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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Universal Peace Federation’s Two Slogans

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 19, 2014

Universal Peace FedeartionThe two slogans of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) are ‘Living for the Sake of Others’ and humanity is ‘One Family Under God’.

The first slogan, ‘Living for the sake of others’ is used by UPF to resolve conflicts and encourage personal growth. This conference has considered national branding deeply. The ultimate branding should be respected and trusted as someone who has integrity, a company that is law abiding and is a valuable stakeholder in the community or nation or a nation that is respected for its contribution to solving the problems of other less fortunate nations or to resolving world problems. In the UK prior to the last election in 2010 I was very happy that all three political parties had committed themselves to achieving 07 of 1% of Gross National Income to dedicate to Overseas Development Aid. It was something that we and many other NGOs had campaigned for before the election and since there has been a constant battle to maintain that total and the altruistic sincerity of the purposes for which it was and is being used. Read the rest of this entry »

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Universal Peace Federation – UK Newsletter May 14

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 26, 2014

Living In Service Of Others                              May 2014
International Women’s Day 2014 – Inspiring Change
By Ollie Davis In the House of Lords in London, Rt. Hon. Baroness Verma opened the evening to a room where every possible place to sit or stand was filled. ‘What a tragedy it is that, instead of these conversations, in the UK alone, 1 in 4 women have been or are still the victims of some sort of abuse in the home because of their gender.’ Read more…
The Role of Women At This Time: A Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Perspective
By Margaret Ali At the Universal Peace Federation’s (UPF) International Women’s Day 2014 event in the UK’s House of Lords, Margaret Keverian Ali, a Director of UPF UK, spoke of the role of women from a UPF perspective. Co-founded by Father and Mother Moon in 2005, UPF is currently guided by Mother Moon* after the ascension (passing) of Father Moon almost 2 years ago. Read more…
A YouthUPF Evening With Humphrey Hawksley
By Lauren TurnerHumphrey Hawksley is the author of numerous books, a leading international correspondent for the BBC, and has been in the Royal Navy. As such many were curious to hear what he had to say with regards to his career and the path that he took to get to where he is today at our ‘An Evening With’, a YouthUPF event. Read more…

Holocaust Memorial and Genocide Awareness
By Alan RainerA meeting held at the House of Commons on Tuesday 4th February, 2014 for the Holocaust Commemoration and Genocide Awareness. The meeting was hosted by Mr. Virendra Sharma MP and chaired by Robin Marsh. Speakers included Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke, Ruth Barnett, Desmond Fernandes, Paramjit Singh Kohli and Edwin Shuker. UN covenants signed in 1948 between nations obliged all nations to try to prevent genocides such as the Holocaust re-occurring and to bring perpetrators of genocide to justice.  Read more…
Concert for a North Korean Medical Project Held on 12th April
By Robin MarshUPF – UK, YouthUPF and International Relief Friendship Foundation (IRFF) – UK concert to raise money for a North Korean Medical Aid Project was held on April 12th in UPF’s UK HQ. The audience was also able to enjoy spicy Korean food as well as learn about the jointly supported North Korean Medical Project and other IRFF humanitarian efforts. (Photo Link) Read more…
The European Dream
By Walter SchwimmerWalter Schwimmer is the Former Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee of the World Public Forum – Dialogue of Civilizations. He gave this speech in Japan during a series of Universal Peace Federation events.  Read more…
AFP Justina Mutale featured in Avant Garde Magazine 
Buy the Magazine here.
Forum for Religious Freedom –
Europe names Aaron Rhodes President
Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe names Aaron Rhodes PresidentVienna, 4.Apil, 20014 (FOREF): Dr. Aaron Rhodes will succeed Professor Christian Bruenner as President of the Forum for Religious Freedom Europe (FOREF).  The board of directors will formalize the selection at their General Assembly meeting on 5 April 2014.Read more…
Democratic Republic of Congo – From Genocide to Recovery
Universal Peace Federation – UK’s Headquarters in London, together with Mothers of Congo, hosted an event to update and harness the passion to improve the human rights position of people in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A number of the Congolese diaspora were present to share their experiences and to encourage everyone to work for a better future in DRC Read more… Be Ambassadors of Human Love by Pauline Long (Speaking Above)

Charlotte Simon called for Strong African Women and Justina Mutale spoke on the ‘Genocide in the DRC: Blood Rubber To Blood Metals’.

Conflict Minerals: The International Response by Robin Marsh

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Sharing Stories of Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 10, 2010

6th November 2010

Annette Allen Receives An Ambassador for Peace Award

The third in a series of Forgiveness and Reconciliation Conferences, chaired by Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke,  considering not so much the theological statements about forgiveness but the personal experiences of those who have strived to forgive or be forgiven based on belief in those statements. The testimonies were from a series of people who shared about their struggles within wider community or national level conflicts, and those who had suffered personally in individual relationship problems. (Event photo link) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Community Cohesion | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Legacy of Peace Photos

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 8, 2010

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Photos of the Legacy of Peace event on June 6th 2010.

The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK held a unique and special ‘Legacy of Peace’ event to commemorate and celebrate the life and work of notable Ambassadors for Peace within a one day conference examining ‘Forgiveness and Reconciliation’. In attendance in the Columbia Hotel, Lancaster Gate, London were people from all faith backgrounds and leaders and pioneers in interfaith. That itself spoke for the idea that no one religion has a monopoly on God or goodness and that this event was truly a collective offering and one that undoubtedly brought joy to our Creator.

Those whose lives were honoured in a moving ceremony were leading “Ambassadors for Peace” who passed away in recent years including Sheikh Dr Zaki Badawi, Prof. Ninian Smart, Mr OP Sharma OBE, Prof Anthony Flew and Mr. Maurice Geoghegan and several prominent international figures who had been close friends of the UPF and Father and Mother Moon including Pres. Abdurrahman Wahid, a former president of Indonesia, Shaykh Hassan Cissé of Senegal and Dr. Laxmi Mall Singhvi. Mr. Hédi Annabi, a Tunisian diplomat and head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, who died in the 2010 Haitian earthquake and the one hundred UN workers who died alongside Mr. Annabi were also remembered.

(For more link)

Posted in Interfaith | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

‘Vaisakhi’ by Sukhbir Singh

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 16, 2010

Sukhbir Singh, Angad Kaur and Amarjeet-singh Bhamra

Vaisakhi of 1699

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a pleasure being with you on the occasion of the Joint Celebtrations. I thank Margaret Ali and Robin Marsh for inviting me to share with you the Sikh celebration of Vaisakhi. Sikhs all over the world celebrated Vaisakhi yesterday, and will continue to do so for another few days.

Vaisakhi for the Sikhs represents the birth of the Khalsa, and has its beginnings in a remarkable event that took place over 300 years ago. During the latter part of the 17th century, India was ruled by the Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb who was bent upon converting the Hindus into Islam.

In 1675, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, gave the supreme sacrifice, to save Hindu religion from the hands of the Emperor, and was beheaded in Chandni Chowk Delhi. At this time, the only son of Guru Teg Bahadur, Guru Gobind Rai was only 9 years old when He resumed the Guruship as 10th Guru of the Sikhs.

From the very young age, Guru Gobind Rai was a perfect leader & motivator for the Sikhs. He organised Sikhs and led them to follow spiritual route to attain union with God and at the same time, trained them to be self-defendant and guard the helpless against injustice & tyranny. He re-iterated the “Saint-Soldier” concept. At the age of 33 i.e. 24 years since the Guruship, Guru Gobind Rai was set out to accomplish God’s spiritual mission started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji of creating “Khalsa Panth” (God’s Religion). He chose the day of Vaisakhi for such a grand venture. Before the event, Guru Ji has been quoted to have not made any public appearance for over 11 months.

The Vaisakhi Day

In early 1699, few months before the Vaisakhi Day, Guru Gobind Rai sent a special invitation to the Sikhs all over the country to join the special Vaisakhi Celebrations in the town of Anandpur Sahib in the Punjab state of India. He asked them not to cut any of their hair and to come with their turbans on. Masses of people turned up on the day.

About Eighty thousand Sikhs had gathered at this event. The Guru welcomed everyone and reminded them of their duty, commitment, loyalty and faith. Then to everyone’s surprise, The Guru withdrew his long sword and said in a very powerful voice “Who will be brave enough to come forward to offer me a head? The Guru asked for the sacrifice of head for the sake of Dharam, or religion. No one expected this to happen. This amazed and horrified many. There was a pin drop silence. Some people were looking for the way to escape. No one came forward. The Guru repeated this three times.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

UN International Women’s Day 2010

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on March 15, 2010


UN International Women’s Day 2010

‘Celebrating the economic, political and social achievements

of women past, present and future’

43 Lancaster Gate, London, UK

Photo Link

A joint Universal Peace Federation and Women’s Federation for World Peace event to celebrate the UN’s International Women’s Day was held appropriately on the UK’s Mother’s Day.

Rita Payne, a former Editor of BBC Asia and currently the Chair of the Commonwealth Journalist’s Association – UK, reflected on the status of women in current developments and her own experience in the media in her speech, Women and Success – Is Hard Work Enough? ‘2010, on the face of it, is not a bad year for women’, she said, while pointing to Katherine Bigelow’s Oscar success on the eve of International Women’s Day and the passing of a Bill through the Indian Parliament to guarantee  that 1/3rd of all MPs are women. She added, ‘That there were protests and seven MPs were banned from the Indian Parliament shows that the battle for stronger representation for women is far from over.’

She referred to the raft of reviews and statistics that have emerged around Women’s Day revealing, for example, that there are more female Medical Doctor applicants than male because women have been outranking men in academic achievement.

However, she said some observers felt that former campaigning visionaries are being let down by the abuse of freedom by the laddette culture.

‘Maybe the greatest success will be when men and women are judged according to what they achieve than their gender’, she concluded. 

Her daughter suggested that, ‘Women can achieve many things but how can they do it without sacrificing the family.  Perhaps women can be more creative in addressing those needs but we won’t be able to do this without the men. We can address our needs with the help of men. Why don’t we forget about Women’s day and have a Family day instead?’

In a speech entitled ‘Women Initiating Change: The Strength of the Outsider’, Kat Callo explained the tragic cause of her work as a Trustee of Project Mosaic. Her cousin, a New York City firefighter, died in 9/11 trying to save those within the twin towers when the buildings collapsed. She began Project Mosaic, a UK-based educational charity that helps teach young people to be more tolerant of those coming from a different background – whether that’s a different race, ethnicity, religion, nationality or culture.

Violent extremism … plays on the theme of  “the outsider” – but it combines it with fear and ignorance, to creates a poisonous cocktail for our young people.

