On 13th May 2017, the Women’s auxillary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Victoria hosted an interfaith luncheon at the Baitul Salam Mosque in Langwarrin, in order to bring women of all faiths together, to engage in meaningful dialogue and infuse mutual understanding between their beliefs. This year the discussion was pertinently based on ‘Global Conflicts and the Need for Justice.’ Over 100 guests including parliamentarians and civics alike attended the annual congregation.
This luncheon marks the largest event in the calendar of the Women of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. It is given such importance as we know as women; the responsibility given to us as peacemakers has never been needed more in society than it does today. This effort is to engage in open dialogue and build lasting friendships to create a more peaceful and harmonious world.
Earlier in the afternoon, several dignitaries and followers of faith spoke about the importance of acting with justice and standing united, and commended the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for continued efforts in bringing people of all walks of life together in order to build that unity.
Cr. Michelle Kleinert, Mayor of Manningham City Council, made the point to encourage diversity as this is what makes a difference within communities. We should not look at each other and judge based on our religion, culture or colour but by what we each bring to the table. This creates diversity, as Martin Luther King said , ‘If one is to keep peace, then they shall not look at the race of people.’ Michelle also encouraged women and reminded them that they are all leaders in the homes, they primarily look after their children, prepare family events, they are constantly running errands and supporting children in their extracurricular activities etc. So be a leader in whatever you are doing.
Ms Gabrielle Williams, Member for Dandenong, shared the wisdom that women are peace makers and gatherings like these are very important considering the discrimination and extremism we are facing today. It is the best way to overcome it. She also emphasised that our motto, Love for all, Hatred for none are beautiful words that we should all live by, as she does.
Julie Lewis shared views from her Christian perspective. Sharing the need to listen to each other, and these types of events allows for that. Jesus taught to love, so we all need to pray for world peace and campaign for love. “Love your enemies and bless them to curse you.” Occasions like this are opportunities for building harmony and mutual respect. As women of faith, we can all play a part, together to create peace within our families, neighbourhoods and the world.
Michelle Kleinhert Mayor of Manningham Hon. Gabrielle, representing Labors legislative Assembly
seat of Dandenong
(Left)Julie Lewis, leading member of the Anglican Christian
Church Mornington Annie Whitlocke Buddhist Spiritual care worker(Right)
Annie Whitlocke shared her Buddhist faith and had a unique perspective on overcoming global conflicts. She concluded that, what appears as conflict can be a deeper wisdom. Words can become actions, they are prayers and the teachings become a vehicle for overcoming conflict and justice.
Ms Nina Springle, Victorian Greens MP SE Metro Spokeswoman, addressed the congregration by saying that all women regardless of our background have a role to play in addressing conflict. We are all role models and we all must be every day heroes. Change start with just one woman and the ability to connect and share with one and another is vital to overcoming injustice.
Kathy Kaplan shared a perspective from her Jewish faith. We must love peace and pursue justice and peace. She shared some verses from the Torah that talk about the importance of speaking and spreading love.
Diana Cousens focused on the importance of being selfless and less selfish and ignorant. Harm and injustice comes from people failing to respect each other. Therefore we need to avoid solely focusing on ourselves and protect others and their territories.
(Left)Ms Nina Springle, Greens member of the
Victorian legislative Council | Manpreet Kaur, SBS Journalist and broadcaster (Right)
Diana Cousens, University administrator on Buddhism Kathy Kaplan OAM-Jewish Speaker
Ajam Khokhar represented the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, and focused on explaining Islam and its stance on the matter at hand. So-called Muslims use the name of Islam to carry out atrocities beyond comprehension, however Islam is not only a religion that advocates peace, but the name of the religion itself means peace and security, forming the basis of its teachings. The extremists are in no way following the teachings of peace which are laid out so clearly within the Holy Quran. Every person want to live in peace, every government wants peace to prevail, however many people are not truly living peacefully. In order to justice to prevail, mankind alike and governments need to fulfil the needs of others. When fulfilling the needs of others we are fulfilling the teachings of the Holy Quran and the saying of the Holy Prophet, You will not be a believer until you love for you brother what you love for yourself. The golden rule from this Hadith is, Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you and reject for others what you would reject for yourselves (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
The final speaker to the day Manpreet Kaur shared her Sikh faith and the open heartedness they try to inculcate through the teachings of their faith. The main principle of Sikhism, is oneness of all-we are all one and are not separated by any barriers. Conflict arises when there is fear of the unknown, however we should focus on our similarities, instead of differences. We should speak up against violence, “it is as evil to bear injustice as it is to perpetrate it.”Teaching the next generation not to take any violence and not to perpetrate any violence, then we are already building a strong foundation for the world.
A concluding note by President of Women’s auxillary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Victoria, Mrs Mansoora Sajjad closed the event for this year emphasising the teachings of the Holy Quran; our universe is created on standards of balance and justice, and so is man. Peace only can be established if rights are given to the deserving. Therefore practicing justice in every respect of life is key to attaining peace.
Guest Speakers, including parliamentarians and faith followers
There was a Quran exhibition and literature for guests to view. Many guests also shared their positive experiences of the luncheon expressing their gratitude regarding this event and the fact that it is exactly what Is needed in society today. Open dialogue and empowerment of women, these are two powerful keys which will aid in combating global conflict through justice. Many guests made reference to the communities’ motto Love for all Hatred for None and appreciated it embracing nature, for the entirety of mankind.
Quran Exhibition and Literature stalls
To find out more about the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, visit our websites and social media platforms: www.alislam.org | www.ahmadiyya.org.au | Twitter: @AhmadiyyaVic