On 8 November 2014, the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Caliph, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad delivered the keynote address at the 11th National Peace Symposium hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK.
During his address, His Holiness categorically condemned the activities of ISIS and other extremists groups as “entirely un-Islamic” and said they were “viciously spreading a network of terror” in the world.
The event was held at the Baitul Futuh Mosque, the largest mosque in Western Europe. Guests incuded Government Ministers, Ambassadors of State, Members of both Houses of Parliament and various other dignitaries. The theme of this year’s Peace Symposium was “Khilafat, Peace and Justice”.
During the event, His Holiness also presented Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Founder and CEO Mary’s Meals UK, with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Prize for the Advancement of Peace in recognition of his outstanding efforts to provide food and education to hundreds of thousands of children in the developing world.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad began his address by speaking of the increasing threat of terrorism and extremism in today’s world.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“Over the past year, one particular group has viciously spread its network of terror and has become a cause of major concern for the world. I am speaking of the group of extremists commonly known as ‘ISIS’ or ‘I.S.’ The actions of this terrorist group are not only impacting Muslim countries, but also countries in Europe and further afield are also being affected by its brutalities.”
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said it was highly “disturbing” that hundreds of Muslim youths from all parts of the world were being attracted by ISIS and were going to Syria and Iraq to fight for them. His Holiness said: “the agenda and objectives of ISIS and their so-called Khalifa are utterly horrific and barbaric”.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad ended his address by questioning how terrorist or extremist groups were being funded and by appealing for world peace through true justice.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“I would also hereby like to question those people or organisations who claim that Islam is a religion of violence on the basis of the atrocities of the extremist groups. I would ask them to consider how these groups are able to acquire such funds that allow them to continue their extremist activities and warfare for so long? How do they acquire such sophisticated weapons? Do they have arms industries or factories?
It is quite obvious that they are receiving the help and support of certain powers. This could be direct support from very oil-rich states or it could be other major powers covertly providing assistance.”
Siobhain McDonagh, MP and Chair of the “All Party Parliamentary Group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’ said:
“I congratulate the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on its 125th anniversary. It is a community that has always promoted peace and harmony in the world.”
Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for Communities said:
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is my Community – it is my home and this is my place of worship.”
Rt Hon Ed Davey, MP, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change said:
“In the world today we see ‘politics of division’ in so many parts but under the leadership of His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community promotes a ‘politics of unity’ with the aim of establishing unity across the world.”
Rt Hon Justine Greening, MP, Secretary of State for International Development said:
“Tonight is a simple but powerful event where people are being brought together to discuss and understand each other and to eat together as families do.”
Most Reverend Kevin McDonald, Archbishop Emeritus of Southwark, who also read a special message from the Vatican, said:
“I strongly applaud the huge contribution being made by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in spreading peace in the world.”
The recipient of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Prize for the Advancement of Peace, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, CEO Mary’s Meals UK said:
“I am deeply honoured and moved to receive this award and thank His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad for this honour. The work of Mary’s Meals is very simply to feed children so that they are able to go to school.”
Both before and after the proceedings, His Holiness met personally with various dignitaries and guests and also met with members of the western and Asian media.