With a conversation, over a cup of tea or at a youth club or at a gathering of mothers at a refugee centre or talking with family members and friends. We are working to amplify the voice of the outsider – that person that takes a weakness and transforms it into a strength. (read more)

Hadia Saad had just returned from attending the 54th UN Congress on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York representing the Alulbayt Foundation in London. She also attended the UPF Parallel CSW event in New York. She shared about both experiences in a speech entitled, ‘Humanity Before Gender’. She said she was left with the sense that there is still a long way to go to obtain justice for women. She reflected on the position of women in Islam that tensions develop when the cultural traditions confine Islamic principles. (read more)

President of the League of Jewish Women

Mrs Ella Marks

Mrs. Ella Marks, the current President of the  League of Jewish Women (LJW), briefly described its history and activities since being founded in 1943. Stemming from a Judaic ethos, Jewish people believe that they should play an active part in the community wherever they live. The LJW has sought to educate young women to be both self supporting and train them to be active for the good of all society. The LJW is now affiliated to the National Council of Women as a consultative body. It is also very involved in interfaith meetings and activities. The LJW is a largely voluntary body that is an active community promoting service to those in need. She shared that she often reads to blind people.

Milena Ivovic commenting about the afternoon commented below, ‘It was very inspirational gathering. Women, outstanding achievers in various fields, were illustrating by their own life endeavours the greatness of human potential in each one of us. They are those who selflessly care for others in society and who know how to give from the essence. Their love and compassion certainly shed light and show the way.’

Shenaz Bunglawala

Posted in Community Cohesion, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

UPF Principles of Peace from Family to Family of Nations

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 23, 2009

Universal Peace Federation - One Family Under God

Universal Peace Federation


Introduction to UPF Principles of Peace:

Special Focus on the Centrality of Marriage and Family.

Monday, 30th of November between 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Sunday, 6th or 13th December both from 2.00-6.00 pm

At 43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA

Dear Friends,

It is our great pleasure to invite you to attend one of our series of Universal Peace Federation’s seminars with a special focus on Marriage Rededication Seminars. They are being held in response to many of our friends wanting to know more about UPF in general and UPF’s core values. In particular at this time we are focusing on core values regarding marriage and family. UPF International is promoting marriage as a sacred institution which will help create healthy and stable families centred on goodness. We at UPF believe that the healthy family is the smallest unit of healthy societies. Healthy families of all different nations and faiths coming together will help build the “Family of Humankind”, which will certainly advance the creation of a world of peace.

Developing from this vision and in cooperation with a network of Ambassadors for Peace, peace initiatives have been ongoing to different degrees in the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula, Nepal and the Philippines. You will have the chance to consider UPF’s unique contribution to peace building and explore the motivation behind the establishment of the Universal Peace Federation.

Having attended this seminar there will be an opportunity for those who wish to participate in either local or national level or the grand European level Marriage Rededication Ceremony to be held in Venice on the 10th January 2010. During this ceremony, previously married couples throughout Europe will rededicate their marriages as an offering and statement for World Peace through good Families.

These will be held on the 6th and 13th of December both from 2.00 – 6.00 pm – they will be held at 43 Lancaster Gate W2 3NA. Should you not be available on the 6th and 13th, we are happy to offer a shorter seminar on Monday 30th of November between 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Please let us know which date suits you best. We look forward to hear from you, please feel free to call should you wish to discuss any aspect of the seminars.

Warm Regards

Robin Marsh                                                   Cllr. Margaret Ali and Joyce Suda (02084673035)

Secretary General                                         Directors

07956 210 768                                               (Margaret) 0208-395-6788 / / 07723024750

Universal Peace Federation – UK Email: pa@uk.upf.org Tel: 44 (0) 207 262 0985

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Upcoming UPF Events

Universal Peace Federation – UK www.uk.upf.org

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Posted in Marriage and Family, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

‘Beacons of the Light’ Booklaunch October 16th, 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 18, 2009

Universal Peace Federation

43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA

100 People Who Have Shaped The Spiritual History Of Humanity

‘Beacons of The Light’

Address and Book Launch by Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke

Book Signing Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke

Book Signing Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke

Photo link of the Beacons of the Light Event October 16th, 2009.

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke with Respondents Imam Mahmadou Bocoum and Vijay Metha as well as MC Cllr. Margaret Ali

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke with Respondents Imam Mahmadou Bocoum and Vijay Metha as well as MC Cllr. Margaret Ali

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke Booklaunch with Dr Naznin Hirji

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke Booklaunch with Dr Naznin Hirji

Imam Dr Mamadou Bocoum praised Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke’s scholarship in writing such a book covering so many significant spiritual figures and for his investment as his teacher in the Muslim College during his Masters course. He quoted, ‘there is one light and there are different flames coming from that light’.

He mentioned that Abraham is the only prophet who became Haleel or the ‘ultimate friend of God’. He had to pay a heavy price to accomplish this title. Many other faiths want to take this person as their own faith’s exclusive founder or leading influence. This book reveals the claims and counterclaims on Abraham.

Imam Bocuom also reflected on the words ‘wherever there is love there is God but not wherever there is God there is love’.

During the Q. and A. Rev. Braybrooke was asked the question, ‘can spirituality exist without a religion?’  He replied, ‘Religions can meet best where they meet their call in God. The Dalai Llama said that for spirituality religion was not necessary. Others are rooted in a faith during their childhood even if they leave the faith later on in life and so it is difficult to separate their religion and their spirituality.’

Asked about those figures who are not included Rev. Braybrooke admitted that there are many more than one humndred figures mentioned but not as a separate section. In the end he said the criteria was how influential they were and after that there had to be some arbitrary selection.

Please see below or here for the response of Mr Vijay Mehta to ‘Beacons of the Light’.

Photo link of the Beacons of the Light Event October 16th, 2009.

Posted in Interfaith | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pilgrimage – Interfaith Perspectives

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on September 2, 2009

‘Pilgrimage’


Period of Silence to Begin

Period of Silence to Begin: Angad Kaur, Brother Tashi, Swami Saradananda, Joy Phillipou, Amarjeet-singh Bhamra, Imam Mahmadou Bocoum

What can we learn about pilgrimages that are common to all religions? On September 3rd we heard about jumping queues and ‘culturally determined’ mind sets that are challenged when we join a pilgrimage. Swami Saradananda, who coordinates pilgrimages (www.flyingmountainyoga.org), talked of India as a place where Europeans or Americans had to relearn everything from how to eat, talk, sleep and go to the toilet. The happiest pilgrimage was often the one where everything went wrong! Imam Mahmadou Bocoum spoke of wearing the white clothes of the Haj and putting away things of the world. Yet he struggled when others jumped queues, pushed and shoved to fulfil their heavenly duties. Brother Tashi spoke of accumulating merit by pilgrimages as well as purifying our karma. He demonstrated the sequence of devotion when approaching the holy mountain in Tibet near Llhasa: the sequential prostration every two metres along the path.

Angad Kaur talked of two pilgrimages. The first was similar to sightseeing. The second with a spiritual guide and mentor was an external manifestation of an enriching internal journey. She could experience the devotion suffused within the stones and creation where it was practiced by holy people of the past.

Joy Phillipou grew up in the Holy Land of the Levant, providing ample time to experience swimming in Lake Galilee while thinking of Christ walking on that lake or the joy of being given turkish coffee and sanctified bread at 4:00 am by monks after sleeping overnight in the Church of Holy Sepulchre or lying down in the Garden of the Tomb in the place where Christ’s body may have been laid to rest. She felt a sacred presence within the stations of the cross on Via Doloroso holding her arms out like Christ in crucifixion.

A Unificationist, Ashley Crosthwaite, saw life of faith as a journey. The pilgrimage is a small aspect of that journey. On a pilgrimage to a holy place in Korea he and his wife, who were having difficulty to have children, were told by a spiritual lady of that place to fast one day a week and have cold showers each day for three years. At the conclusion of those three years they had their first child.

Swami Saradananda quoted Mother Theresa’s conception of a castle with seven rooms in our inner world. Each room is guarded by those who check whether you have really learned all there is to learn from that room before passing to the next. Real peace must come from within she said as we change our own inner nature. A pilgrimage brings out the real inner nature in a way that allows us to deal with what we can easily hide in our own nation and regular life.

For more photos please click here. For other interfaith activities please use this link.

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‘Beacons of the Light’ Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke Oct 16th

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 20, 2009

100 People Who Have Shaped The Spiritual History Of Humanity

UPF - logo

Universal Peace Federation:

43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA

Web: www.uk.upf.orgwww.upf.org

‘Beacons of The Light’

Address and Book Launch by Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke

16th October, 6.00pm – 7:00pm Reception & Book Signing

At 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA

7.00 pm Keynote Address

Followed by Respondents and Q&A

You cordially invited to attend an address and book launch by Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke, entitled, ‘Beacons of The Light’ which introduces 100 of the world’s most influential spiritual teachers.

Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke DD., is a retired Anglican Clergyman. He was Executive Director Council of Christians & Jews 1984 – 87, and Chairman of the World Congress of Faiths 1978 – 83 & 1992 – 99, and is its current President. He is the author of more than a dozen books. His Lambeth Doctor of Divinity was presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of “his world-wide work for inter-religious understanding and co-operation.”

At 6.00 pm we will have a reception for those of you who wish to take time to speak to Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke and when there will be a more relaxed and personal time for those who wish to have their books signed by him.

Reviews
It’s a book that should be on the shelf of anyone who wishes to understand the astonishing variety of ways in which religious faith has shaped the way human beings live and the way they think. Canon David Winter, Former Head of BBC Religious Broadcasting.

With his breadth of knowledge, enthusiasm, diligent work and sensitivity Marcus has become a beacon for others, including myself, to follow.

Rabbi Jackie Tabick, Chair of the World Congress of Faiths, London.

Seeing the spiritual history of mankind through the eyes of wise elders from all cultures and religions reminds us of our common humanity and points the way to a peaceful future.

Alison Van Dyk, Chair, Temple of Understanding, New York

After Dr Braybrooke’s talk we will have respondents from different faiths, then the floor will be open for comments and questions. He will be available later to sign books. Please let us know if you are able to attend so that a place is reserved for you. We look forward to seeing you.

Yours sincerely,
Robin Marsh                                                                            Cllr. Margaret Ali
Secretary General                                                                 Director
Mobile: 07956 210 768                                                     Mobile:07723024750

Universal Peace Federation – UK    www.uk.upf.org

Peace and Development Network: http://uk.youtube.com/PeaceDevelopmntNetwk

https://peacedevelopmentnetwork.wordpress.com

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
Follow the links for more about the Interfaith Committee or the Community CohesionChapter of UPF.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

More About the Book: www.o-books.com

Marcus Braybrooke

Extent: 512 pages  Size: 51/2×81/2 inches 216/140mm

Paperback

World rights

First published 2009

Religion/History

CONTENT: Today we are inheritors of the wisdom of spiritual teachers of every religion, century and country – thanks to the work of many scholars and translators. Their messages, with significant cross-cultural harmonies, can still inspire us today and help us recognise the oneness of all human beings.

