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Time has come to stop blaming only Muslims for the World’s Problems

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On 17 March 2018, the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad delivered the keynote address at the 15th National Peace Symposium hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK.

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The event was held at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London with an audience of more than 900, from 31 countries, including 570 non-Ahmadi guests comprising Ministers, Ambassadors of State, Members of Parliament and various other dignitaries and guests.

During the event, His Holiness presented Angelina Alekseeva, the representative of Dr Leonid Roshal, a noted paediatrician from Moscow, Russia and Chairman of international charity Fund to Help Children in Disasters and Wars, with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Prize for the Advancement of Peace in recognition of his outstanding medical and humanitarian services.

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During his address, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community would never cease its efforts to spread peace in the world. He urged world leaders and governments to

    “change their priorities”

and to help ease the suffering of people in developing nations.

His Holiness vehemently condemned the international arms trade and said that those nations who were producing weapons being used in war-torn countries had “blood on their hands”. He also said that children born into extreme poverty or in areas of conflict were easy and vulnerable targets for terrorist recruiters. His Holiness spoke of the dangers of extremism amongst Muslims and the increasing threat of far-right nationalists. His Holiness also refuted claims that Islamic teachings promoted any form of terrorism or extremism.

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Speaking about the continued efforts of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to spread peace and to promote mutual respect and tolerance, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “Our faith demands us to try and urge people, in all parts of the world, whether rich or poor, whether powerful or oppressed, whether religious or irreligious, towards peace and justice.”

Speaking about global priorities, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “In recent times, one of the issues that many politicians and intellectuals have debated and campaigned about, is climate change and specifically a reduction in carbon emissions. Certainly, striving to protect the environment and to look after our planet is an extremely precious and noble cause. Yet, at the same time, the developed world, and especially the world’s leaders, should also realise that there are other issues that must be tackled with the same urgency.”

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Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

    “People living in the world’s poorest nations do not concern themselves with the environment, or the latest figures on carbon emissions; rather, they wake up each day wondering if they will be able to feed their children.”

Highlighting the long-term consequences of poverty, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “We must not consider such hardship as other people’s problems. Instead, we must realise that the result of such poverty has severe implications for the wider-world and directly affects global peace and security. The fact that children have no option, but to spend their days collecting water for their families, means that they are unable to go to school, or to attain any form of education. They are stuck in a vicious cycle of illiteracy and poverty that is seemingly endless and hugely damaging to society.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

    “Frustrations are being preyed upon by extremists, who entice the impoverished with financial reward and by promising a better life for their families. Similarly, the targeting of illiterate youth means that the extremists have free rein to radicalise and brainwash them.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad further said:

    “Poor nations must not be looked down upon, rather we should consider them as part of our family – our brothers and sisters. By helping the developing nations stand on their own feet, and by giving their people opportunities and hope, we will actually be helping ourselves and safeguarding the future of the world.”

Referring to the rise of nationalism and the threat of the far-right in the Western world, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “As a result of recent terrorist attacks and widespread immigration to the West, there has also been a dangerous rise in nationalism in many Western countries, evoking fears of the dark days of the past. It is particularly disturbing that far-right groups have become increasingly vocal and have seen their membership rise and have even made political gains. They too are extremists, who seek to poison Western society, by inciting the masses against those who have a different colour of skin or who hold different beliefs.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

    “In addition, the rhetoric of certain powerful world leaders has become increasingly nationalistic and belligerent, as they have pledged to put the rights of their own citizens above all others. I do not dispute the fact that it is the responsibility of governments and leaders to look after their own people and to protect their interests. Certainly, as long as the leaders act with justice, and do not infringe upon the rights of others, attempts to better the lives of their citizens is a great virtue. However, policies that are based upon selfishness, greed and a readiness to forfeit the rights of others are wrong and a means of sowing discord and division in the world.”

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His Holiness spoke of the hypocrisy rooted in the international arms trade and the danger it posed to the world. To boost their national economies, world powers were selling “inhumane” weapons that were destroying towns and cities and unjustly robbing millions of people of their futures.

