many Western countries, reminding us of the fears of the dark days of the past. It is quite disturbing that far-right groups have become increasingly vocal, increasing the number of members and increasing political outcomes. They too are extremists, seeking to poison Western society, inciting mass against those with a different skin color or other faith.
In addition, the rhetoric of some powerful world leaders has become increasingly nationalistic and belligerent, promising to put their citizens’ rights above all others. I do not dispute the fact that it is the responsibility of governments and leaders to care for their people and protect their interests. Of course, as long as leaders do justice and do not infringe on the rights of others, efforts to improve the lives of their citizens are a great virtue. However, policies based on selfishness, greed, and a willingness to undermine the rights of others are wrong and throw the seeds of disagreement and division in the world.
Next, another issue of concern is international arms trade. Today, the world calls itself more civilized than ever before. Yet still in 2018, there are places devastated and ravaged by inhumane weapons. In countries like Syria, Iraq and Yemen, government forces, rebels and terrorist organizations are fighting against each other. Despite their different interests, they have one thing in common: most of their weapons are manufactured overseas, in developed countries. The weapons used to kill, mutilate, and terrorize innocent people are being traded quite openly and proudly by the great powers.
Unfortunately, these countries only aim for economic growth and capital maximization, without stopping for a moment. They are desperately seeking the largest possible contracts for the sale of these destructive weapons, which act both on the guilty and on the innocent. They proudly produce weapons that do not spare children, women, the powerless. The shameless square of weapons devouring and annihilating villages and cities indiscriminately. Meanwhile the economies of these trading countries may make short-term gains, but their doors are stained with the blood of hundreds of thousands of people. Countless kids see their parents being killed in the most inhumane ways, and all they can do is just ask them over and over again. Thousands of women have been widowed, hopeless and vulnerable.
What benefit can be gained from such a ruin?
All I see is a whole generation of children, pushed into the arms of those who seek to destroy the peace of the world.
Who could blame that kid or teenager for reacting when he saw his parents barbarically kidnapped? As I mentioned before, extremists are targeting those who are destitute and target children or young people who have been brutalized by the war. They recruit young people who have not matured, and who can easily be manipulated to seek bloody revenge through terrorism. Instead of attending schools and getting educated in order to grow as decent law-abiding citizens, this whole generation is only getting one lesson: how to throw grenades and launch rockets, how to organize suicide attacks and how to wreak havoc on the world. Even some states are unnecessarily involved in conflicts that take place thousands of miles away,
In many such cases, it seems as though the world has not learned any lessons from its previous mistakes. It is widely accepted that the Iraq war in 2003 was unfair and based on unreasonable pretexts. Also, since Western powers took military action against Libya a few years ago, it has fallen into chaos and has become a hotbed of terrorism. Despite this, the great powers have not learned any lessons. Cities and villages have become flat and thousands of buildings have become dusty.
At the outset, I mentioned that one of the international community’s priorities is the issue of climate change and the desire to keep the air we receive clean. Is there anyone who thinks that heavy shelling does not affect the atmosphere? Likewise, if peace ever prevails in war-torn countries, their cities and villages will have to be rebuilt from scratch, and that in itself will require a large industry that will increase harmful emissions and pollution. . So, with one hand, we are trying to save the planet, but with the other hand, we are ruthlessly destroying it. In light of all this, I firmly believe that world powers are blinded by short-sighted interests and closed vision.
One of the main arguments in support of the arms industry is that they serve as a means of prevention and of maintaining peace. To understand that these arguments are completely misleading and misleading, it is enough to just turn on the TV and watch the news chronicles, even for a minute. Without a doubt, those thousands of innocent children who lost their parents or were left crippled by the war, those thousands of widows left behind and millions of people displaced from their homes will never be persuaded by this logic. If we are to leave behind a legacy of hope for our children and a peaceful world for our future generations, we all, regardless of our religion and beliefs, must urgently change our priorities.
Every nation, whether rich or poor, rather than consumed by materialism and the desire for power, must give priority, above all else, to world peace and security.
Rather than embarking on an arms race that leads to death and destruction, we must join the race to save and protect humanity.
In countries that are at war, instead of closing borders and ports, abandoning starving innocent and sick children deprived of medical treatment, we must open our hearts to each other, tear down the walls that separate us, feed the hungry and help those who are suffering.
As for political rivalries, the dispute between the United States and North Korea continues to threaten world peace. Any potential conflict between these two countries will have a severe impact on countries such as South Korea, China and Japan. Although there has been talk of breaking the ice between the two countries in recent days, because the president of the United States has suddenly shown a willingness to meet the leader of North Korea, there is no guarantee that peace will prevail. It is still unclear what conditions they will meet, and when and where the meeting will take place. Even if an agreement is reached between the two states, only God knows how long it will last, as long as hatred prevails on both sides. Iran’s nuclear deal,
There are plenty of issues that remain dangerously inland, and each of them can explode at any time, with unimaginable consequences. However, Islam teaches that peace can only be achieved when all traces of malice and wickedness are removed from the human heart and replaced by a spirit of mercy, love, and compassion for others.
