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World Faith Leaders Call For Greater Freedom Of Conscience And An End To Extremism

2014-02-19 00:38
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LONDON, Feb. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Landmark Conference in London on God in the 21st Century

Around 500 delegates from 26 countries attended a landmark conference, including faith leaders from various countries, politicians, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, academics and representatives of various NGOs. The conference also received many messages of support from key figures including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Archbishop of York, the Archbishop of Wales, the Vatican as well as Prime Minister David Cameron.

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The 'Conference of World Religions' held at the Guildhall in London, was organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, as part of its centenary celebrations. The theme of the event was 'God in the 21st Century'. The panel of speakers featuring various faith leaders considered what role religion could play in today's world and whether religion continued to be a force for good.

The worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (the Khalifa of Islam), delivered the keynote address. He highlighted that all the major religions of the world taught the worship of God and love and compassion for mankind. He said that if these original teachings were upheld today it would lead to a harmonious society, free from conflict and war. It is a matter of great concern that governments across the world are prioritising defence and military spending above and beyond social welfare and humanitarian projects.

His Holiness called on the leaders of all nations to seek social welfare and justice for all and bring the race to militarisation to an end.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

"The urgent and critical need of the world today is to establish peace and faith in God. If the world understood this reality then all countries, whether large or small, would not, in the name of defence spending, allocate millions and billions of dollars to expand their military capabilities. Rather, they would spend that wealth to feed the hungry, to provide universal education and to improve the living standards of the developing world."

The Khalifa concluded by reiterating that God is a "Living God" who continues to listen to the prayers of mankind:

"In order to protect ourselves and to save mankind we need to turn towards God Almighty and we need to attach ourselves to that Living God who did not forsake the Prophet Moses and his people and nor did He forsake the Prophet Jesus and his disciples. Nor have true Muslims been deprived from attaining the blessings of God and seeing their prayers accepted."

Other key leaders also addressed the conference including:

Archbishop Kevin McDonald, representing the Catholic Church, spoke of the World Day of Prayer for Peace organised by the late Pope John Paul II in 1986 and said that "today's conference is another moment of the coming together of the people of different religions in peace and justice." The Archbishop also read a message of support from Cardinal Peter Turkson, the President of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice.

Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber, representing the Chief Rabbi of Israel said:

"Humankind in the world is not its masters but its custodians. Let us return to the simple notion of faith and the sanctity of God."

The Rt Hon Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State at the Foreign Office, said:

"The evening was a great opportunity to demonstrate the selfless service given by people of all religions and to show that people who 'do God' do good".

Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, the Attorney General said:

"The right of individual conscience is the basis of everything and so it is essential that people are free to practice their religions without coercion of any kind. I would also like to thank Your Holiness (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad) and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for their astonishing contribution to the United Kingdom."

Other speakers were Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, Spiritual Leader of the Druze Community of Israel, Umesh Sharma, Chair of the Hindu Council UK, Rabbi Jackie Tabick, Joint President of the World Congress of Faiths, Dr Katrina Lantos-Swett, Vice-Chair United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Baroness Berridge, Chair of the UK Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom

Short video-clips are available here in English, Arabic, French, Russian, Turkish, Bangla, Urdu and more: http://goo.gl/zgB3j8

Source: Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK

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