Sunday, March 21, 2010


Yesterday evening, Lindsay and I attended the Ahmadiyya Muslims' Annual Peace Symposium. The keynote speaker, His Holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, spoke about the duty of Muslims not only to proclaim that Islam is a doctrine of peace, but to put the principle of 'Love for all, and Hatred for none' into operation in their own lives, and he reviewed the effects of strife in various parts of the world on the victims.

His Holiness presented me with the first Ahmadiyya Muslim Annual Peace Award, in recognition of 'outstanding services for the advancement of the cause of peace'. I have had the honour and privilege of working closely with the Ahmadiya Community for many years, including most recently in organising a mission to Pakistan on behalf of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group on the situation of religious minorities.

Religious differences have been key factors in the causation of violence and conflict throughout the ages, and that continues to be so today. The Ahmadiyya Muslims insist, with the authority of the Prophet, that there must be no compulsion in religion, and that people of different religions can live side by side in peace with each other - as they do in the UK

One of the reasons we have been comparatively successful in promoting religious harmony in this country is the framework of law, including particularly the laws against discrimination and incitement to religious and racial hatred, and for equality. They don't have laws on these lines in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, where for example religious fascists chant slogans outside places of worship calling for people of different faiths to be murdered, with the police standing by doing nothing.

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