Kashif Virk, Missionary, Sweden
On 26 January 2021, a webinar was arranged by Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Stockholm on the topic of “Limits of Freedom of Speech”.
The event was held in light of recent events, which, in the public debate, were associated with freedom of speech such as burning the copies of the Holy Quran, murder of a schoolteacher in France by a radical extremist and remarks made by the previous president of the United States and the subsequent attack on the Capitol.
Freedom of speech is highly regarded in Sweden and the country is perceived as the forerunner of this freedom. One of the world’s first freedom of the press acts was introduced in Sweden in 1766.
For this event, politicians from eight major political parties in Sweden sent their representatives. An officer from the police department responsible for preventing hate-crime also took part.
In the civil panel, representatives were invited from the Jewish, Christian and Humanist communities. I had the honour to represent the viewpoint of Islam.
The programme started with a recitation of the Holy Quran, which was followed by a detailed presentation introducing the Jamaat and its activities, both nationally and globally.
A special focus was on the efforts of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa to establish peace in the world.
It was the first time Jamaat Stockholm arranged a webinar and by the grace of Allah the Almighty, it went very well.
The online stream has been viewed by around 1,400 people and it can be watched on the following link: www.facebook.com/abf.stockholm/videos/4247246975320480
A day after the online event, an article written by myself was published in the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper, titled “Freedom of speech is not for the purpose of tearing societies apart”. From an Islamic perspective, I wrote that it might be difficult for some to understand the deep love and regard Muslims had for the Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, but we should ask if we really wished for ourselves a society where no respect was shown for precious sentiments of different peoples. I also said that we would have to be more vigilant when people with selfish and hateful intentions misuse freedom of speech.
We request the readers of Al Hakam to remember Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Sweden in their prayers.