Beacons of Light introduces 100 of the world’s most influential spiritual teachers – some like Jesus, the Buddha or Muhammad are well known; others like Rabia, Manikkavacakar, Guru Arjan Dev or Hildegard deserve to be better known. The story of their lives is clearly set in the historical and religious context of their time. A summary is given of their message and continuing influence.

The author has dared to rank the 100 according to his personal assessment of their influence and challenges the reader to do the same and not just to absorb the information but also to reflect on the impact of the people discussed.

The book is an invitation to the reader,as a citizen of the world, to claim his or her inheritance of spiritual riches.

AUTHOR: Marcus Braybrooke has for forty years played a significant role in the growing worldwide interfaith movement. He is President of the World Congress of Faiths, Co-Founder of the Three Faiths Forum, a Peace Councillor and a Patron of the International Interfaith Centre at Oxford. He has travelled widely to share in many interfaith gatherings. He is also the author of over forty books on religion and prayer, including 1,000 World Prayers and A Heart for the World (both O Books).

ENDORSEMENTS AND REVIEWS: I never expected to read a book in which Calvin, Guru Nanak, Mohammed and Francis of Assisi sat side by side, along with 96 others, in the pantheon of the ‘world’s most influential religious figures’. Probably only Marcus Braybrooke, with his unparalleled grasp of the world’s religious scene, would have attempted it – and only one with his genuine openness of spirit could have succeeded. It’s a book that should be on the shelf of anyone who wishes to understand the astonishing variety of ways in which religious faith has shaped the way human beings live and the way they think. Canon David Winter, Former Head of BBC Religious Broadcasting

Beacons of Light continues the series of invaluable contributions that Marcus Braybrooke has made to furthering interreligious understanding and respect among people of different faith traditions;. Everyone will benefit from this book. Newcomers to interfaith exposure will take a giant leap forward. Experienced participants will also learn from this well-researched and eloquently expressed volume. At the end, readers can agree with the author’s selection and categorization of “the one hundred people who have had the greatest influence on the spiritual life of the world,” or they can accept his invitation to make their own list. Either way, their judgement will be illuminated by the succinct, informative biographical sketches of these people who are, indeed, Beacons of light. Dr Bill Lesher, Chair of the Council for a Parliament of the World Religions, Chicago

Beacons of Light is a priceless and inspiring gift from the good and open heart of one of the global interfaith movement’s wisest and most respected leaders, Marcus Braybrooke. It is impossible to read without being spiritually enriched. Your heart and mind will be opened by this treasure of a book that shines with the brightness of 100 of humanity’s greatest lights. Revd Charles Gibbs,, Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative

I like the style – it is accessible, dense and thorough. It leaves room for questions to be asked. Paul Carling, Director of Religious Studies, Sherbourne College

Tells the life story of influential spiritual teachers, some of them perhaps unlikely bedfellows, although that contributes to its appeal. Inspiring. Bookseller selected title

Marcus Braybrooke is one of the most significant Christians I have ever met. Rabbi Tony Bayfield, Head of the Movement for Reform Judaism and a President of the Council of Christians and Jews, Quotation from ‘The Church Times’

Marcus Braybrooke is to be thanked for stretching our minds with some of his choices. He closes with a chapter on WHICH BEACON SHINES MOST BRIGHTLY. Thus good reading for 101 nights. Richard Boeke, Amazon Review

We’ve had rich lists and power lists before. Now Marcus Braybrooke, a retired vicar, has produced the “holy list”, selecting 100 people who he believes have done the most to shape the history of humanity. It should come as no surprise that an Anglican cleric has decided that Christ is the most influential figure. However, as co-founder of the Three Faiths Forum – an organisation that encourages mutual respect and understanding – he has been careful to make the top 10 representive of the major faiths. Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Telegraph Blog

http://www.o-books.com/product_info.php?cPath=68&products_id=574

Posted in Interfaith | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Guided Meditation and Discussion Led by Karen Szulakowska

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 15, 2009

Guided Meditation and Discussion Led by Karen Szulakowska

Guided Meditation and Discussion Led by Karen Szulakowska

On August 12th there was a guided meditation and discussion on ‘Spiritual Leadership’ led by Karen Szulakowska.  It was a profound evening of reflection, healing and inspiration. For more photos please follow this link.

The next meeting will be on September 16th at 6:30 pm led by Mr Rajesh Ananda of the Foundation for International Spiritual Unfoldment.

IMGP7524

Follow the link for more about the work of the Interfaith Committee.

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Global Financial and Economic Meltdown

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on July 15, 2009

THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC MELTDOWN AND THE NEED FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT

Global Vision 2000 and the Universal Peace Federation jointly organised, on July 13th, an emergency seminar in a parliamentary Committee room to examine the underlying causes of the financial and economic crisis and the need for a fundamental paradigm shift to restore stability, prosperity, justice and peace.

Kelvin Hopkins MP

Kelvin Hopkins MP

Lord King of West Bromwich

Lord King of West Bromwich

Lord Ahmed of Rotherham

Lord Ahmed of Rotherham


For More Photos Please Click Here

The seminar shed light on the terrifying nature of the death spiral of the global debt based financial and economic system and the ruinous path towards servitude and serfdom. There were parliamentary, interfaith, monetary and fiscal reform perspectives shared and brought to bear on terms of alternative radical holistic solutions offering suffering humanity hope and salvation. This event took place when Parliament is at it’s lowest ebb and it’s image has been tarnished. The event affirmed grassroot coalitions facing the urgent need for civic society to champion the values of public service and the common good and claim Westminster as the people’s shared political space.

Speakers gave clear evidence of the ‘grand canyon’ between officials who imagine green shoots of recovery and the common experiences in our communities.

The financial crisis has revealed an economic crisis now manifesting as a full blown political crisis. Participants agreed that the future is viewed with fear rather than hope and the hatred of the stranger stalks the land. We are now seeing the rise of political extremism which threatens the peace and unity of the country. We deplored the way mainstream media and political elite are taking remedial action but failing abjectly to address the underlying forces. There is a need to review and redesign a fairer, just and sustainable global economic system that empowers the world’s poorest billion to emerge from desperate poverty and facilitate global peace; helping both wealthy and poor to lead full and healthy lives.

In offering different proposals for change this seminar moved us all in the direction of a socially and ethically based mind-set , a new paradigm and the nature of the system that could implement it.

The seminar addressed the following issues:

Are we witnessing a ‘L shaped’ Great Depression rather than a ‘V shaped recession’? Do we need regulation, reform or revolution? How can monetary, fiscal and economic justice advocates connect with the people and political system? How can people power and national sovereignty be secured against the global financial oligarchy? How can the UK deliver on it’s commitments on MDG?  What does the City of London need to do to be the leader in global finance? Is Islamic finance a Trojan horse or Panacea?  What type of paradigm shift is required?

How do we overcome the difficult first task, that of receiving a hearing from public leaders in order to enter an inclusive dialogue. There is a need for a radical shift in awareness, through a clear, short message, that will give people confidence to say, “No. This is wrong, we will no longer accept it. That was the key point of the day; short, crisp pamphlets. Not heavy books.”

Speakers in order:-

Co-convenor  Robin Marsh        Secretary General,  Universal Peace Federation UK – welcomed us with a plea to bear in mind the intensity and ubiquity of suffering around the globe.

Co-convenor   Moeen Yaseen     Managing Director     Global Vision 2000 – – emphasised the challenge before us as outlined with such clarity in the press release summarised above.

Rev'd Canon Peter Challen

Rev'd Canon Peter Challen

Canon Peter Challen: Chairman, Christian Council for  Monetary Justice, – (text of speech below in Comment section) singled out key words EXPLOITATION and EXPONENTIAL GROWTH as lying behind our now evident mistakes; reminding us that they fed the process by which we had made commodities of LAND, PEOPLE AND MONEY, embedding the ill effects of doing so in centuries of legal protection for vested interests. All traditions of good faith cried out against this grave distortion of natural law. Speakers to follow will clarify means by which we must de-commoditise these three fundamental subjects

Lord King, as host for the seminar, reminded us of the detail of our distorted economies, nationally and globally, and pressed us to attend to the proposals to be offered to meet the challenge we face.

Lord Ahmed wished the seminar well and underlined the urgency of our getting the message of moneytary and fiscal reform across to Parliamentarians.

Kelvin Hopkins MP, spelt out the almost total loss of a vision of inclusive justice and the cost of not restoring a moral base to political economy.

Anne Belsey

Anne Belsey

Daud Pidcock

Daud Pidcock

David Trigg

David Trigg







Anne Belsey: Monetary Reform Party, took us to the grass roots task of communication, illustrating, from her own diligence in the work of the Money Reform Party, the fundamental issue of talking in our communities, with a clear, succinct message, of the need and the process for money reform, as a basic contribution to generating the critical mass we must build to seek effective change.

Daud Pidcock: Global Vision 2000 –brandishing ‘The Crash of 2008’ a revisiting today of a study of ‘people versus the banks’ by Swann, he spoke as a scholar long probing the history of the abuse of money [‘lethal tender’!] as a driver of the disintegration of society, presented evidence we cannot ignore of the need and difficulty of restoring state transparent responsibility for the money supply. ‘We’ve endured iron, stone and the lash, but the hardest to endure is debt’ We must restore the effect of the Jubilee practised for 2 1/2 thousand years 2500 BC in Babylonia; explode the myth of the Bank of England being a nationalised bank; expand the M0 supply for community ends.

David Triggs, Coalition for Economic Justice and Executive chair, Henry George Foundation, informed us eloquently and passionately of the need for genuine capture and distribution of the accumulated value of land springing from our co-operative activities over time. He stressed the need to rediscover the natural law that governs the prospects of all life on earth as the basis for our paradigm shift of ordinate significance and to translate this into the economic means of collecting the community’s value for the community, combating the erosion of justice by grossly distorted property rights.  Fight against nature and it will punish you. Work in harmony and it will reward. Water runs down hill!. Such a fact cannot be fought or legislated against; it just is. Economics, the production and distribution of wealth for all is intimately part of nature and thrives only by its rules.



hol130709 058 cropped Adrian Wriggley

Dr Adrian Wrigley

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed

Ian Parker-Joseph

Ian Parker-Joseph






Dr. Adrian Wrigley, Systemic Fiscal Reform Group, emphasised the systemic nature of economic disorder and the systemic response we need to make. He contrasted the countries where revenue was based in the collection and fair distribution of community value with those that taxed people’s productiveness, the former producing more just and stable societies. The old paradigm of ‘absolute resource ownership’ must give way to the new mindset that could be triggered by a’ debt for tax’ swop.  Land must be restored to the factors of economic productiveness and the great monopolies [land, water, intellectual property etc.] ended.  He explored the history of economic society through the ages and found we had known the solution for millennia. Tax and regulation are smokescreens. What matters is the funding source, that of the largest monopolies, land and money. Avoid this melancholy proof and expect inevitable meltdown. Scholars back to Confucious are unanimous on free access to nature’s gifts unless that access causes harm or exclusion through exploitation or exponential extraction, in which case the victim must be compensated. Civilisation flourishes under these conditions. The paradigm under which presently we suffer took over at the beginning of the 20th century when nature was cut out of the analysis. We don’t need a new paradigm, we need to re-instate the old one. Leaders need to read history and start thinking deeply and stop rebutting the well informed public. Free market capitalism is the best approach but of the Eastern not Western variety!