He said that in countries like Syria, government soldiers, rebels and terrorists were fighting one another but despite their divergent interests, they all had one thing in common – that the vast majority of their weapons have been produced externally in the developed world.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “Quite openly and proudly, the major powers are trading arms that are being used to kill, maim and brutalise innocent people. Regrettably, such nations are focused only on attempts to boost their economy and to maximise their nation’s capital, without pausing for thought at the consequences. They desperately seek to attain the largest possible contracts to sell destructive weapons that, once fired, do not distinguish between the innocent and the guilty. They proudly sell weapons that make no exception for children, women or the infirm. They shamelessly sell weapons that engulf and obliterate towns and cities indiscriminately.”

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Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

    “Countless children are seeing their parents being killed in the most inhumane fashion and all they can do is wonder why their parents have been taken away from them. Thousands of women are left widowed, hopeless and vulnerable. What good can come of such devastation? All I see is a generation of children being pushed into the arms of those who seek to destroy the peace of the world.”

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His Holiness said that scores of young children and teenagers in conflict-ridden nations were being orphaned through airstrikes. Such youths were bound to react and were being drawn into extremism.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “Instead of being in school, getting an education, so that they grow into decent, law-abiding citizens, the only education an entire generation of children is getting, is how to master grenades or rocket launchers, how to do suicide attacks and how to wreak havoc in the world.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad further said:

    “At the beginning, I mentioned that a major focus of the international community is climate change and a desire to keep the air that we breathe clean. Is there anyone who thinks that heavy bombardment has no effect on the atmosphere? Furthermore, if peace ever does prevail in the war-torn countries, their towns and cities will have to be rebuilt from scratch, and this in itself will be a huge industry that will cause an increase in harmful emissions and pollution. Thus, on the one hand, we are trying to save the planet, yet with our other hand, we are senselessly destroying it. In light of all of this, I firmly believe that world powers are being blinded by short-sightedness and tunnel-vision.”

His Holiness also spoke of the repeated foreign policy errors made by certain Western countries. He said that the Iraq War had soon been exposed as based upon false pretences, whilst the intervention in Libya in 2011 had proven to be a complete failure resulting in the country becoming a “hotbed of extremism”.

His Holiness also warned about the risk of escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea. Even though the President of the United States had recently indicated a willingness to meet North Korea’s leader, His Holiness warned that there was no guarantee of a deal because hatred was “entrenched” on both sides. His Holiness said that even if a deal emerged between the United States and North Korea there was no guarantee it would hold, and, in this regard, he cited the Iran nuclear deal of a few years ago, which he said was now “hanging by a thread”. Thus, he urged the leaders of all nations and their representatives to tread with caution and to pursue diplomacy and strive to de-escalate tensions.

Urging mankind to shy away from ever-increasing materialism and to promote equity and justice for all, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “If we are to leave behind a legacy of hope for our children, and bequeath a peaceful world to our future generations, we, irrespective of our religion or beliefs, need to urgently change our priorities. Instead of being consumed by materialism and a desire for power, every nation, whether rich or poor, must prioritise the peace and security of the entire world above all else. Instead of embarking on an arms race, leading to death and destruction, we must join the race to save and protect humanity.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

    “Instead of shutting down borders and ports in warring countries, causing for innocent children to be left starving and the sick being deprived of medical treatment, we must open our hearts to one another, knock-down the walls that divide us, feed the hungry and help those who are suffering.”

Condemning all forms of extremism carried out in the name of Islam, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “Even though so-called Muslim terrorists claim to act in Islam’s name, I do not believe that we are witnessing a religious war; rather, the wars being fought, and atrocities committed, are only for geopolitical gains. The so-called Jihadi terrorists and extremist clerics serve only to tarnish the name of Islam and undermine the efforts of the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful and law-abiding citizens.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

    “Whilst I accept that the evil acts of some Muslims have greatly damaged society, I do not accept that it is only Muslims who are to blame for the volatility of today’s world… Suffice to say, that now is the time that humanity distanced itself from the notion, that only Muslims are to blame for the problems in the world.”

