Lajna Imaillah UK Host Successful Peace Symposium

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Shermeen Butt

Lajna Imaillah UK

Lajna Imaillah UK hosted their tenth annual Peace Symposium on Thursday, 24 January at Baitul Futuh Mosque. 

The symposium brought together a diverse group of some 570 women to join the important discussion about the role of women in society. 

All major faiths and those of no faith were represented at Baitul Futuh Mosque as were the worlds of politics and civic society. 

The aim of the Peace Symposium is to promote a deeper understanding of Islam and other faiths and to inspire a concerted effort towards lasting societal peace. In this, our tenth year, the focus of discussion was the role of women as nation builders.

Katie Harrison, Director of ComRes Faith Research Centre and Dr Nazila Ghanea, Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford, presented their respective analyses of the topic. 

Sadr Lajna Imaillah UK, Dr Fariha Khan Sahiba, then presented the Islamic viewpoint on women’s role as nation builders. 

A charity cheque presentation of £17,800 raised by members of the British Lajna was made to Leukaemia Care UK. Lively discussions continued over dinner and into the late evening. Attendees had the opportunity to view exhibitions, participate in the Al-Qalam project and take tours of the Baitul Futuh mosque.                                       

Katie Harrison demonstrated that it is women who hold the key to future prosperity through examples. She reminded women that they have the power and opportunities in their daily lives to bring peace to troubled people and reconciliation in their personal spheres. She finished with a call to action, “Do you know what kind of future you want? Let’s agree together today to make it happen.”

Dr Nazila Ghanea shared her thoughts on peace, how women of faith might contribute. She said, “The means of achieving justice should not be unjust in themselves.” She pointed out that women seem to have a higher calling to peace, for sacrifice and for establishing peace between members of our family, between ourselves and our neighbours, and within the community. 

Dr Fariha Khan Sahiba explained the Islamic perspective of the topic under discussion whilst addressing some of the unique rights that Muslim women were afforded 1400 years ago. 

Sadr Sahiba addressed the topic of female literacy and maternal health, widely accepted to be determinants of economic development, from an Islamic perspective. Islam places great importance on the care of mothers as “paradise lies under the feet of your mothers.” She narrated a saying of the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which promises paradise to the one who educates their daughter. 

She explained that in Islam, men and women are spiritual equals. She concluded with a quote from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (may Allah be his Helper), “Any man who thinks that women should not take an active part in religious affairs … is guilty of extreme ignorance. Similarly, if any woman thinks that due to her domestic responsibility she does not need to partake in religious matters or make sacrifices for her faith and nation, she too is mistaken…”

Alhamdolillah, we have received very positive feedback from the guests. 

Roxanne St Clair, the chair of the Commonwealth Girls Education Fund wrote, “I found the evening to be very informative, and appreciate the time and effort that must have gone into making the evening such a success. The young lady who looked after our table is a real credit to the community.”

Christy Burdock of the Royal College of Arts wrote, “[This is] a little note to thank you for your hospitality and welcome yesterday. I loved every minute. The mosque is beautiful. The event was so well organised, with so many women working hard around us to make us welcome. It was informative, interesting, and stimulating, with very good food.”

A guest, Diane Miles, wrote, “I was impressed by so many things; your friendliness, your beautiful mosque, the efficient organisation, which meant that you could cope with so many people so well.  It will be a delight to see the mosque when it is finished.”

 

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