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed: Director, Institute for Policy Research and Development, Provided further scholarly evidence of the fundamental change of perception required if we are to replace exploitative structures with those creating inclusive justice. New structures founded on only productiveness, not speculation; on the ending of wage slavery, and the interest free funding sustainable growth must be designed.

Ian Parker-Joseph:   Leader, Libertarian Party, (click for full text) explored the creative tension to be found between a global consciousness of our interdependence and the nurture in freedom of the rich diversity of local  communities. He recommended the interplay of 1] £Sterling – debt free money for societal infrastructure-2]  £Sovereign as 100% backed trading currency, and 3] Free banking in competition.

Robin Marsh and Moeen Yaseen

Robin Marsh and Moeen Yaseen

Report by Rev’d Canon Peter Challen

Further details, and access to papers delivered, form……Email: myaseen@globalvision2000.com

www.globalvision2000.com Mobile                07818 082011

Global Vision 2000 is an independent international Islamic think tank committed to the evolution of global humanity.

For More Photos Please Click Here

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Religious and Spiritual Leaders Series

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on July 10, 2009

Religious and Spiritual Leaders Series

9th July 2009
43 Lancaster Gate

Presented with a Photo of the Sikh Leader His Divine Holiness Satguru Jagjit Singh

Presented with a Photo of the Sikh Leader His Divine Holiness Satguru Jagjit Singh

Ambassador for Peace Award - Prof. Tara Singh Anjan

Ambassador for Peace Award - Prof. Tara Singh Anjan

Imam Mahmadou Bocoum

Imam Mahmadou Bocoum

Held under the auspices of the Interfaith Committee as a monthly event, the first meeting went well last night.  There was a guided meditation and discussion led by Dr. Amarjeet-singh Bhamra. This was a good opportunity to find peace of mind after our busy working day. This was followed by a talk on the life and significance of Mansur al-Hallaj, the Sufi thinker who was executed for his controversial statements in 922 in Baghdad. Both sections developed into a profound discussion about the experience of divinity. The inner experience of great religious and spiritual leaders has led them to pioneer movements of revival that have profoundly influenced civilisations even if they were inconvenient or unpopular at the time.

The ecstatic intoxication of Mansur al-Hallaj spurred him to witness to others about his experience which shocked the religious and political leadership of the time.  The inner experience of meditation based some of the oldest known religious scriptures has enabled the exploration of the relationship of mind, body and soul that have challenged our concepts of human limitations.

The next event will be on August 13th from 6:30 pm. There will be a guided meditation and a discussion. Please put this in your diaries and let us know if you are going to attend.  (Click here for more photos of  July 9th’s event.)

IMG_0001

Presenting Sant Tehal Singh with an Ambassador for Peace Award

Presenting Sant Tehal Singh with an Ambassador for Peace Award

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Universal Peace Federation – Peace Council

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on July 6, 2009

Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – Peace Council

43 Lancaster Gate

July 4th, 2009

Link for Photos:

UPF Peace Council - July 4th 2009

UPF Peace Council - July 4th 2009

Greetings from Lord King of West Bromwich - UPF Patron

Greetings from Lord King of West Bromwich - UPF Patron

Ambassador for Peace Award Recipients

Ambassador for Peace Award Recipients

The UPF Peace Council was held last Saturday on July 4th in order to gather together branches and committees of UPF across the UK. It was useful to promote the work of committees to those activists in parts of the UK where is less activity. It was also useful to identify new areas in which there is interest to develop UPF activities.

Reports from UPF Committee Chairs or active representatives.

Gene Alcantara - Mindanao Peace Initiative

Gene Alcantara - Mindanao Peace Initiative-UK

Gene Alcantara spoke about the Mindanao Peace Initiative – UK that involves supporting youth service activities, a Hip Hop convention and a number of other initiatives to bring young and old from different communities together in this Philippine area of Christian-Mulsim conflict. (For more information please see comment below. Click links  MinPI Also the link to various activities. Further Explanation By Gene Alcantara)

Cllr. Margaret Ali, Saleha Jaffer and Cllr. Janet Baddeley: UPF Community Cohesion Group

Cllr. Margaret Ali, Saleha Jaffer and Cllr. Janet Baddeley: UPF Community Cohesion Group

The Community Cohesion Group announced events such as a Forgiveness and Reconciliation Festival on October 4th, an event to commemorate ‘Black History Month’ in September and a Holocaust Day event in late January 2010.

Marios Gerogiokas - Report from UPF Environment Chapter

Marios Gerogiokas - Report from UPF Environment Chapter

Dr Marios Gerogiokas announced a series of conferences and discussions with experts to consider the issues surrounding Climate Change negotiations culminating in Copenhagen in December 2009. These include a talk by Dr. Yacob Mulugetta from Surrey University on Understanding Food, Water and the Energy Crisis on July 16th and a talk by Lawrence Bloom on September 3rd evening both at 43 Lancaster Gate.

Marriage and Family Committee Report by Chair Eddie Hartley

Marriage and Family Committee Report by Chair Eddie Hartley

Marriage and Family Committee Chair, Eddie Hartley, highlighted the upcoming conference on the 18th of July,Commitment in Marriage: What the Faith Traditions Offer Modern-Day Britain held together with the Women’s Federation for World Peace.He also reported on the UN International Day of the Family event held on May 15th.

Dr David Earle reporting on UPF activities in Birmingham

Dr David Earle reporting on UPF activities in Birmingham

Birmingham UPF – Dr David Earle explained the progress being made in Birmingham with the local Council in partnership with Women’s Federation for World Peace run locally by his wife, Patricia.

Dr Satwant Multani - Interfaith Youth Hostel Project Inspired by Paul Currie's 1000 Mile Walk

Dr Satwant Multani - Interfaith Youth Hostel Project Inspired by Paul Currie's 1000 Mile Walk

Dr Satwant Multani, the Chair of Central Scotland Interfaith, spoke of the Interfaith Youth Hostel project and the inspiration he had received from Paul Curries 1000 mile walk. He had raised £1000 for the Interfaith Youth Hostel among the members of his Gurdwara. A quick collection from the audience raised a further £180 for the project.

Ambassador for Peace Awards

Ms. Hadia Saad

Ms. Hadia Saad

Mr Mohammed Khokhar

Mr Mohammed Khokhar: Community Liaison Officer / UK Funds Distribution Manager for International Charity Muslim Aid

Karen Szulakowska

Karen Szulakowska

Major(Retired) Suryaparsad Upadhya

Major(Retired) Suryaparsad Upadhya

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Mindanao Peace Initiative by Gene Alcantara

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on July 6, 2009

Mindanao Peace Initiative by Gene Alcantara

Dear Friends and Kababayans

Gene Alcantara

Gene Alcantara

You will know that the conflict in Mindanao continues to cause pain and suffering, dislocation and costs in terms of the economy, loss of human life, increased poverty and destruction of localities. As we have also seen recently the situation allows kidnap-for-ransom activities which create fear and deflect tourism and investment in the region.

I am writing to tell you that a Mindanao Peace Initiative was launched during the Global Peace Festival Mindanao in September 2008. The event was co-sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), the Philippine Government at national and local levels, and non governmental organisations. Enclosed herewith please find the Declaration of the Inauguration of the Mindanao Peace Initiative (MinPI).

In our desire to get involved in the pursuit of peace in Mindanao and help our compatriots there, we have set up a UK Committee to support and seek funding for the MinPI. I hope you will be able to join us and contribute to the peace efforts.

A couple of projects we will be supporting this year are the Lanao Del Norte (LDN) Peace School Model, and the First Mindanao Hiphop Convention to be held in August 2009.

With Service For Peace we are also exploring the possibility of advocating volunteerism and service in LDN and Davao City, as well as implementing micro financing and soft loans for young entrepreneurs and women.

The MinPI UK Committee will be overseen by UPF and its partners, particularly in the Filipino community. Administration and handling of contributions/sponsorships will be provided by International Relief Friendship Foundation, Inc. (IRFF), a UK charity organization [http://www.irff.org/]. Execution on the ground in Mindanao will be the responsibility of Service For Peace [www.serviceforpeace.org] and partner Filipino NGOs.

I would be grateful if you could please forward this to friends and kababayans who might be interested in getting involved or to contribute financial and other help. If anybody wishes to provide any financial help, please go directly to http://www.irff.org/ to do so, specifying your contribution is for the Mindanao Peace Initiative UK.

Meantime if you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

With best wishes

Gene Alcantara

Mindanao Peace Initiative,
UK Committee
43 Lancaster Gate,
London W2 3NA

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‘The Search for Spirituality’ Book Launch by Prof. Ursula King

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 12, 2009

June 11th 2009

‘Spirituality is becoming popular. Even sociologists have become spiritual!’ said Professor Ursula King while discussing her latest book, ‘The Search for Spirituality: Our Global Quest for Meaning and Fulfillment’. She referred to a  cultural vision of spiritual oneness beyond diversity of race, nationality and religion that is evolving within the human species. It is an evolution that was not discussed by Darwin but it is happening nevertheless. Gustav Jung referred to a coming together of the interconnectedness of humanity.

Prof. Ursula King

Mr Jay Lakhani

Imam Mahmadou Bocoum

Prof. King defined spirituality in terms of the web of life, through the relationship to oneself, to others, to the environment and the Divine Spirit, Creator or God. The growing edge of spirituality, she explained, was not under our control and therefore is full of mystery as we pass through the stages of our life. We need to educate children about spirituality because we need to know how to allow our spirit to flourish throughout the ‘dance of life’.

Interfaith dialogue can enable a person to discover the spirituality within another faith. This can help us to develop both spiritual literacy and the awareness that we have great resources within us.

