Establishing Peace Through Justice, Compassion and Mutual Respect
Ismail Anason, Secretary PAAMA Peace Symposium Organising Committee
On Saturday, 26 October 2019, the Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association (PAAMA) UK held its third Annual Pan-African Peace Symposium at the Baitul Futuh Mosque.
This year’s landmark event was themed “Establishing Peace Through Justice, Compassion and Mutual Respect”.
The symposium sought to develop a deeper understanding of Islam and other faiths and to inspire a concerted effort for lasting peace among Africans and all peoples of the world.
The event was attended by distinguished personalities from various walks of life, including parliamentarians, diplomats, faith, community and civic leaders and was broadcast via live stream by MTA International, whereby people from around the world could also participate.
Before the formal session commenced, guests had the chance to peruse various exhibitions by PAAMA UK and IAAAE on the services to humanity and translations of the Holy Quran into various languages of the world.
The symposium opened with recitation from the Holy Quran by Mr Mansur Abiola Osota and its English rendition by Mr Ibrahim Bonsu. This was followed by a brief introduction of the dignitaries at the head table by Mr Ahmed Owusu, the Event Organising Chairman.
In his welcome address, Mr Tommy Kallon, President PAAMA UK, touched upon the aim of the event which was “to create a platform to engage and dialogue on issues that enhance the values of peace, righteousness, unity and brotherhood.”
He narrated the inspirational story of Hazrat Bilalra; his conversion to Islam, persecution and steadfastness, his services to the Holy Prophetsa and the role he played on the day of the conquest of Mecca in announcing amnesty and clemency to the people of Mecca and role that played in overcoming enmity and establishing bonds of brotherhood as a practical example of how justice, compassion and mutual respect can establish peace.
This was followed by video presentations introducing the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The videos also chronicled the efforts and endeavours of His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, towards world peace. His numerous trips and visits made to various world legislative bodies were shown where he takes the message of peace and ’Love for all, hatred for none’ to world leaders discussing economic, social and political problems facing the world today.
The event continued with brief remarks by the guest speakers including Dr Basiyr Rodney, President PAAMA USA, Mrs Freda Bediako-Puni Minister Councillor for Political and Economic Affairs at the Ghana High Commission, Hon Abass Ridwan Dauda, Member of Parliament Ghana and His Excellency Dr Morie Komba Manyeh, Sierra Leone High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. They all lauded the organisers for hosting the event and stressed on the need and the possibility for peace.
There followed another video presentation highlighting the humanitarian work carried out by PAAMA UK in collaboration with Humanity First, the charity wing of the Community, as well as the International Association of Ahmadi Architects and Engineers (IAAAE) in Africa.
The keynote address was delivered by His Excellency Sir Iftikhar Ayaz OBE KBE, High Commissioner Designate for Tuvalu and Chairman International Human Rights Committee.
He started his speech by invoking upon the audience the peace, mercy and blessings of God. Sir Iftikhar reminded the audience on the philosophy behind the event which was to find an answer to attaining peace through justice, compassion and mutual respect for all. He touched on the visionary leadership of the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of God be on him) with regards to the administering of justice.
He alluded to a statement made by His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, (may God be his Helper) during his historic speech at UNESCO in Paris, made a few days ago, when he said, “The Prophetsa of Islam established an impartial judiciary and made it clear that there would be the same law for the rich and powerful and the poor and weak. All people would be treated equally, according to the law of the land.” He further added that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) made it clear that the same law applied to his own family.
He also remarked on the importance of education as being another key element in attaining world peace and reminded Africans to prepare to assume the leadership of the world in light of the profound words of His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (may God be his Helper), “I firmly believe that the time is fast approaching for Africa to lead the world”.
Sir Iftikhar ended with prayers that humankind comes to recognise its obligations to one another so that future generations remember us for leaving behind a legacy of godliness, unity, fraternity, peace and prosperity.
Rafiq Hayat Sahib, Amir Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, gave the closing remarks to the symposium. He congratulated PAAMA UK on organising the event and expounded on the need for man to recognise his Creator. This, he said, is the only source and means for internal peace and peace of the world at large.
He then led the traditional collective silent prayer to bring the formal session to a close, following which dinner was served to all attendees. Overall, the Pan-African Peace Symposium was a resounding success and feedback received from attendees testified to that.
The number of highly distinguished dignitaries and guests in attendance, which totalled 668 participants, was an indication of the wide appeal the event had. The event was not only well-organised and well attended, but also had a theme and objective which generated much interest among the attendees and viewers on live stream.