The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta organised the Annual Peace Symposium 2018 with the theme of “The Challenges of 21st Century, Education and Peace” at the Waterfront Hotel, the Strand Sliema, on Friday 16thMarch 2018.
Mr. Aaron Abdilla delivered his talk on behalf of Hon. Minister for Education & Employment. In his speech he highlighted the threat of radicalisation and clash of civilisations. He said that ‘there is an imminent need, to find a common language between the secular and the religious. This is only possible if we bring both world-views together and to learn to talk with each other rather than about each other.’ He concluded his speech with a saying of Muhammad Rumi that captures the implications of democracy as education that: ‘Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.’
Mr. Justin Schembri on behalf of Hon. Shadow Minister for Education spoke about the dominance of social media and the need of being responsible when online. While highlighting the current challenges he said that: ‘Education is the means to tackle such issues. Education leads to human development, it leads to peace. Education, especially when it’s combined with technical training has been proven to reduce poverty. This is one driving force behind education for peace. With education comes knowledge, power, safety, security, and of course peace.’
Representing Christianity, Rev John Berry, Lecturer Faculty of Theology at the University of Malta, said that: ‘Faith has a role to play in the public square and it is our duty to strengthen our efforts in acting as peace builders for a better world. Peace is a gift from God and a fruit of human endeavour. There can be no peace without justice and equality among all.’ He highlighted three main challenges such as, (i) short-sightedness (ii) prejudice and impatience and (iii) scepticism. Moreover, he presented three basic principles for peace: (i) respect, (ii) collaboration and (iii) safeguarding.
Representing Islam-Ahmadiyya, Imam Laiq Ahmed Atif, President Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta, spoke on the subject of “The Challenges of 21stCentury and Fundamental Principles for Lasting Peace − an Islamic Perspective.” He pointed out the threats to peace such as extremism, hate speech, racism, injustices, inequalities, conflicts, violence, persecution, greed and the race for the nuclear and sophisticated weapons.
Imam Atif, presented numerous references from the Holy Quran and underlined some fundamental principles for peace. He said that ‘effective and positive education for all, equality between all human beings, indiscriminate freedom of expression and freedom of religion, caring for each others’ sentiments and justice are some of the core principles for lasting peace’.
He said: The world today is fraught with danger and turmoil. We sit at an extremely critical juncture. The dark clouds of third world war are looming above our heads, and are getting darker and heavier every day. The Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community had foreseen such a threat to world peace and said:
“It is my fear, that in view of the direction in which things are moving today, the political and economic dynamics of the countries of the world may lead to a world war. It is not only the poorer countries of the world, but also the richer nations that are being affected by this. Therefore, it is the duty of the superpowers to sit down and find a solution to save humanity from the brink of disaster.”
Imam Atif called for ‘indiscriminate deweaponisation and denuclearisation of the entire world’ and said that ‘the time has arrived to face these grave challenges with sincerity, loyalty, wisdom and with great responsibility’.
He further said that: “The motto – ‘Love for all – hatred for none’ – of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community – which in fact is the essence of Islamic teachings – is also a wonderful principle for peace and prosperity.”
Imam Atif concluded his speech by highlighting the ultimate Islamic philosophy that: “Without returning to God one cannot attain peace and without that peace, peace in society cannot be built. If there is no God, there is no peace. That is the ultimate wisdom.”