PeaceDevelopmentNetwork's Weblog

Peace, Understanding, Fairness, Development and MDGs

  • House of Commons - Day of G20 in London - Promote One Family Under God
  • Interfaith Consideration of Forgiveness and Reconciliation
  • Follow me on Twitter @ukUPF

  • Subscribe

  • UPF Posts Record

    September 2017
    M T W T F S S
    « Jan    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    252627282930  
  • Meta

Posts Tagged ‘values’

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

Advertisements

Posted in Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Conflict Minerals: The International Response

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on April 5, 2014

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

Universal Peace Federation – UK News August 2013 – 3

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 16, 2013

Universal Peace Federation – UK Newsletter August 2013

Universal Peace Federation – UK Newsletter August 2013 Page 3

Posted in Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Evening With Keith Best, CEO of Freedom from Torture

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 6, 2013

Keith Best Being Interviewed 250As a part of the ‘Doing Well and Doing Good’ project, Youth Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK hosted ‘An Evening With Keith Best, CEO of Freedom from Torture‘ on Tuesday 29th January 2013. The event was attended by approximately 30 young people in a House of Commons committee room and was chaired by Baroness Howells. Through the event, we explored Keith Best’s motivation behind his work at Freedom from Torture, before going through practical tips he had for young people to positively contribute to society.(Event Photo Link)Mr Best firstly shared his experiences traveling through Asia after he finished his degree at the University of Oxford. He explained how these were very formative experiences in his life as he found himself living frugally and traveling by railway across continents. Through traveling, he explains how he became a world citizen through a greater awareness of humanity’s ‘shared aspirations’. We went on to pose the question of which role models have inspired him in his life, to which he answered: individuals who challenged the status-quo of their time to bring positive social change such as William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King Jr.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Event Reports, Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

UPF – UK Statement on the Recent Riots

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on August 12, 2011

Universal Peace Federation - UKIt is with great sadness that we saw the recent chaos and criminality on our streets of London and other major cities around the UK. Our condolences go out to the families of those who have lost their lives during the turmoil. Several images and statements are enduring. The first is the helplessness of an overstretched Police Force to prevent the sudden escalation of criminal behaviour, the emergence of undercurrents of jealously, greed, violence and inter-community tensions. When Police authority was removed real emotions and motivations were released in a crude and raw expression. ‘You’re rich we’re poor but we rule the streets tonight’ was an expression of the crude, underlying feelings. In response many Londoners utilised social media for a good purpose to gather to clean the streets the next morning.

There have been many noble but unsuccessful efforts to assist the most vulnerable and deprived of UK society. It would be wrong to blame these riots upon these failures. We should instead recognise that there is a widespread failure to inculcate correct values that would strengthen the conscience of individuals. Irrespective of the opportunity to steal or loot individuals should not take the chance but respect other’s property. Similarly Directors of companies should not abuse their position to exploit others. Politicians should not abuse their positions and power. Journalists, and religious leaders, also should not abuse their position. The Universal Peace Federaton believes we should live for the sake of others in creating one family of humankind under an inclusive, loving God and that we are morally accountable for our actions. These values should be taught primarily by example in the family, but also in schools, religious institutions and the wider community.

Posted in Community Cohesion | Tagged: , , , , | 25 Comments »

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 »

Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh: Effective Arguments for Immigration Debate

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 24, 2009


‘Effective Arguments for an Immigration Debate’ *

Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh

House of Commons, ‘Immigrants Contribution to the UK’

24th November 2009

Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Lord Bikhu Parekh, Chair of ‘Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain’ Report in 2000, started with the classification of the audience. He mainly classified the audience into two groups: converted (ie generally supportive of immigration) and racists or nationalists. “What I would like to do is to ask a different kind of question: We can easily talk to the converted and convince them that immigration is a wonderful thing; because we are all immigrants; this is the kind of things they want to hear. So it is easy to convince the converted.  It is impossible to convince the racists. Those who are racists, those who don’t like black and browns at all and those who are nationalists in the mould of Enoch Powell, either  don’t want black people or want to keep a certain way of life.”

Referring to the points of remittances mentioned by Best, Lord Parekh said, “Keith made a very beautiful argument that when you go to Bangladesh or to Mirpur or to India there are villages where remittances from immigrants here have made a profound difference. Now if I go to the audiences here and say look with the same kind of argument; they will say I don’t know what you are trying to tell me. This argument has a meaning only if I have a moral obligation to help people in that part of the world. I don’t recognize any such obligation. So while that argument is very attractive to us but it will not cut any ice with this audience I am thinking about.”