Mr. Jay Lakhani, the Education Director of the Hindu Council UK, suggested that there is close link between science and spirituality becoming visible at the growing-edge of science. Quantum Physics for example is clearly suggesting that the underpinning to this creation is not matter but something that is guaranteed not to be matter. What is it?  Hinduism has been claiming that the underpinning to this universe and ourselves is essentially the Spirit. First it manifests as matter then it becomes more visible as living things and clearest vision of spirit is Men and Women. This is called Spiritual Humanism.

Imam Mahmadou Bocoum who is a lecturer at the Muslim College, Ealing and a Prison Chaplain, referred to Chapter 1 and 4 as areas of the book that he really appreciated. He emphasised an inspiring figure in history for him was Mansur Al-Hallaj who was executed for proclaiming that he had seen the Lord. He thought that such a figure would have been inspired by this book. He explained the spirituality of submission with reference to the Quran and Mansur Al-Hallaj. Concluding that ‘to know God is to know ourself and the only way to know yourself is to know others.’

The evening progressed well with a number of other contributions including that of Mohammed Ali, CEO of the Islam Channel and Dr Satwant Multani, Chair of Central Scotland Interfaith, who was visiting from Scotland. Prof. King summarised the evening saying, ‘I really wished Prof. Ninian Smart could still have been with us – he would have much enjoyed the evening and the company. I hope it will inspire some people to be more spiritual….’

For more photos click here. Follow the link for more about the UPF Interfaith Committee.

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UPF-UK Statement on European and Local Council Elections

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 4, 2009

Universal Peace Federation – UK

Statement on European and Local Council Elections

Rarely have our democratic institutions and processes been under such pressure as they are at this time. As
we experience a crisis of trust at the very heart of the democracy we value so highly, many feel a sense of being betrayed by those in positions of authority. This trust, generated by leadership that maintains integrity and genuine
public-mindedness, is so essential for the good working of our political structures.

The people of Britain once again have the opportunity to express their views about the future of Europe as well as some areas of local Government. It is important that all eligible citizens exercise their precious right and duty to vote, and that they vote wisely. Failing to fulfil that duty can only serve to assist those who wish to damage our democracy.

The Universal Peace Federation is a global alliance of individuals and organizations dedicated to building a world of peace, a world in which everyone can live in freedom and harmony, and enjoy prosperity. Many of the issues being
dealt with by our current UPF committees stand to be affected by these elections: community cohesion, marriage and family, peace and development, interfaith relations, and more. Our strong alliance of diverse religious leaders
is calling on all people of faith to pray for these European Elections that will be held on 4th June; prayer has the power to touch hearts and minds, and to nurture all that is good, loving and just.

Of course, this commitment is one shared by all conscientious people. For this reason, UPF is making this call to all voters to reject divisiveness and messages of hatred and distrust, and to foster policies and decisions that further the wellbeing of all European citizens.

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Islam, Renewal of United Nations and Peace

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on June 2, 2009

Islam, Renewal of United Nations and Peace*

IMAM Dr Abduljalil Sajid

The Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony

* A paper prepared for the ‘World Summit on Peace: A New Vision for peace in the 21st Century’ held at Seoul, Korea 29 to 2 June 2009

Bismillah Hir Rahma Nir Rahim (I begin with name of God the Most Kind the Most Merciful). I greet you with the greetings of Islam (Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakathu (May God’s blessing and peace be with us all.)

I am honoured to be asked to speak to you on the important issue of “Islam, Renewal of United Nations and Peace” at the great city of Seoul in the South Korea in the World Summit on Peace: A New Vision for Peace in 21st Century organised by the Universal Peace Federation – UPF. I am also very grateful to the Founder, Chairman and the Secretary General of the Universal Peace Federation – UPF for providing me an opportunity to explain my thoughts of the very important topic.

I have two roles: First to explain what we have been doing in the United Kingdom for Peace and secondly explain the position of my faith.

So far as Universal Peace Federation – UPF UK is concerned the major emphasis of this year has been to support the United Nations in its activities and make it more effective through its organs. The UPF has held various activities in the UN buildings in New York, Geneva and Vienna promoting themes that support the wider direction of the UN. There has been a big emphasis on the UN International Day of Families and the September 21st Day of Peace at UPF Branches throughout the world. The UN International Day of Families has been supported by the UK branch with two events in London attracting an MP, local politicians a senior UNA representative, and interfaith leaders. There have been various activities in the UPF – UK promoting dialogue between cultures and faiths called for by several UN Resolutions for the Dialogue of Civilisations and Faiths. Interfaith, Community Cohesion, Humanitarian activities and the promotion of Millennium Development Goals have been continuing strongly in activities of UPF branches and HQ.

We did recommend on 2nd April 2009 at the meeting of House of Commons in parallel to G20 meeting at Excel with the support of Dr Walsh, Secretary General of UPF International, Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak and Lord Tarsem King the following:

1.      The current financial crisis did not happen by accident. The root cause of the present political, economic and leadership problem is that it has no link with God and it is not based on any ethical foundation. Therefore we recommend an Economic Ethical reform accompanied by greater transparency and fairness to all.

2.      Consideration of the true relationship based on family life, which is the only God inspired institution given to mankind by God, and wider economic realities.

3.      Character and Peace education in the family with wider community, faith based institutions and public schools be given priority.

4.      Debt forgiveness for the poorest nations of world should become a reality.

5.      Interfaith and intercultural dialogue to promote better understanding of our diverse communities and culture and our roots.

6.      Dedication to fulfilment of the UN Millennium Development Goals be given priority if the International community wanted to establish a sustainable economy in the world.

Regarding the Renewal of the United Nations we have working on the three point Agenda:

1.      Renewed UN Must increase its Security Council membership;

2.      Renewed UN Must become democratic in theory and practice to gain respect of the people of the world.

3.      Renewed UN Must establish a second chamber consists of recognised major faith leaders to provide moral and spiritual guidance to political leaders of the World.

Let me deal with other important issues in clarifying two terms Islam and Peace one by one. The Word “Islam”: The “root” of the word “Islam” in Arabic is SALAMA which is the origin of the words Peace and / or Submission, a submission to God and peace to all humanity. It is, thus, no wonder why the salutation in Islam is: “Al-Salamu Alaikum or Peace on You.”  In this regard, Prophet Mohammad ordered his fellow Muslims to salute others Muslims or non-Muslims with peace when he said: “Peace before Speech” It is a Rule in Islam that during war time, an enemy warrior who pronounces the word peace is totally immune. The United Nations has a link with Peace of the World but only an able UN and renewed UN can deliver Peace.

Let me deal with some principles which Islam teaches for establishing internal and external Peace.

Islamic Moral and spiritual teachings are the basis of internal Peace:

Here are some moral teachings of Islam, which comes from the idea of “promoting good and preventing evil” “Amar bil Maroof and Nahi a’nil Munkar” (The Holy Qur’an 3:104; 110; 9:71); Be Honest, (The Holy Qur’an: 22:78 and 16:92); Be truthful, (The Holy Qur’an:25:72 and 104:1); Be Pure, (The Holy Qur’an: 23:1-11); Be Unselfish, (The Holy Qur’an: 17:32); Be Just, (The Holy Qur’an: 4:135); Be good and do good to others, (The Holy Qur’an:2:83; 2:195 and 41:33); Be part of the change you wanted to see as God will not change unless you change for yourself, (The Holy Qur’an: 13:11); Love, (The Holy Qur’an:2:195,9:108 and 96:11); Listen and Obey, (The Holy Qur’an:64:16; Pray – Quite time, (The Holy Qur’an:7:205), Istikhara – Seek guidance from God, (The Holy Qur’an: 1.45).

Let me deal with these principles in some details which may be pre-requisite for peace:

1) Read and Learn! Read and learn in the name of God who has created. .[1]

2) Believe and work hard. Those who believe and work hard deserve God’s forgiveness and a great reward[2]

3) Be pious and respect your parents. God Almighty has prescribed that you worship none except Him and that you do good to your parents…[3]

4) Be honest and fight for your rights. You ought to be engaged in the effort to the way of God courageously and honestly…[4]

5) Be aware of tomorrow. Let every one, male and female, see what he/she is doing for tomorrow…[5]

“That is a past nation. It belongs to it what it has earned by itself and to you belongs what you have earned by yourselves, [6]

6)Be Good and Do good deeds: ‘And do good. Truly Allah loves the good-doers.’ [7]

7) Be Peaceful in all aspects of life; The word Islam is itself derived from the word peace (i.e. salaam). And Muslim is the best description of those who believe in this religion:

‘It is the religion of your father Abraham. It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Holy Qur’an), that the Messenger be a witness over you and you be a witness over mankind!’ [8] The essence of this religion is peaceful submission to the Lord of the worlds: ‘Yes, but whoever submits his face (himself) to Allah (i.e. follow Allah’s Religion of Islamic monotheism) and he is a good-doer, then his reward is with the Lord, on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.’ [9]

‘When his Lord said to him, “Submit (ie. Be a Muslim)!” He said, “I have submitted myself to the Lord of the worlds.” [10] ‘”And we were ordered to submit to the Lord of the worlds”’ [11]

Paradise is itself a place of peace: ‘For them will be the home of peace (paradise) with their Lord. And He will be their Helper and Protector because of what they used to do.’ [12] ‘Allah calls to the home of peace and guides whom He wills to a Straight path.’ [13]

Allah, the High, the Blessed, has named Himself “Peace”: ‘He is Allah other than Whom there is none (that has the right to be worshipped) the King, the Holy, the Peace…’ [14]

8) Be Merciful and patient: Mercy is the companion of peace in the salutation of Muslims. The Messenger of Islam is a Mercy to the worlds. And the slogan of Islam, repeated in every utterance and action is “In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.” The behaviour between the believers is one of patience and mercy:

‘Then he became one of those who believed and recommended one another to perseverance and patience, and (also) recommended one another to piety and compassion.’ [15]

9) Compassion and Forgiveness In Islam: Muslims are enjoined by the Holy Qur’an to “pardon and forbear… [For] do you not desire that God should forgive you your sins, seeing that God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace?” They are reminded of this duty when they pray five times daily to “Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate” or invoke “God the Forgiver” or “God the Pardoner” – four of God’s ninety-nine names.

Leadership must be forgiving: “And it was by God’s grace that thou [O Muhammad] didst deal gently with thy followers: for if thou hadst been harsh and hard of heart, they would indeed have broken away from thee. Pardon them, then, and pray that they be forgiven. And take counsel with them in all matters of public concern; then, when thou hast decided upon a course of action, place thy trust in God: for, verily God loves those who place their trust in Him.” [16]

Forgiveness: A different outlook and a new start: In Islamic history one may find an outlook of a different nature. When the Romans conquered any country, the first thing they would do is mass massacre. When the Muslims entered any country, they would give guarantees of life, property and honour to all the non-belligerents. Even in war a Muslims are not allowed to kill an old person, a woman, and a child, those who are crippled or disabled. Not only that, even trees are not to be cut and crops are not to be burnt. The entire Islamic history does not know of the concept of mass killing or massacre of enemies. One cannot find one single example of any Inquisition or ethnic cleansing on the name of Islam.

