Kalim Ahmed, Local Naib Amir, Calgary, Canada
In the backdrop of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas for the past several weeks, claiming thousands of lives, including women, children, and the elderly, due to senseless violence and bloodshed, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa has been calling for peace and warning of the ominous spectre of a looming world war. In the light of Huzoor’saa guidance, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Calgary, Canada, held a conference on 19 November 2023, at the Baitun Nur Mosque. It was themed “Voices for Peace” to create awareness of the grave injustices being committed by world powers and the imminent danger of a global catastrophe.
The event brought together diverse religious scholars, including prominent Jewish and Christian leaders, highlighting the shared values of peace, love, and harmony across various faiths.
The event generated eager anticipation among the general public and intelligentsia alike, drawing over 600 attendees from diverse walks of life. A well-respected political figure in Alberta, the Honourable Rick McIver, Minister of Municipal Affairs, moderated the event, while numerous other dignitaries, including Mayor of Calgary Jyoti Gondek, Mayor of Airdrie Peter Brown, MLA Parmeet Boparai, MLA Gurinder Brar, MLA Chantel De Jonge, and Councillor Raj Dhaliwal, graced the occasion with their attendance.
The speakers promoted unity, understanding, and dialogue among diverse religious communities in the context of the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.
In the opening remarks, Naeem Basheer Sahib, local Secretary of External Affairs, highlighted Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya’s efforts to promote peace in the current atmosphere and mentioned similar events held in Haifa, Israel, London, the UK and many other places around the world.
The Mayor of Calgary, Her Worship Jyoti Gondek, emphasised in her brief remarks that peace and justice are the only ways we must carry ourselves, not only in Calgary but throughout the world.
Senior Rabbi of Calgary’s largest Jewish congregation, Beth Tzedec, Russell Jayne, highlighted in his presentation that talking about peace is meaningless without acknowledging the pain that faith communities are enduring due to suffering and tragedy unfolding in the Holy Land.
Hanan Sobhi Sahib, presenting the Islamic perspective, highlighted the peaceful teachings and rules of engaging in conflicts as enshrined in Islamic law and that justice and equity are of paramount importance in achieving lasting peace.
Mir Majeed Ahmad Tariq Sahib, Local Amir Calgary, in his concluding remarks, thanked all the presenters and the audience who attended the event, showing their support for establishing peace in the world.
Also, part of the event was an exhibition featuring translations of the Holy Quran in multiple languages, Pathway to Peace roll-ups, and a bookstall.
The Voices for Peace conference attracted a lot of attention in the media and mainstream channels including CTV and Global TV, as well as ethnic media covered the event as a headline. The conference was also live-streamed, reaching a wider audience and fostering awareness and understanding.