Islam is often categorized as an extremist religion that promotes violence, and it is claimed that a large proportion of Muslims are not loyal to their state or intend to spread disorder in society. However, I consider these accusations false and unjust. Although terrorists, so-called Muslims, claim to act in the name of Islam, I do not believe that we are experiencing a religious war; on the contrary, the wars that are going on and the atrocities that are taking place are for geopolitical gain only. Terrorists, so-called jihadists, and extremist clerics only serve to destroy the name of Islam and undermine the efforts of the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful citizens and law-abiding. Of course, from the beginning, Islam has condemned all forms of extremism and the verses of the Qur’an that have been recited a little earlier give clear evidence. These verses tell us that in the beginning the wars of Islam were fought to protect all religions and to preserve the sacred principle of freedom of religion. These verses are firmly for the protection of churches, synagogues, temples and mosques.
I have raised this issue repeatedly, and reiterate that anyone who violates the universal values of freedom of expression and conscience is far from Islam. Indeed, there are publications in the Western media that affirm this, and I commend them for their positions in defending truth and justice. For example, The Guardian recently published an article in which the author wrote:
“Islamic terror is never intended, nor is it now intended to expand Islam. It has almost always been centered around property rights, the devouring of natural and economic resources and global monetary policy that led the population of Muslim countries into misery and poverty. “
These words accurately describe the reality of terrorism perpetrated by so-called Muslims. In an article published in a national newspaper, journalist Peter Oborne argues through undeniable facts that the radicalization of a significant number of Muslims, at least to some extent, has come about as a result of the intervention of certain Western intelligence agencies. To back this up, the reporter quotes a former British intelligence officer who said:
“It is not right on the one hand that the domestic police should not leave a stone unturned to fight terror and protect our societies, and on the other hand, elements of our and American police to arm and train jihadists and thus cooperating with terror. “
In addition, in an article in The Boston Globe , prof. Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, writes:
“There are countless cases where the CIA has toppled governments in the Middle East. Media experts have ignored the role of the United States in this volatile situation. “
Supporting the peaceful and multilateral resolution of the conflicts, Prof. Sachs wrote:
“The United States must end its war in the Middle East immediately and find security and concrete solutions to UN-based diplomacy.”
Recently, numerous articles have been published by non-Muslims supporting the fact that terrorist groups such as Daesh would not have flourished without outside support. I am not saying that intervention is always wrong, yet action must be fair, proportionate and free from any personal interest. Verse 10 of the 49th chapter of the Holy Qur’an clearly states that the purpose of any intervention should always be to establish lasting peace and exhort the Muslims to be fair to their adversaries as well. Therefore, if Islam gave the first Muslims permission to fight in self-defense, as a last resort, he also commanded them to fulfill the requirements of justice and not be abducted by their interests or violated after the establishment of peace.
Of course, this perfect principle is useful today, for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. If use of force is needed to stop the aggressor from cruelty, the action must be restrained and should never turn into revenge or the plunder of oppressed property. If the aggressor accepts the peace, he should not be denied his right nor should he benefit from the situation.
Profeti i Islamit (paqja qoftë mbi të), përgjatë jetës së tij, u përpoq të bashkonte njerëzit në paqe dhe ishte gjithmonë i gatshëm për të dorëzuar të drejtat e tij për hir të të tjerëve. Mjaft autorë e akademikë jomuslimanë, të cilët kanë bërë studime të hollësishme rreth Islamit, vërtetojnë faktin që Muhammedi (paqja qoftë mbi të) kërkoi të bashkonte komunitete dhe mbrojti lirinë e besimit. Për shembull, Peter Frankopan, kërkues shkencor në Universitetin e Oxfordit, ka shkruar rreth Profetit të shenjtë (paqja qoftë mbi të) në librin e tij “The Silk Roads”. Autori ka shtjelluar që Profeti Muhammed (paqja qoftë mbi të) kërkonte harmoninë dhe dialogun ndërfetar dhe bashkëpunoi ngushtë me komunitetet e krishtera dhe hebraike të asaj kohe.
Ai flet për “të përbashkëtat” midis komuniteteve fetare në atë periudhë dhe tregon se si mesazhi i Profetit të shenjtë (paqja qoftë mbi të) ishte për “pajtim”. Në një paragraf, autori i referohet periudhës kur Profeti i Islamit (paqja qoftë mbi të) ishte zgjedhur kryetar administrativ i qytetit të Medinës. Ai shkruan:
“Në këmbim të garancisë për mbrojtjen e përbashkët, figurat kryesore hebreje u zotuan për t’i dhënë mbështetjen e tyre Muhammedit. Këto u paraqitën në një dokument zyrtar, i cili shpallte që besimi dhe pronat e tyre tashmë e në të ardhmen do të respektoheshin nga muslimanët”.
Ai gjithashtu shkruan:
“Me zgjerimin e sundimit të muslimanëve, Muhammedi dhe ndjekësit e tij bënë lëshime të mëdha për t’ua larguar frikën hebrenjve dhe të krishterëve”.
Kështu, në të vërtetë, Islami gjithmonë ka qenë kategorikisht i prerë kundër çdo lloj terrorizmi a ekstremizmi. Ndërkohë që pranoj se veprimet e liga të disa muslimanëve e kanë dëmtuar rëndë shoqërinë, nuk pranoj që duhet të fajësohen vetëm muslimanët për paqëndrueshmërinë me të cilën po përballet bota sot. Mjaft analistë dhe ekspertë tani po pohojnë hapur se roli i disa grupeve dhe fuqive jomuslimane ka kontribuar gjithashtu për minimin e paqes dhe bashkëjetesës shoqërore.
Mjafton të them se tani është koha që njerëzimi të distancohet nga ideja, se vetëm muslimanët duhet të fajësohen për problemet që ka bota.
Veç kësaj, është koha e duhur që në vend t’i japin përparësi avancimit të partive të tyre politike apo qeverive, liderët tanë duhet t’u japin epërsi paqes dhe mbarësisë së njerëzimit për të ardhmen.
Kjo është rruga për të sjellë paqen e vërtetë në botë.
Në nivel ndërkombëtar, ne duhet të pranojmë faktin se rrallëherë forca sjell një fitim afatgjatë. Prandaj, duke gjatë marrëveshjes me Korenë e Veriut, Iranin apo me ndonjë shtet tjetër, fuqitë e mëdha duhet të veprojnë me maturi e urtësi, dhe të përpiqen t’i dëgjojnë me vëmendje shqetësimet e secilës palë, ashtu edhe si një analist, të cilin e kam cituar më parë, ka thënë që fuqitë botërore duhet të ndjekin rrugën e diplomacisë dhe t’i japin prioritet uljes së tensioneve. Ato duhet të përpiqen për t’i negociuar ujditë dhe marrëveshjet e paqes të cilat nuk janë të njëanshme, por shprehin shqetësimet e të gjitha palëve. Veç kësaj, nëse kemi arritur paqen, ne duhet të lëmë pas urrejtjen dhe armiqësitë e së shkuarës, dhe të marshojmë bashkërisht përpara me frymën e respektit dhe të kujdesit të ndërsjellë.
Sigurisht, kam bindje dhe besim të fortë që shembulli më madhështor i faljes, dhembshurisë dhe mëshirës në gjithë historinë njerëzore është shembulli i bekuar i Profetit të Islamit Muhammed (paqja qoftë mbi të). Për trembëdhjetë vjet, ai dhe ndjekësit e tij, iu nënshtruan persekutimit më të ashpër të imagjinueshëm, u dëbuan nga shtëpitë e tyre dhe u detyruan të shpërnguleshin nga qyteti i Mekës. Gjatë kësaj periudhe, muslimanët u martirizuan brutalisht, u torturuan fizikisht e mendërisht dhe iu nënshtruan privimit më të ashpër shoqëror. Muslimanët lidheshin me forcë mbi thëngjij të ndezur për kohë të gjatë.
Gra muslimane lidheshin nga këmbët me deve të ndryshme të cilat shtyheshin të lëviznin në drejtime të kundërta, duke ua ndarë trupat në dysh. Megjithatë, kur Profeti Muhammed (paqja qoftë mbi të) u kthye në Mekë si triumfues, ai nuk derdhi asnjë pikë të vetme gjak në hakmarrje, përkundrazi, sipas urdhrit të Allahut të Plotfuqishëm, ai deklaroi se i kishte falur të gjithë ata që i kishin shkaktuar vuajtje sfilitëse dhe që e kishin kundërshtuar dhunshëm Islamin. Ai shpalli që nën sundimin e Islamit, të gjithë njerëzit do të jenë të lirë për të praktikuar fetë dhe besimet e tyre dhe nuk do të hasin asnjë ndërhyrje apo frikë. Kushti i tij i vetëm ishte që çdo anëtar i shoqërisë të mbetet i angazhuar për paqe.
Ai udhëzoi që të gjithë njerëzit, pa marrë parasysh kastën, besimin ose ngjyrën, do të kenë të mbrojtura të drejtat e tyre dhe do të trajtohen me respekt në çdo kohë. Ky ishte shembulli i përjetshëm dhe madhështor i Profetit të Islamit (paqja qoftë mbi të) dhe është ky shpirt i dhembshurisë, butësisë dhe mëshirës që muslimanët dhe jomuslimanët duhet ta përvetësojnë sot në botë. Është pikërisht kjo frymë e faljes dhe e dashamirësisë, që duhet ta zhvillojnë të gjitha kombet, qoftë të mëdha apo të vogla, të pasura apo të varfra. Vetëm atëherë paqja afatgjatë do të jetë e arritshme.
Me gjithë shpirt, unë lutem që njerëzit të arrijënë t’i njohin detyrat e tyre ndaj njëri-tjetrit, me qëllim që ata që do të vijnë pas nesh, të na kujtojnë me krenari e mirënjohje.
Let’s look at tomorrow and not just today! Let’s save our future generations! May Allah grant us wisdom!
I want to thank you all again for joining us this evening. Thank you very much!
(Translated into English by Shahid Ahmad Butt)