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His Holiness concluded by presenting the example of the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

His Holiness described the brutal persecution faced by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers in Makkah during the early period of Islam. For example, Muslims were martyred, were made to lie on burning coals and Muslim women had their bodies strewn to camels that were made to run in opposing directions.

Referring to the example of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him), upon returning victoriously to Makkah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “When the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) returned victoriously to Makkah, he did not take a single drop of blood in revenge; rather, according to the command of Allah the Almighty, he proclaimed that all of his tormentors and all those who had violently opposed Islam, were to be instantly forgiven. He declared that under Islamic rule, all people would be free to practise their own religions and beliefs, without any interference or cause for fear. His only condition was that each member of society remained committed to peace. He instructed that all people, no matter their caste, creed or colour, were to have their rights protected and be treated with respect at all times.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

    “This was the timeless and magnificent example of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) and it is this spirit of compassion, grace and mercy that Muslims and non-Muslims need to adopt in the world today. It is this spirit of forgiveness and benevolence that all nations, whether large or small, rich or poor, need to develop. Only then will long-term peace be attainable.”

Prior to the keynote address, various dignitaries spoke about the importance of striving for peace and religious freedom in the world.

Rafiq Hayat, the National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK said:

    “The notion of ‘us versus them’ sows the seeds of division rather than unity. Our message to all who spread hate is clear, extremism and terrorism will not succeed and that through means of cohesion and unity we will defeat it.”

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Dr Aaron Rhodes, renowned Human Rights activist, co-founder Freedom Rights Project and President of the Forum for Religious Freedom Europe spoke about the persecution faced by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan.

Dr Aaron Rhodes said:

    “I am gravely worried about the situation of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and other countries. You are a community being punished for your moral and social achievements. You insist on political freedom for all, but are denied the right to vote and other citizens rights unless you forsake your most cherished, sacred vows. You stand for the rule of law, but endure murder, torture and discrimination, as perpetrators enjoy impunity and are encouraged and protected by state authorities. You believe in religious freedom but are denied the right to profess your faith and risk prosecution if you defend yourselves. You are demonised, ostracised and marginalised.”

Dr Luigi de Salvia, Vice President of the World Conference of Religions Europe for Peace said:

    “This symposium that you organise annually, since 15 years, is one of the most important meetings in our continent. It is dedicated to reflection of risks and commitment related to the common good… I want to express all our fraternal solidarity to the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, victims of persecution, perpetrated by religious extremists. We will always be at your side in defending religious freedom of expression.”

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Mrs. Angelina Alekseeva, the representative of Dr Leonid Roshal, recipient of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Prize for the Advancement of Peace, said:

    “It is very important for everybody to make every possible effort to strengthen worldwide peace in his own way… Dr Roshal has come to the decision to hand his award to a charitable fund which helps children with severe consequences of brain traumas and spinal traumas.”

The event concluded with a silent prayer led by His Holiness. Both before and after the proceedings, His Holiness met personally with various dignitaries and guests and held a press conference with members of media.


Hudhur(aba) Address

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On 17 October 2016, the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad was welcomed to Canada’s Houses of Parliament by Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Justin Trudeau, Cabinet Ministers and over 50 MPs and Senators.

Later in the day, His Holiness delivered an historic keynote address entitled

“Human values – the foundation for a peaceful world”

to an audience of more than 225 people at a special reception held at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa.

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More than 110 guests attended, including over 50 Members of Parliament. The event was also attended by a number of Government Ministers including Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and the official representative of the Prime Minister and Hon. John McCallum, Minister for Integration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Also in attendance were Senators, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, including 11 Ambassadors of State, media representatives, academics, NGO leaders, religious leaders and prominent figures from various other sectors of society.

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During his keynote address, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad addressed various issues of global importance, including the risk of a global war, religious freedom, increasing radicalisation and extremism and international relations.

His Holiness called on the world’s governments to display true justice and equity in all matters. His Holiness also presented Islamic teachings and offered solutions to the world’s problems based on the teachings of the Holy Quran.

Reflecting upon the need for unity in society, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“Irrespective of differences of background, I believe that on the basis of humanity, we are all joined together, and should therefore be united. All people and all organisations, must collectively endeavour to uphold human values, and strive to make the world in which we live, a better and far more harmonious place.”

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Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

“If human values and human rights are not upheld in one country or region, it has a knock-on effect upon other parts of the world and such wrongdoing can spread further afield. Conversely, if there is goodness, humanity and prosperity in one part of the world, it will have a positive effect on other societies and other people.”

Speaking about the increasing conflict in the world, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“As a result of modern forms of communication and transport, we are all now much closer together and are no longer confined or bound by geography. Yet, it is a strange and tragic paradox that even though we are more connected than ever before, we are actually growing more distant by the day. It is extremely regrettable, and a source of grief, that instead of uniting and spreading love amongst mankind, the world has paid far greater heed towards spreading hatred, cruelty and injustice.”

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His Holiness admitted that fear of Islam was growing in much of the world. However, he said that fear of the religion itself was completely unnecessary.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“Let me reassure all of you that Islam is not what you commonly see or hear portrayed in the media. As far as my knowledge of Islam is concerned, I only know of that Islam whose teachings are based on its name. The literal meaning of the word ‘Islam’ is peace, love, and harmony and all of its teachings are based upon these noble values.”

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Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

“Unfortunately, it cannot be denied that there are some Muslim groups, whose beliefs and actions are in total contrast to Islam’s teachings. In complete violation of Islam’s fundamental teachings, they are perpetrating the most horrific violence and terrorism in its name.”

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His Holiness said that universal religious freedom was a pre-requisite for any successful and tolerant society.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“The Holy Quran categorically states in chapter 2, verse 257 that ‘there should be no compulsion in religion.’ What a clear, comprehensive and unequivocal statement that enshrines freedom of thought, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. Thus, my belief and my teaching, is that every person, in every village, town, city or country has the undisputed right to choose his or her religion and to practice it.”

His Holiness said it was a cause of regret that governments in the Muslim world and also some Western Governments had sought to restrict the religious rights of some communities within their nations.

His Holiness said that any attempt to curb religious freedom was dangerous.

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Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“Every individual has the right to peacefully preach and propagate his or her teaching to others. These freedoms ought to be guaranteed as basic human rights, and so legislative assemblies or governments should not unduly involve themselves in such matters.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

“It is not wise for governments or parliaments to place restrictions on the basic religious practices or beliefs of people. For example, governments should not concern themselves with what type of clothing a woman chooses to wear. They should not issue decrees stating what a place of worship should look like. If they overreach in this way, it will be a means of restlessness and heightening frustrations amongst their people. Such grievances will continue to exacerbate if they are not checked and ultimately will threaten the peace of society.”

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Speaking about the role of Government according to Islamic teachings, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“It is the task of the government and parliamentarians, as guardians of their nations, to legislate in a way that gives rights to their citizens rather than takes their rights away.”

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His Holiness said that though religious freedom was a principle of vital importance, wherever there was a risk of extremism or incitement to hatred, it was the task of Governments to intervene and take firm action in order to protect their people.

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His Holiness also spoke of the need for justice both in domestic affairs and international relations.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“To be handed the keys to government is a huge trust and so we often see heads of state pledge to serve their nations faithfully and with absolute justice. Sadly, in many cases such honourable pledges prove to be hollow words.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

“In some countries, there are dictatorships or unjust governments, yet the major powers turn a blind eye to their cruelties, because those governments happen to support them and facilitate the procurement of their interests. Yet, in countries where the leaders or governments do not bend to the whim of the major powers, they are quite happy to support rebel elements or to demand regime change. In truth, there is no difference in the way the respective governments are treating their own people. The material difference is only that in some cases the governments cooperate with the major powers, whilst in others they do not.”

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His Holiness criticised certain Governments for selling weapons to some Muslim nations

“without considering the potential consequences”.

He said such weapons often end up in the wrong hands or are used in order to kill innocent civilians.

