On 4 December 2012, the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and Fifth Khalifa, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad delivered an historic keynote address at the European Parliament in Brussels to a packed audience of more than 350 guests representing 30 countries.
The event was hosted by the newly launched ‘European Parliament Friends of Ahmadiyya Muslims Group’, a group that highlights that the cause of peace is at the heart of the Muslim faith. The group is headed by Dr Charles Tannock, Conservative MEP for London.
Addressing the event Dr Charles Tannock MEP said ‘Ahmadi Muslims are a welcome example of tolerance in the world.’ He condemned the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and said ‘the Ahmadi motto of Love for All, Hatred for None is a welcome antidote to the extremist Jihadists’.
During his thirty-five minute address, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad called on the European Union to preserve its unity; addressed the issue of increased immigration to Western countries; advocated for equality in international relations and spoke at length about Islam’s key teachings in relation to developing world peace.
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said that in the modern world many people viewed Islam as a religion that promoted violence and extremism and blamed it for many of the conflicts taking place in various parts of the world. He said that such allegations were particularly unjust given that “the very meanings of the word Islam are ‘peace’ and ‘security’.”
The Khalifa spoke of the need not just for co-operation within Europe, but called for global unity. His Holiness said:
“Speaking from an Islamic perspective, we should strive for the entire world to unite together. In terms of currency the world should be united. In terms of business and trade the world should be united. And in terms of freedom of movement and immigration, cohesive and practical policies should be developed, so that the world can become united.”
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad also spoke about conflicts in the Arab World and Middle East. He said that whilst the Western world had openly expressed ‘outrage and concern’ at the situations in Syria and Libya, they did not seem as concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people.
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“This perceived double standard is causing grievances and malice to increase in the hearts of people from Muslim countries against the major powers of the world. This anger and animosity is extremely dangerous and could boil over and explode at any time…
Let it be clear that I am not speaking in support or favour of any particular individual country. What I wish to say is that all forms of cruelty, wherever they exist, must be eradicated and stopped, regardless of whether they are perpetrated by the people of Palestine, the people of Israel or the people of any other country.”
Tunne Kelam MEP, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Friends of Ahmadiyya Muslims Group, said he was attending the event because it was an opportunity to ‘join in an aspiration for peace’. He praised the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat for ‘rejecting all violence and terrorism’ and pledged to support the Jamaat globally.
Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Friends of Ahmadiyya Muslims Group, spoke of her long term relationship with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in the United Kingdom. She said that the Jamaat’s motto was ‘an inspiration which we desperately need in the modern world.’
Claude Moraes MEP, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Friends of Ahmadiyya Muslims Group, said the event had ‘attracted a bigger turnout than we get to any meetings at the European Parliament’.
Jean Lambert MEP, Chair of European Parliament’s South Asia Delegation, said that she would pursue with the Pakistani Government the issue of Ahmadi Muslim voting rights. She said it was necessary that all parties had the right to vote freely and without discrimination.