Britain had no tradition of immigration
Lord Parekh mentioned that Britain had no tradition of immigration. “It is worth bearing in mind that until now certainly in Britain we have had people coming from outside but they are not immigrants. They are asylum seekers; refugees; we never positively went out to recruit immigrants, in a way that Canada and Australia and the United States did. Therefore, we have no tradition of immigration and therefore we have no vocabulary in terms of which we can talk about immigration. That is the first point to bear in mind,” said Lord Parekh and added, “When people came in the 1880s; 1920s, they were not immigrants; they were asylum seekers, they were refugees. So what kind of immigration that we are talking about.”

Immigration is a post-war phenomenon
Lord Parekh said, “It is a post-war phenomenon. Therefore, it’s a new to British life. We must bear that in mind. Because there are no old arguments, the traditional arguments upon which we can rely; we have to create our own tradition of arguments.”

Lord Parekh in the aftermath of that report on immigration went round the country and began to ask himself: “Can I speak only to satisfy my conscience or do I want to achieve something? And if I wanted to achieve something; how do I relate to the audience; what is my audience? Racists I cannot touch, converted I don’t want to touch. In the middle there are 75% to 80% of the people. What language they do understand?  At the same time  it’s not enough to know what language they do understand is also important that I should share the value of that language.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Dr. L.M. Singhvi ‘Interfaith Imperatives’ May 2007

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 1, 2009

Posted in Interfaith | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a 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 »

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

Posted in Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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

Posted in Peace and Development | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted in Interfaith | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Eliminating World Poverty – DfID Consultation Ends May 27th

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 22, 2009

Please note this consultation is now closed:

Please find a copy of an invitation from the Department for International Development to contribute to their white paper on Eliminating World Poverty – Deadline May 27th

http://consultation.dfid.gov.

Topics:
1. Building our common future
2. Global economic growth
3. Climate change
4. Fragile and conflict-affected countries
5. International institutional reform

19 February 2009 (Original Announcement)
New UK White Paper on International Development
“The global community faces enormous challenges. The economic crisis, food Security, climate change, energy insecurity, conflict, rising population – these are the challenges of unprecedented magnitude which affects us all, and in particular the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. The nature of this interdependence means that it has never been so important to invest in our common future.”
Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development

Over the last decade, there have been massive gains in reducing global poverty yet there are some big threats as we leave a strong era of global economic growth.

The global financial crisis is bringing the most significant economic downturn for decades which could devastate the developing world as 90 million more people are forced into poverty at the end of the year. The effects of climate change are increasingly apparent and conflict as well as weak government is preventing progress for millions of people. The global economic crisis has also revealed a number of flaws in the international system.

Have your say
The Department for International Development will be producing a new White Paper this summer which will outline how the government can tackle global poverty in the context of these long term challenges.

1. Building our common future
2. Global economic growth
3. Climate change
4. Fragile and conflict-affected countries
5. International institutional reform


Eliminating World Poverty: Assuring our Common Future
A consultation document

Foreword
The UK Government believes that helping the poor is not only a moral imperative, but in our increasingly interdependent world, it is in our long-term interests. It is an essential element of our international policy that enables the UK to be a successful world leader and a strong force for good.

Later this year DFID will publish a new White Paper on International Development setting out how the UK Government aims to continue helping deliver better lives for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. A world shocked by recent global events and more connected than ever before means new approaches are required for the challenges we now face in pursuit of our mission.

Despite these adverse events of seismic proportion and consequence, we must acknowledge the remarkable progress in reducing world poverty over the last decade. In the UK, we can be proud of our collective contribution to this success, across Government, NGOs, faith groups, trade unions, private sector and many others. The three previous White Papers (1997, 2000 and 2006) have provided the UK with a clear focus on eliminating poverty, and have helped ensure that the UK plays a key role in lifting 3 million people out of poverty every year. Fighting global poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals will continue to be at the heart of our mission. We must continue our work on core areas such as getting more children to school, tackling HIV/AIDS and malaria, and continuing to put gender equality at the heart of our agenda. But we also need to recalibrate elements of our agenda to deal with the changed circumstances which now prevail.

This consultation document sets the current context and then outlines some preliminary ideas and poses a series of questions on four priority areas. I encourage all concerned to respond to these questions. We also welcome comments on how we can further refine our existing agenda, for example on supporting basic services such as health and education. The Government relies on your contributions of experience, knowledge and wisdom as key inputs to its policy formulation.

I very much look forward to your responses. Please send your comments by Wednesday 27th May 2009 to whitepaper@dfid.gov.uk or by post to White Paper Team, DFID, 1 Palace Street, London SW1E 5HE.
Rt. Hon Douglas Alexander MP,
Secretary of State for International Development, March 2009

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

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.

 

 

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

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

Posted in Community Cohesion, Interfaith | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted in Community Cohesion, Interfaith | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »