(Excerpts from the speech of His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masrur Ahmad, the Fifth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community delivered on 24 March 2012 at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London on the occasion of the 9th Annual Peace Symposium)
To all our guests: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatul'lahi wa barakatuhu (peace and blessings of Al'lah be upon you all).
Today, after a year, I again have the opportunity to welcome you. I am extremely grateful to you, as you have spared no time in attending this event today.
Most of you are well familiar with this event, known as the "Peace Symposium". It is an event organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community every year, and is just one of our many efforts to fulfil our desire to establish peace in the world.
Among today's attendees are new friends, attending this event for the first time, while others are old friends who have supported our efforts for many years. In any case, all of you are qualified people who share our desire for peace in the world and have a sincere desire for the world to become full of love, affection and friendship. It is this same attitude and these same values that the vast majority of the world yearns for and needs; and these are the reasons why you, who come from different backgrounds, nations and religions, are gathered here.
We hold this conference every year, and, on each occasion, we all express the same sentiments and the same hope that peace will be established in the world before our eyes, and every year I also ask all of you to strive to promote peace wherever you have the opportunity and with whomever you come into contact. On the other hand, I also ask those of you who are connected with political parties or governments to convey this message of peace to your circles of influence. It is essential that everyone is aware that, for the establishment of world peace, moral values and principles are more necessary than ever.
As far as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is concerned, wherever and whenever the opportunity arises, we openly express and declare our conviction that there is only one way to save the world from the destruction and devastation towards which it is heading: we must make every effort to spread love, affection and a sense of community; and even more important is that the world recognises its Creator, the One God, because recognition of the Creator leads to love and compassion towards His Creation. When this becomes part of our character, it is then that we will be recipients of God's Love.
We constantly raise our voice for peace in the world, and it is the pain and anguish we feel in our hearts that inspires us to try to alleviate the suffering of humanity and make the world we live in a better place. Indeed, this very convocation is just one of our many efforts towards achieving this goal. As I have already said, you all have these same noble desires. Moreover, I have repeatedly called on politicians and religious leaders to strive for peace.
Yet, despite so many efforts, we find that distress and turmoil continue to grow and spread everywhere. In today's world there is too much conflict, turmoil and disorder: in some countries civilians are fighting and declaring war against each other, in others the population is fighting against the government or, conversely, the rulers are attacking their own people. Terrorist groups are fuelling lawlessness and disorder to achieve their interests, and do not hesitate to arbitrarily kill innocent women, children and the elderly. In some countries and to satisfy their interests, political parties are pitted against each other instead of uniting for the betterment of their nations. There are also governments and countries that continually cast their envious eyes on the resources of other nations. The major powers of the world are consumed in the effort to retain supremacy, and leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of this goal. Given this situation, neither the Ahmadiyya Community nor most of you, members of the public, have the power or authority to develop policies that will bring about positive change.
It is clear that we do not possess any governmental or administrative power. In fact, I would go so far as to say that politicians, with whom we have established friendly relations, and who always agree with us when they are in our company, are also incapable of speaking. On the contrary, their voices are silenced and they are prevented from airing their views. This is because they are forced to follow party policies, or are conditioned by external pressures from other world powers or political allies. However, we, who participate in this Peace Symposium every year, maintain the undoubted desire to establish peace, and we certainly express our views and feelings that love, compassion and brotherhood should be established among all religions, all nations, all races and all people. But, unfortunately, we lack the power to really bring this vision to light. We do not have the authority or the means to achieve the results we desire.
I remember a couple of years ago, in this very room, during our Peace Symposium, I gave a speech detailing the ways and means to establish world peace, and I also spoke about how the United Nations should function. Afterwards, our very dear and respected friend, Lord Eric Avebury, commented that the speech should have been delivered at the United Nations itself. In any case, this was an indication of his noble character, for he is a generous and kind person in his remarks. My point is that merely delivering or listening to a speech or lecture is not enough, and does not lead to the emergence of peace. In fact, the key requirement for the fulfilment of this primary objective is absolute justice and fairness in all matters.
The Holy Quran, in chapter 4, verse 136, has given us a golden principle and a guiding lesson in this regard. It states that one must always and without exception comply with the demands of justice, even if one has to testify and give evidence against oneself, one's parents or one's closest relatives or friends. This is true justice, where personal interests are put aside for the common good.
"O you who believe! Be strict in the observance of justice, acting as witnesses for the cause of Al'lah, even if it be against yourselves or against your parents and relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, Al'lah is more attentive to both than you are. So do not follow base desires so that you may act fairly. And if you conceal the truth or evade it, remember that Al'lah is well aware of all that you do".
If we think of this principle on a collective level, we will realise that unfair lobbying techniques, based on wealth and influence, must be abandoned. The representatives and ambassadors of every nation must act with sincerity and with a desire to support the principles of fairness and equality. We must eliminate all forms of prejudice and discrimination, as this is the only way to achieve peace. If we look at the United Nations, the General Assembly or the Security Council, we see that often the statements or speeches made receive great praise and recognition, but such tributes are meaningless because the actual decisions have already been predetermined.
Therefore, when decisions are made under pressure or lobbying by great powers, and not through fair and truly democratic means, the speeches are hollow, meaningless and only serve as a pretext to deceive the outside world. However, all this does not mean that we should simply get frustrated, give up, and abandon all our efforts. On the contrary, our aim must be to continue to remind the government of the needs of the moment, while respecting the laws of the country. We must also advise vested interest groups appropriately, so that justice can prevail globally. Only then can we see the world become the haven of peace and harmony that we all want and desire. Therefore, we cannot and must not give up our efforts.
(lpbD) - God's peace and blessings be upon him.
(lpd) - peace be upon him.
(We will continue this discourse in the next installment: "The Devastating Consequences of Nuclear War and the Essential Need for Absolute Justice (II)").