Ends cannot justify means: Another point is that Islam is very unique and firm in asserting that the ends cannot justify the means. This means that to achieve even good ends you could resort to evil means. The principle that Islam has enunciated is that

“Good and bad are not equal. Replace evil by good”. (The Holy Qur’an 41:34)

If you fight falsehood with falsehood it is falsehood that prevails. If you replace vice with vice, it is vice which triumphs. If you change evil by evil, it is evil which is victorious. Islam says that evil is to be eliminated by good. If you pursue this technique then only you would be able to fill the earth with goodness, and justice, and peace and fellow feeling. As far as the wrong (Munkar) is concerned, you are permitted to eliminate it. But as far as the truth and virtue (Ma’ruf) is concerned, it is not to be enforced by power.

10) No Coercion in Islam and Justice and Fairness to Non-Muslims: Unlike many other religions where people were offered either conversion and peace or death, Islam came with the just word of our creator. In the Holy Qur’an 2:256; God said “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error…” [17]There are many other verses in the Holy Qur’an that deals with the nature of spreading God’s message. One of my favourites which I keep quoting is Verse 10:99 “If it had been thy Lord’s Will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe!” [18]

Global Ethics and Interfaith Dialogue: I am reminded the words of Professor Hans Kung “No peace among nations without peace among the religions and no peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions”. I add “No peace without Justice and no Justice without forgiveness and compassion”.  Dialogue and agreement must be conscientiously applied and maintained, so to create bonds of love, care, trust and confidence. Its prerequisite is proper education and learning from one another.  We must speak and act truthfully with compassion. We must treat others as we wish others to treat us. Every human being must be treated, fairly, humanly and with dignity without any fear or discrimination.

I admire the work of Prince Hassan El Talal over the years for promoting better understanding between different faiths and advocating dialogue for resolving conflicts. His short book “Continuity, innovation and Change” is must read for every Muslim. I not only share his vision but also say that he represents true Islamic scholarship in the current debate on the issue of World peace. The building of peace requires an attitude of sanctity and reverence of life, freedom and justice, the eradication of poverty, dissolution of all forms of discrimination and the protection of the environment for personal and future generations. The ideals of peace include fundamental and global directives such as:

  • Do not kill i.e. have respect for life;
  • Do not steal i.e. deal honestly and fairly;
  • Do not lie i.e. speak and act truthfully;
  • Do not commit sexual immorality i.e. respect and love one another.

I confirm that Islam is faith of moderation and girder of unity for all mankind and blessing for mankind because Muslim model communities where:

  • All of God’s creation – whether human, animal or the environment – is valued and respected;
  • Where people want more to serve others than to get what they can for themselves;
  • Where no one has too little or too much;
  • Respecting the right of others to disagree with us;
  • Being sensitive and courteous to all.

The world will not change for the better unless the conscience of individuals is changed first. Remember, Remember, Remember. Evil is not in the body. Evil is in the mind, Therefore harm no body. Just change the mind.  Lord You said and your word is true! Love is stronger than hate. O God Almighty You are peace and from You peace comes. Bestow upon all of us Your peace and make our final destiny in your eternal abode of peace. Let there be respect for the earth, peace for is people, love in our lives, and delight in the good, forgiveness for our past wrongs and from now on a new start.

This is a brief sketch of the basis of true peace within our selves for the sake of all humanity. May God have mercy upon all of us and show us the true guidance for establishing Peace and making necessary changes in the United Nations. May God guide us all and show us the right path in our lifetime.

Amen.

Imam Sajid

Imam Sajid

Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid

Chairman Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony UK (MCRRH);

President National Association of British Pakistanis (NABPAK);

President Religions for Peace UK and Deputy President of European WCRP -Religions for Peace;

Chairman European Inter-cultural Dialogue;

Deputy President and International Secretary World Congress of Faiths (WCF);

Adviser to European Council of Religious Leaders/Religions for Peace (ECRL);

Adviser to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) Europe and International Affairs Committee (EIAC);

Link Officer Brighton and Hove Interfaith Contact Group (IFCG) for National and International Inter-faith matters;

European Representative of World Council of Muslims Inter-faith Relations (WCMIR)

[1] The Holy Qur’an, 96:1

[2] The Holy Qur’an, 5:9

[3] The Holy Qur’an, 17:23

[4] The Holy Qur’an, 22:78

[5] The Holy Qur’an, 59:18

[6] The Holy Qur’an, 2:134

[7] The Holy Qur’an, 2:195

[8] The Holy Qur’an, 22:78

[9] The Holy Qur’an, 2:112

[10] The Holy Qur’an, 2:131

[11] The Holy Qur’an, 6:71

[12] The Holy Qur’an,16:127

[13] The Holy Qur’an, 10:25

[14] The Holy Qur’an, 59:23

[15] The Holy Qur’an, 19:17

[16] The Holy Qur’an, 3:159

[17] The Holy Qur’an, 2:256

[18] The Holy Qur’an, 10:99

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New Vision Amid Economic Crisis – Daily Jang

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 30, 2009

2nd April  2009,  House of Commons Committee Room 14

img029 New Vision Amid The Economic Crisis G20 April 2nd 2009 Daily Jang article 1

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Vaisakhi 2009: The Promise of a New Start Amid the Economic Crisis

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 26, 2009

 

 

Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Chairperson, British Sikh Consultative Forum

Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Chairperson, British Sikh Consultative Forum

On Wednesday 21st of April we had the good fortune to be invited to a Vaisakhi celebration in the House of Commons organised by the British Sikh Consultative Forum (BSCF). Usually Vaisakhi is celebrated on April 14th but Parliament was in recess at that time. Despite coinciding with budget day a good number of MPs and Lords gathered to honour the occasion. Mr. Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, the Chairperson of the BSCF, gave the keynote address explaining the historical significance of Vaisakhi as a time of humility, reflection and new start for the Sikh faith that comprises 24 million worldwide and 700,000 in the UK. He applied the lessons of this period to the current economic crisis saying,

 

 

 

‘every crisis is an opportunity and contains within it the promise and hope of new beginnings. The present crisis highlights the unity and interconnectedness of all humanity….I believe the present crisis presents us with very real prospects to rethink and reorganise the global order.  The crisis has revealed to us the disconnection and void between policy making and moral practice which lie at its root.’ He emphasised that the human consciousness must be empowered with values in order to affect change.

‘Such values can be awakened within us by faith and spirituality’ he explained, as well as by ‘drawing on the repository of wisdom offered by the world’s faith traditions.’

He added that the UN needs to be strengthened to assist in international peace-making and to deliver the Millennium Development Goals.

 

 

He also emphasised the importance of marriage by adding, ‘to achieve cohesion, we need to strengthen the sacred institution of marriage, the building block of family and community life.’

For More Information http://www.BSCF.org.

 

 

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Three Faiths Celebration Article – Daily Jang

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 20, 2009

To Promote Inter-Religious Understanding Practical Steps Are Needed

Under the Auspices of Universal Peace Federation (UPF):

Brief Translation
Religion is the Only Way to Bring World Peace and to Bring People Closer Together But it is Usually Used as a Justification to Kill People.

Joint Celebration of the Holy Events of the Three Faiths of Abraham

Joint Celebration of the Holy Events of the Three Faiths of Abraham: April 14, 2009

Dr Raheem Khan quoted that the Holy Prophet’s teaching includes bringing negotiations of peace with non-Muslims in every way.

Under the auspices of the UPF, Muslims, Christians and Jewish leaders came together to address this meeting. They said practical steps are needed rather than just talk to bring inter-religious cooperation and understanding.

Dr Raheem Khan said, over the past centuries people are being killed in the name of religion while religion is the only way that there can be peace in the world. Interfaith dialogue is an important need of the day.

Yael Lindenboim said the current circumstances of the world demand that mutual hatred should be replaced by mutual understanding between communities.

There were messages from Canon Andrew White, the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ and the former Bishop of Jerusalem, the Rt. Rev’d. Riah Abu El-Assal. Imam Nabil Haider gave a recital from the Koran

There were recitals from different texts. The importance of each of the ceremonies was explained. The occasion was attended by a large number of distinguished members of different faith communities.

Joint Celebration of the Three Faiths April 14 2009 Daily Jang Article

Joint Celebration of the Three Faiths April 14 2009 Daily Jang Article

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Joint Celebration of the Holy Events of Three Faiths

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 14, 2009

Joint Celebration of the Holy Events of Three Faiths

14th April, 2009
The Joint Celebration of the Holy Events of the Three Faiths was inspired by a very successful Jewish – Muslim Celebration evening on October 21st 2006 following the 2nd Lebanese war. Yael Lindenboim had suggested that event because the Jewish High Holy Days and Eid celebration at the end of Ramadan occurred at roughly the same time that year. Yael was acknowledged at the start of this evening by Dr Raheem Khan who had been one of the leading members of the Community Cohesion and Interfaith committees organising this event. The evening began with messages from those who had been aware of the evening but could not be there. Canon Andrew White, the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’, had prepared a message that was presented by Sharon Booth his Personal Assistant and Project Manager of Foundation for the Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East. The Rt. Rev’d. Riah Abu El-Assal, the former Bishop of Jerusalem, also sent a message that was read by Vanessa Edwards.

Each of the three faiths representatives were to present scriptural readings about the holy event in their calendar and to explain both the significance and some of the traditions included in the celebration. There followed also some younger representatives presentations, cultural performances and food from each religious heritage.

Links for Event :   More Photos:
More Videos

Rev. Dr Shadrach Ofosuware PhD FRSA: Easter

Pastor Dr Shadrach Ofosuware PhD FRSA, the Pastor of Freedom Centre International, a multicultural Christian Pentecostal church with an aim to “Raise overcomers and set the captives Free” explained that Easter was a time of renewal as Jesus came to renew humankind by bringing salvation through his sacrifice.

Pastor Shadrach shared that Easter is the celebration of the Passover a time of atonement in which the High Priest makes a sacrifice of the Passover lamb for atonement of sins in the Holy of Holies. That shedding of blood atones for sins. Jesus shed his blood, like the Passover lamb, for our past, present and future sins. Therefore we can treat each other with love and care. Pastor Shadrach concluded ‘the blood of Jesus unites all nations and all people’.

Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid JP: Mawlid An-Nabi

Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid JP

Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid expressed how the birth and life of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) influenced the world. Muslims in various parts of the world celebrate his birth as a perfect human being, in the festival of Mawlid An-Nabi, who came not to start a new faith but to continue the faiths of Judaism and Christianity.

He pointed to the inclusive nature of the constitution of Medina as an example of his worldview. He did not create a constitution just for his followers but for all people of Medina, including those of other faiths, both for security and prosperity.

His character of forgiveness was also exhibited in the conflict with the population of Mecca. During the persecution he did not want to condemn any of the persecutors so that they could have a chance to realise their mistake and come round to support him.

After the victory over Mecca he was asked how he wanted to deal with the population of Mecca. He answered that he would deal with them in the same way that Joseph forgave his brothers for their wrong doing. This action led to an era of peace.

Edwin Shuker: Passover

Edwin Shuker, Passover Seder Traditions

The ‘Joint Celebration of the Three Faiths’ included presentations, music and food from each faith. Because of the oncoming sundown Edwin Shuker, the Vice President of the World Sephardic Council, began the evening with a reading from the Torah and explained the reason for the traditional Passover foods. ‘Passover is a symbol of hope, he said, ‘it is my favourite holiday in the Jewish calendar’ he said.

He felt  that the act of sharing this precious message is holy in itself. ‘When I heard from Dr Khan the inspiration for this event I felt that his passion for the event went way beyond him; from the God that unites us all.’

He explained some of the symbolism in Passover. He said that the removal of the leavened bread, ‘Hametz’, from the house prior to Passover, was an expression of removing the arrogance or pride. The Passover traditions are the longest rituals in the western world having been followed for 3300 years.

Edwin Shuker is also a member of the International Division of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and President of Justice for Jews of Arab Countries.


Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal

Much as I desire to be with you and all taking part in the Three Faith Traditions Celebrations, I am afraid, physically speaking, it is not going to be possible.  However, I want you to know that I will be with you all in the spirit.

I have always advocated co-living not simply co-existence; believing that this will be the only way left for us, humans, to live in peace and harmony in years to come.

Religion was never meant to separate people from people; irrespective of this or that person’s convictions.  Neither was it meant to imprison any and make him/her a slave of this or that tradition.  St. Paul was right when he challenged us to re-examine where we stand as believers when he said: “the letter kills but the spirit gives life.” We are called to bring life even in the midst of death.  How more when we are called to live together, recognize the otherness that is in the other, if we wish the other to recognize the otherness that is in us.  Religion has been used, misused and often abused, not by the outsiders, but those who claim to be the defenders of the faith!!! I am sick of that religion and I call on all who believe in the ONE GOD who created ALL of us to enjoy and appreciate the beautiful mosaic that the Almighty left for us humans to enjoy.  To ignore the other and / or pretend he/she does not exist, does not make him/her cease to be.

Easter reminds us of the love of God who cares for All His Children and want them to be united for what protects His beautiful image in each and everyone.  It is the day when we celebrate the victory of life over death, the victory of faith over doubt, the victory of hope over despair.  In the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, I dare say it is in the recognition of the other that I am recognized; in appreciating the other and his otherness that I am appreciated and my otherness; and it is “in giving that we receive.” Easter is also the Passover, when we are called to pass–over barriers and reach out with whatever love God has placed in our hearts to meet the so-called ‘other.’  Only in passing we will realize that we have come to a Brother and to a Sister, not simply another creature. Oh for the day when God in His Mercy will break down all the barriers that separate the Brother in God from the Brother in God, the Sister in God from the Sister in God.  This is the vision that St. John in the Book of Revelation saw and shared with us when the ‘new heaven and the new earth’ come in our midst and the Almighty be the God of All of us.

In closing, I wish to quote Joan Chittister: “Vision is not the ability to predict the future.  Vision is the foresight to create the future.”

God bless you all and know that this comes with my love and my best wishes.’

Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal is the former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem

Canon Andrew White

Canon Andrew White

‘Greetings from Baghdad, I am so sorry that I am unable to be with you today especially as my great friend and member of my board Dr Raheem Kahn is behind this event.

Today you come together as members of the three great monotheistic faiths, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Together we have one great thing in common we all believe that G-d is one. We all believe that G-d is part of our life and we believe interfaith activity does not make us weak in our faith it should makes us stronger and indeed more orthodox in what we believe and practice. Unlike many in the West I do not live and work with those who do not believe much. Most people believe firmly in their faith. Yet they are serious about engaging with the other.

At the same time we all realise that when religion goes wrong it goes very wrong. We do not deny that religion is at the core of so many of the problems in the world today, but if religion is part of the problem it must also be part of the solution. The solution begins with you; you have come together as one not two or three. You must hear each other’s story and you will soon discover that you are friends not enemies. It was the American poet Longfellow who said “Who is my enemy; it is the person whose story I have not heard”.

May the Lord, Hashem, Allah and the Almighty G-d be with you all forever.’

Canon Andrew White
Vicar of St Georges, Baghdad
President, Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East

————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Invitation letter:

Universal Peace Federation (UPF)
43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA
Tel : 020 7262 0985  Fax : 020 7724 2262
Email: peacefederationuk@gmail.com
Web:  www.uk.upf.org

The UPF Community Cohesion & Interfaith Working Committees would like to invite you to a joint celebration of the holy events of the three faiths on Tuesday April 14th, at 6.30pm at 43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA.

1)   MAWLID AN-NABI – The birth of the Prophet Mohammed, (peace be upon him) takes place on March 9th in 2009. Charity and food are distributed, and stories about the life of Muhammad are narrated with recitation of poetry by children. There are also large street processions and homes or mosques are decorated.

2)   PESACH – The season of Passover when Jews commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses begins on April 9th and finishes on April 17th. This is commemorated each year at the ‘Passover Seder’.

3)   EASTER commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the most important Christian festival. On Good Friday, Jesus Christ was executed by crucifixion. On Easter Sunday Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is celebrated. Easter is a time for families to worship and spend time together.

More information on all these Holy Days at BBC Religion website – www.bbc.co.uk/religion

As you well know these three Holy Days have a deep significance in the lives of the respective faith traditions and many who are less religious also hold these days as a special time in their yearly calendar – a time of togetherness in their families. As the 3 Holy Days are in close proximity, we are fortunate to have this opportunity to be together, to celebrate them all.

The Programme will include:

  1. Short talks about each festival delivered by prominent speakers from each Faith and illustrating the importance of the Holy Days to their faith community.
  2. The foods of the three faiths with particular significance for the celebrated holy events .
  3. Music, Poetry and Cultural Performances from each faith community.

More than anything we will have lovely people from all communities who want to share their Holy Day with others. We will learn from each other and enjoy a high spiritual experience, created by our collective good will. Peace, Harmony and Joy will reign!

Should you wish to contribute (or someone you know) please let us know!!

Yours Sincerely,

Dr Raheem Khan – special consultant to the three faiths celebration
Saleha Jaffer – Joint Chair of CCWG and Community Cohesion/preventing extremism consultant
Margaret Ali – Joint chair of CCWG & Director-UPF UK
Robin Marsh – Secretary General of UPF UK

Other members of the Community Cohesion Committee include
Cllr. Liaquat Ali: former Mayor of London Borough of Waltham Forest
Mrs Ruth Louise Barnett: Holocaust educator
Cllr. Janet Baddeley: Watford Borough Council
Habibah Anwar Bhatti: BME Development and Community Cohesion officer, Hastings  V. A.
Cllr. Mushtaq Lasharie: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea & Chair of 3rd World Solidarity
Brenda Hodgson: Peace activist
Alan Rainer: Interfaith activist & RE teacher
Hilde Rapp: Conflict Resolution & Co – Chair, Centre of International Peacebuilding
Ajit Singh MBE: Interfaith activist
Tim Miller: Chair of Hastings Interfaith Forum
Mathew Huish: Chair of Faithlink (student interfaith group)
Shamsuddin Agha: President of Indian Muslim Federation – UK
Mr Brij-Mohan Gupta: Chair of Hindu Culture and Heritage Society – UK
Cllr. Faizullah Khan: Former Speaker of London Borough of Hackney
Mr Edwin Shuker: Vice President of the World Sephardic of Congress
Cllr. Greta Sohoye: Croydon Council
Cllr. Lurline Champagne: London Borough of Harrow Council
Mr David Sasson: Peace Activist
Amarjeet-Singh Bhamra PhD IHM: Interfaith activist and Ayurveda Consultant

Interfaith Committee members include below:
Dr Ghayassudin Siddiqui
Dr. Christoph Von Luttitz
Mr Sukhbir Singh
Mrs Joyce Suda
Mrs Ruth Barnett
Mr Mathew Huish
Dr Raheem Khan
Mr Martin Moloney

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Jubilee Debt Campaign – G20 – New Vision Amid the Economic Crisis: 2nd April 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 11, 2009

Jubilee Debt Campaign

The dust has settled on last week’s G20 summit, and it’s time to ask: did world leaders Put People First?


Our verdict: it was high on rhetoric, and high on headline figures, but overall the G20 failed
to deliver the radical changes that are desperately needed.

 

Shortly before the summit, we released a new report warning of the risks of a new debt crisis emerging from the financial turmoil, as already unpayable poor country debts continue to grow. The G20 summit didn’t calm those fears. In fact, it took some worrying decisions – such as massive extra funding for the International Monetary Fund, without fundamental reforms to put people before Washington economics – that have begun to take us down that path. Read our full G20 response

But despite these setbacks, the G20 summit is not the end of the story. As one placard had it at the G20 protest, ‘The beginning is nigh’. World leaders may still be stuck in their old way of thinking, but we’ve started a global discussion about how to transform the financial system to replace 30 years of discredited economic thinking.

That discussion will continue in the months ahead. In June, the United Nations will host a major meeting on the financial crisis. The G20 leaders have said they will meet again in six months time, and the G20 Finance Ministers are due to meet in Scotland in the autumn.

This crisis is still a massive opportunity to clean up global finance. But it’s going to take continued and determined campaigning throughout 2009, and beyond, to make that happen.

Jubilee Debt Campaign

http://www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/

 

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UPF Recommendations for the G-20 Summit April 2nd 2009 – London

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on March 30, 2009

UPF Recommendations for the G-20 Summit April 2nd – London

When the leaders of the G-20 convened in Washington DC last November, they committed themselves to “lay the foundation for reform to help ensure that a global crisis…does not happen again.”

If there is to be lasting change, the G-20 must acknowledge that the current financial crisis did not happen by accident, and it was by no means inevitable. The root cause of the problem has as much to do with moral, indeed spiritual failure, as governmental or financial mismanagement. For this reason, improved fiscal, economic and trade policies alone are not enough. The attitudes and behaviour of people, institutions and even entire nations must change.