Citing Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen as a prime example of injustice and reflecting upon its potential consequences, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“It is well known that Saudi Arabia is using weapons purchased from the West in its war in Yemen, in which thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, are being killed and so much destruction is being wrought. What will be the ultimate result of such arms trading? The people of Yemen, whose lives and futures are being destroyed, will not only bear hatred and seek revenge from Saudi Arabia but will also bear hate towards Saudi’s arms suppliers and the West in general.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

“With no hope or future prospects left, and having witnessed the most horrific brutality, members of their youth will be prone to radicalisation and in this way a new vicious cycle of terrorism and extremism will arise. Are such destructive and devastating consequences worth a few billion dollars?”

His Holiness also said that international institutions such as the United Nations needed to ensure fairness and equity between members states.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“If only the major powers and the international institutions, such as the United Nations, had truly acted upon their founding principles, under all circumstances, then we would not have seen the toxic plague of terrorism infect so many parts of the world. We would not have seen the world’s peace and security repeatedly undermined and destroyed. And we certainly would not have witnessed the huge refugee crisis, which now confounds and frightens the people of Europe and other developed countries.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

“The United Nations must also play its role in establishing peace in the world, unencumbered by politics, injustice or favouritism.”

Concluding, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“I hope and pray that Allah the Almighty enables the United Nations and the world’s governments to act in this way so that true and long-lasting peace may be established. The alternative does not bear thinking about, because if we continue as we are then the world is charging madly towards a huge catastrophe in the shape of another world war.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

“May Allah grant wisdom to the world’s leaders and policy makers so that the world we leave behind for our children and future generations is a world of peace and prosperity.”

During the event, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad presented Hon. Louise Arbour, the former High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations and a former Canadian Supreme Court Judge with the Sir Zafrullah Khan Award for Public Service. This award recognised her outstanding public service during her long and distinguished career.

Upon receipt of the award, Hon. Louise Arbour said:

“I am deeply honoured to receive this very prestigious award that is named after a great jurist, lawyer, judge and a great diplomat. I am particularly honoured to be associated with Sir Zafrullah Khan, as he was a Chief Judge and President of the International Court of Justice… I have also always been deeply impressed by the promotion of the culture of peace that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has stood for and continues to stand for.”

A number of guest speakers also took to the stage.

Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and official representative of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said:

“It is an honour and privilege to be here tonight to welcome His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Fifth Caliph and leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to Parliament Hill. All of Parliament Hill has come together today to join His Holiness, to celebrate with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and to demonstrate our strong support… The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community makes an enormous difference here in Canada and always demonstrates Love for All, Hatred for None.”

Dr. James J. Zogby, Vice-Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom said:

“Your Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, on behalf of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom I am honoured to be with you tonight. What has always impressed us about the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is how, despite being all too often victims of persecution, you remain champions for the rights of others who are being persecuted. In a world where intolerance seems to be increasing the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community remains a strong advocate of tolerance and goodwill.”

Earlier in the day, His Holiness held a range of meetings with Federal Ministers of Canada’s Government, Senators and MPs. His Holiness also held a meeting with Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau.

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The Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was also officially recognised by the Speaker of Parliament during a session of Question Period, in which all present members of the House of Commons, including the Prime Minister, stood and gave His Holiness a standing ovation.

Further, Hon. Judy Sgro MP, read out a Members Statement in the House of Commons that stated:

“Mr. Speaker, earlier today the global spiritual leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community arrived in Ottawa for a formal visit to Parliament Hill.

During his time with us, he will meet with Cabinet Ministers, Senators, Members of Parliament, and the Prime Minister in an effort to further underscore his peaceful message of love for all and hatred for none.

This work is part of an ongoing effort undertaken by His Holiness to showcase the peaceful nature and beauty of the faith (of Islam) and while calling on global powers to advance an agenda of peace, religious freedom, and the advancement of human rights in Canada and around the world.

I applaud His Holiness and members of the global Ahmadiyya faith for their work, and I extend a hand of friendship on behalf of my constituents and the people of Canada.”

The special reception concluded with a silent prayer led by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. Following dinner Parliamentarians and guests were able to meet personally with His Holiness.

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