Peace Symposium at Taj Samudra – Colombo.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka

By A. Abdul Aziz, Press Secretary, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at – Sri Lanka.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Jama’at) Sri Lanka organized its first annual “Peace Symposium 2012” on 3rd November 2012, at the Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo. In this symposium Professor Kshanika Hirimburegama, Vice-Chancellor, University of Colombo, Ven. Galagama Dhammaransi Thero, Rev. Br Darshan Chaitanya, Chinmaya Mission of Sri Lanka, Rev. Fr. Manjula Priyantha of Don Bosco Seminary, Dankottuwa and Consul General for Tuvalu Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad Ayaz O.B.E from London, U.K., delivered their talks on democracy, freedom, human rights, social justice, diversity and peace; the role of religion in democracy and place of religion in modern society.

The Symposium witnessed the significant conflicts the world over, which have the potential to lead to a worldwide war. The need to establish the basic principles of Justice and Equality at this critical juncture in human history cannot be over estimated. Religion as always has a central role to play in achieving these principles, and it is emphasized to ensure that the purpose of religion is to spread peace, tolerance and understanding. The conference reflects the desire for peace that the heart of every truly religious person languishes for.

His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka sent the congratulatory Message for the Peace Symposium, the text of which is as below:-

PRESIDENTIAL SECRETARIAT

Message

I am pleased to send this message to the first Peace Symposium organized by the Ahamadiyya Muslim Jama’at Sri Lanka being held in Colombo.

This Symposium seeks to build understanding and peace with emphasis on interfaith relations for the purpose of achieving peace, in the context of the growing tensions prevailing in the world today.

It is commendable that the Ahamadiyya Muslim Community of Sri Lanka is taking this initiative, in keeping with a call of the Head of the Community, to address aspects of global peace through the role of faiths to promote and sustain peace within the country, the region and the world.

I send my best wishes for the success of this symposium in highlighting the role of Justice and Equality and the important role of religion and understanding in the search for peace.

Mahinda Rajapaksa
1st November 2012

The Message to the Peace Symposium, by the World-wide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Hazerat Mitza Masroor Ahmad – the text of which is as below:-

“Assalamoalaikum Warahmatullahe wabarakaatuh,

I am really pleased to know that Sri Lanka Jama’at is holding its first National Peace Symposium on Nov 3, 2012. I have also learnt that several dignitaries are participating in this event. I am always extremely pleased when I see that, irrespective of differences of religion or nationality, for the sake of upholding human values, so many people gather to listen, to learn and to speak about ways to establish peace and compassion in the world.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is purely a religious community. It is our firm belief that the Messiah and Reformer who was destined to appear in this age and enlighten the world as to Islam’s true teachings has indeed arrived. We believe that the Founder of our Community, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (a.s), was that very Promised Messiah and Reformer, and thus we have accepted him. He pressed upon his followers to act and propagate the real and true teachings of Islam that are based on the Holy Qur’an. Therefore, everything that I will say in relation to establishing peace, and in relation to conducting just international relations, will be based on Qur’anic teachings.

As far as the Ahmadiyya Community is concerned, wherever and whenever the opportunity arises, we openly express and declare our view that there is only one way to save the world from the destruction and devastation that it is heading towards, and that is that we must all endeavour to spread love, affection and a sense of community. Most importantly, the world must come to recognize its Creator, Who is the One God. This is because it is the recognition of the Creator that leads us towards love and compassion for His Creation, and when this becomes part of our character, it is then that we become recipients of God’s Love.

Remember that we have tremendous responsibilti8es and we should set an example for coming generations. We should endeavour to maintain high standards of goodness, honesty, integrity and absolute justice. In this regard I feel it appropriate to mention some of the golden principles presented by the Holy Quran and the Holy Founder of Islam Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be on him).

In the Holy Qura’an, God Almighty has made it clear that whilst our nationalities or ethnic backgrounds act as a means of identity, they do not entitle or validate any form of superiority of any kind.

It is a clear teaching of Islam that the people of all nationalities and all races are equal. And it is also made clear that all people should be granted equal rights without any discrimination or prejudice. This is the key principle that lays the foundation for harmony between different groups and nations and for the establishment of peace.

The Holy Qur’an, in Chapter 4, Verse 136, has further given us a golden principle and lesson, guiding us about justice. It states that as a means to fulfil the requirements of justice, even if you have to bear witness and testify against yourself, your parents or your closest relatives and friends, then you must do so. This is true justice where personal interests are set aside for the common good. The truth is that peace and justice are inseparable – you cannot have one without the other.

Thus, for peace in the world to be established it is essential that proper standards of justice are developed at every level, and in every country of the world. The Holy Quran has deemed the killing of one innocent person without reason akin to killing all of mankind.

As Muslim, I shall make it absolutely clear that Islam does not permit cruelty or oppression in any way, shape or form. This is an injunction that is absolute and without exception. The Qur’an further states that even if any country or people hold enmity towards you, that it must not stop you from acting in a fully just and fair manner when dealing with them. It should not be that any enmities or rivalries lead you to taking revenge or acting disproportionately.

There is little doubt that restlessness and anxiety is increasing in the world and so disorder is spreading. This clearly proves that somewhere along the line, the requirements or justice are not being fulfilled. We must remember that when human efforts fail, then God Almighty issues His Decree to determine the fate of mankind. Before God’s Decree sets into motion and compels people towards Him and towards fulfilling the rights of mankind, it would be far better if the people of the world should themselves come to pay attention to these crucial matters, because when God Almighty is forced to take action, then His Wrath seizes mankind in a truly severe and terrifying manner.

In today’s world, one terrifying manifestation of God’s Decree could be in the shape of another world war. There is no doubt that the effects of such a war and its destruction will not be limited to the war itself or even to this generation. In fact, its horrific consequence will be exhibited for many generations to come. Just one tragic consequence of such a war will be the effect it will have on new born children, both now and in the future. The weapons available today are so destructive that they could lead to generation after generation of children being born with severe genetic or physical defects.

Thus, if we desire for peace to be established in the world, then we must leave aside our personal and national interests for the greater good and instead we must establish mutual relations that are based entirely on justice. Therefore, it is my ardent wish and hope that the leaders of all major nations come to understand these beautiful Islamic teachings, and so, instead of adopting aggressive policies and utilising force to achieve their aims and objectives, they strives to adopt policies that promote peace and secure justice.

We must constantly raise our voice calling for peace in the world, and it is the pain and anguish we feel in our hearts that inspires us to try and alleviate the suffering of mankind and to make the world we live in a better place.

I would request all of you to strive for peace to the best of your abilities so that we can keep the flicker of hope alight, that a time will come when true peace and justice will be established in all parts of the world. Inshallah.”

Sincerely Yours,

Mirza Masroor Ahmad

(KHALIFATUL MASIH V)

Ahmadiyya Khalifa’s Reresentative Dr. Ifthikar Ayaz’s inspiring address really drew the focus of the audience and after the event the script of his address distributed to some important personals as well as media.

Statements on ‘Peace’ were also made by some Distinguished Guests.

During the Symposium the Community also organized an exhibition about the holy books of different religions at the same venue.

People from all walks of life from the nation as well as foreign diplomats were invited.

The community aims to improve relations amongst various religions by holding an annual interfaith Peace Conference helping to build understanding and peace amongst religions, and promote their motto ‘LOVE FOR ALL – HATRED FOR NONE’.

Peace Symposium at Taj Samudra – Colombo.

By A. Abdul Aziz,

Press Secretary,

Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at – Sri Lanka.

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