The social sphere that comprises business, trade, and finance is embedded in a wider culture and ethos that, during the best of times in human history, provide the moral and spiritual framework within which we, as human beings, live day to day. Thus, the G-20 must engage in deeper reflection on the moral and spiritual infrastructure that forms the foundation of life in the world. We take an enormous risk when we either ignore or de-value that reality.

Therefore, as the G-20 gathers in London, we offer the following recommendations:

Ethical Reform: In addition to consideration of critical factors such as energy, security and climate change, food security, the rule of law, and the fight against terrorism, poverty and disease, an even greater need is for ethical reform. This call for ethical reform should be accompanied by greater transparency and fairness whether in financial markets, trade or ‘tax havens’ or in standards of good governance both in developing and developed nations.

The Importance of Social Institutions: Wealth, prosperity and human security are dependent not only on the proper functioning of governments, banks and markets, but also the proper functioning of families, communities, schools, and faith-based institutions, where character is shaped and our core values are learned.

Sustainable Growth: We call on the G-20 to promote sustainable growth for developed and developing nations.

Marriage and Family: Strong, stable, loving families are profoundly relevant to the quality of economic life. The G-20 should give consideration to the relevance of family life to wider economic realities.

Character Education: Character education, not only in the family or faith-based institution, but also in our schools, will help assure a thriving moral culture that is necessary for a robust and stable economy. Hard work, thrift, honesty, responsibility, empathy are moral virtues that are essential to a good business and a good economy.

Unselfishness: At the heart of many of the world’s greatest religious and moral worldviews is an emphasis on the universal value of unselfishness, and the control of self-centeredness. While traditionally, free markets are guided by a profit incentive, that human inclination must be balanced by higher principles such as altruism and service to others. We call upon the G-20 nations to dedicate 0.7% of Gross National Income at least by 2013 (agreed upon by developed nations in 1970 by UN General Assembly Resolution and reaffirmed on several occasions since) to support overseas development assistance and the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals. We would encourage developed nations to forgive debts of the poorest nations of the world especially those accumulated by despotic regimes and that are now shackling succeeding democracies. This altruism demonstrates ‘living for the sake of others’ within the human family.

We are All Members of One Human Family: Humanity is one universal family. Despite the diversity of race, nationality, ethnicity and religion, we are all human and we all derive from a common source or origin, known by many as God, Allah, Jehovah, Brahman, the ultimate reality. We call for increased emphasis upon interfaith and intercultural dialogue between and beyond the nations of the G20 to promote understanding of our common root. Let us never forget that we are one family under God.

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G20 Put People First Demonstration – March 28th 2009

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on March 28, 2009

G20 Put People First Demonstration: March 28th 2009

This was a good opportunity to highlight important issues regarding fairness, relieving poverty, injustice and climate change. Among the 35,000 people involved there were a wide ranging number of groups included in the demonstration. Where else could you share a walk with ‘Bananas for Justice’ who were emphasising fair trade issues and a paper mache dragon that was promoting the World Development Movement? The demo was preceded by a church service led by the Bishop of London, the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres in Westminster Central Hall. For much of the march from Westminster to Hyde Park I was helping to carry the Jubilee Debt Campaign banner or placards. We were following a group including one with a Mohican haircut and another with bright pink hair who took turns to power a speaker system through bicycle power and chanted or sang in a way that was well practiced and humourous.

The speakers promoted issues of fairness and justice not just within the financial system but throughout our entire human family. Those on stage or on video repeatedly illustrated the injustice of the current economic and trading system. Rather than the G20 being the goal and end of the campaign the feeling from speakers and activists was that this is only one step in a long campaign to rectify the current unfairness. The current crisis was repeatedly referred to by participants and speakers as a watershed that is provoking reflection and must not be followed by ‘business as usual’.

Photo Link: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/PeaceFederationUK/PutPeopleFirst#

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Inter-religious Cooperation Beyond Dialogue

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on March 17, 2009

Inter-religious Cooperation Beyond Dialogue  – London, UK

On Saturday 28th February the UPF Interfaith Committee continued their series of events showcasing models of Inter-religious Cooperation Beyond Dialogue. Mr Sukhbir Singh, the London representative of the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, explained how the Sikh community in Birmingham supported the Hindu community during the Ram Katha Vedic Festival in the Birmingham NEC in 2001. After telling the story from the perspective of the Sikh community, Mr Singh was followed by the director of the festival, Mr Dinesh Chauhan, in sharing the perspective of the Hindu community. After a description of langar, the holy and humble sharing of food which is essential to the Sikh faith, Mr Singh described the scale of support being offered to the festival: A marquee was to be erected in the NEC car park where food for 10,000 people would be prepared daily. Both communities had encountered episodes of obstacles, which frequently threatened to jeopardise the entire festival. After some miraculous breakthroughs, the 9-day event was executed successfully. There were no emergencies, no health and safety issues. The event was highly praised by the then Birmingham Lord Mayor. The stories were so touching that many had tears in their eyes.

Mr Sukhbir Singh and Mr Dinesh Chauhan

Mr Sukhbir Singh and Mr Dinesh Chauhan

Many Sikh organisations actually could not comprehend or approve of this initiative. Many Hindus had second thoughts about working with Sikhs – however the perseverance of great leaders like Mr Chauhan, Mr Sukhbir Singh  and Mr. Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh the Chairman of the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, AND with the help of God, they could overcome all obstacles and bring about such a glorious result of such impact that many cannot forget this precious experience. To date, it gives them much joy and empowerment as the testimonies demonstrated. It was very pleasing to see that friendships have developed and strengthened over the years because of this experience of Inter religious Initiative Beyong Dialogue.

Miss Balhar Kaur, the daughter of Mr Singh, gave an account of her experience as an 11-year old volunteer within the kitchen, or langar. She could testify to the electric and deeply spiritual atmosphere created when Hindus and Sikhs cooperated in the preparation of food for the festival participants. In homage to her father, she announced that “anything is possible with my Dad.”

Mr Sukhbir Singh's family in the UPF Office

Mr Sukhbir Singh's family in the UPF Office

Hindus and Sikhs worked side-by-side in the preparation of food, chanting God’s name together, truly creating the spirit of one family under God.

After the presentations, discussion circles were organised in order to generate new ideas of how our respective faith communities could offer something to another faith community. Some of the ideas mentioned included: serving langar in the Middle East as part of the ongoing Middle East Peace Initiative; organising an Interfaith Festival of Forgiveness around the time of the UN International Day of Peace; empowering youth cooperation amongst faith communities; and celebrating the gift of service.

Krishna Chauhan, the son of Mr Dinesh Chauhan, took the opportunity to promote an upcoming event promoting unity between Sikhs and Hindus through the joint celebration of the festival of Holi: On Sunday 15th March the Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College will host the Redbridge Nagar Holi Celebration. Everyone was invited to join in between midday and 4pm.

The next event will be a joint festival between the Abrahamic faiths celebrating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Pesach & Easter. At 43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA, on Tuesday 14th of April at 6.00pm. For more information please contact 020 7262 0985 or http://www.uk.upf.org

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Perspectives on Iraq

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on October 14, 2008

Last night we held a meeting entitled ‘Perspectives on Iraq’ to hear the views of those Iraqis who understood something of the current situation in Iraq.
We were fortunate to have Dave Anderson MP who is the Joint President of the Labour Friends of Iraq and a long time official of the Trade Union, Unison. Dave Anderson expressed that he had been opposed to the 2003 invasion of Iraq but had become involved in the Labour Friends of Iraq. He had accepted an invitation to visit Iraq from the Iraqi Trade Union movement who, he discovered, had welcomed the invasion as a liberation from Sadaam Hussein. He felt the most important point was to listen to the Iraqi people in how to help them solve their problems. Dave had taken Iraqis to the North East to his constituency to visit business people and to show them how the political and civil system worked. He said, “we’re a helping hand” from which Iraq can gain a lot but also we have a lot to learn from Iraq which is, after all, the cradle of civilisation.

Talar Salih Faiq, a UK representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), an autonomous region in Iraq since 1991. She explained that it is a secular Government that observed human rights and that 27% of the politicians in the KRG are women, the highest in the whole Middle East. There were some critical comments from the audience about corruption in the KRG to which Talar replied that every nation in the world has to struggle against corruption. The Kurdish people have suffered a great deal and are only now coming into development. It will take some time to become a mature democracy with refined systems against corruption. She, and all she knew, were doing all they could to help the people of the KRG and the rest of Iraq.
Gary Kent, who is the Parliamentary Adviser to the Kurdish Regional Government and Director of the Labour Friends of Iraq, said he wanted to listen to the Iraqi people themselves. Dave Anderson and he had wanted a ‘warts and all’ view of Iraq. The Kurdish people are the largest people without their own nation. They have every reason to be bitter after their great suffering. Even so the KRG have big plans including a huge airport that will have the 5th largest runway in the world. He expressed that contact with the wider world and in particular investment is very important both for Iraq and for the KRG.
Sadiq Al-Wohali had just returned from a visit to Iraq part sponsored by the UK Football Academy. He had been in 2007 amid all the violence to train football coaches in Sadr city when 40 people graduated his course. This year he returned to train coaches in several more areas around Iraq. Surprisingly he said there are several football teams in Sadr city including a women’s team! Aziz Al-Naib drew attention to the plight of refugees within Iraq and talked of his upcoming visit to make a documentary film.
One of the final comments of the night was from Dave Anderson. He emphasised his determination to continue to help the people of Iraq. ‘I will work with whoever you vote into power. If someone is not good you have the right to work to get them voted out. That’s the great thing about democracy.’

Dave Anderson MP, Aziz Al-Naib, Robin Marsh, Talar Faiq Salih, Gary Kent

Dave Anderson MP, Aziz Al-Naib, Robin Marsh, Talar Faiq Salih, Gary Kent

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UPF Marriage and Family Committee Members

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on July 10, 2008

UPF Marriage and Family Committee Members:

Co-Chair: Edward Hartley

Co-Chair: Dr Raheem Khan, Muslim Council of Britain

Lady Juliet Atacko-Gregory

Dr Carole Ulanowsky-Rose, (Retd)  School of Health and Social Welfare, Open University

Dr Satwant Singh Multani

Mr. Jatinder Birdi

Mrs. Hadia Saad

Mrs. Keitha Browning

Mr. Alex Bourchardt

Mrs. Suman Datta

Judge Khurshid Drabu

Ms. Nushrat Kassam

Professor Okeem

Mr. Mark Pinchin

Ms. Xuan Tran

Mrs. Patricia Hartley

Advisers:

Imam Dr. Abduljalil Sajid,  Chairman Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony UK

Ven. Dr. Sumana Siri,  Chief Sangha Nayaka (Buddhist Cardinal) of the U.K. & Europe

Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, Former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem

Mrs. Khailash Puri, FRSA  – East-West Family Circle

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