On Sunday 3rd December 2017,Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Victoria hosted its second Annual Peace Symposium at the Baitul Salam Mosque in Langwarrin, southeast Melbourne. More than 300 people attended the event including 100 non-Ahmadi guests comprising members of the Victorian Parliament, Mayors and Councillors from various municipalities, members of the Victoria Police force and faith leaders. The symposium was organised by the Langwarrin Chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Victoria.
The theme of this year’s symposium is ‘World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace’ focusing on the rising extremism and nationalism facing the world today. The keynote address was delivered by Imam Wadood Janud Sahib, Imam of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Victoria and Tasmania.
During the event, guests had the opportunity to watch a video documentary on the peace initiatives of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifaul Masih V (may Allah be his helper) including Huzur’s address at the Capitol Hill in Washington, USA. The video also showed various dignitaries praising the efforts of the Jama’at in Australia in promoting peace, providing humanitarian aid to those who are in need and bringing people of different faiths together.
During his address, Imam Wadood Janud Sahib presented the foundations of the pathway to peace based on the true teachings of Islam as taught by the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Imam Janud said that according to Islam, the principle of justice is the key to establishing peace.
Imam Janud Sahib quoted chapter 3, verse 136, of the Holy Quran, and said that according to this verse, a true believer is he who is strict on observing justice and stands witness before God even if it be against himself, against his parents or against his relatives.
Speaking about the lack of true justice within the Muslim countries, Imam Wadood Janud Sahib said that Muslim leaders have failed their people, hijacking a religion which literally means peace and leading masses astray for personal interests, pursuit
of power and domination.
Imam Janud Sahib spoke at length about the foreign policies and vested interests of certain countries that led to the inception and rise of terrorist organisations such as ISIS and Boko Haram. Imam Janud Sahib said that the key role in the international arms trade in encouraging and sustaining such organisations is against the very foundations of justice.
Imam Janud Sahib also quoted Huzur’s recent address at the National Peace Symposium UK on 25th March 2017, in which Huzur suggested the curbing and restricting of the international arms trade in order to establish peace in the world.Imam Janud said that when comes to equality, Islam declares that all human beings are born as equal and have equal rights and freedoms. He said that the Holy prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) enjoined the Muslims to always maintain a socially equal society.
Imam Janud Sahib also spoke about the lack of justice and fairness in media coverage during acts of terrorism, which occurred in Australia and internationally. Imam Janud Sahib said it is not true justice to tell Muslims that they are not condemning terrorism enough. Imam Janud said that the truth is the media fails to hear out voice when we gather every year at various venues to condemn terrorism and present the true teachings of Islam.
Quoting Chapter 5, verse 32 of the Holy Quran on Islam’s teachings about the sanctity of human life, Imam Janud said that the Quran teaches that taking someone’s life is akin to slaying all of humanity and saving a single life it is as though you have saved the whole of humanity.
Concluding his address, Imam Janud Sahib gave a brief account on how the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) showed forgiveness even to his enemies when he re-entered Mecca after 21 years of persecution. Imam Janud told the audience that he has presented the true concept of Islam of the Holy Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Imam Janud also said that he Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Worldwide for the past 128 years has been striving to establish peace on earth by practicing such true teachings of Islam and following the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Prior to the keynote address, various dignitaries delivered short speeches on the need for peace in Australia and around the world and praised the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for organising such an important event.
Osama Chaudhary Sahib, President of the Langwarrin chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Victoria gave a brief history of the Community and the purpose of the coming of its founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him).
MS Sonya Kilkenny MP MS Inga Peulich MP Acting Insp Chris Edwards
Mayor Cr Youhorn Chea Mayor Cr Collin Ross Mayor Cr Colin Hampton
Ms Sonya Kilkenny MP, representing the Premier of Victoria, The Hon. Daniel Andrews and the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Robin Scott, said: “The Ahmadi Muslims are well-known for their support of Victoria’s multifaith society and understanding of other faith groups. The Ahmadiyya community is also known for its very strong humanitarian focus and we appreciate and applaud the work that you do here in Victoria and across Australia. On behalf of the Victorian government, we thank you for taking an active role in bringing our communities together in promoting harmony and equality.”
Ms Inga Peulich MP, Victorian Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs said:
“I would like to commend the Ahmadi community for subscribing to all aspirations and values of our wonderful Australian nation. You are aspirational, believe in education and the transformational effect that education has, you believe in strong family and you believe in making a contribution towards your community.”
Acting Inspector Chris Edwards of the Victoria Police Community Engagement Unit said:“I commend you very much for holding this peace symposium and definitely think about connection and how we do that with everyone in this community.”
Mayor Cr. Youhorn Chea, Mayor of City of Greater Dandenong said: “In today’s hectic world, this gathering provides us with a unique opportunity to remember that regardless of colour, culture or creed, we are all human beings and by building and understanding between our different cultures, we sow the seed of harmony, tolerance, peace and respect.”
Mayor Cr. Collin Ross, Mayor of Cardinia Shire “Thank you to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Victoria for bringing us together today to explore and share our thoughts on peace and how we might work together towards achieving a more respectful and united world.”
Mayor Cr. Colin Hampton, Mayor of Frankston City “I am pleased to be here today at the House of Peace to support this wonderful occasion where we can all come together and celebrate being a connected and multicultural community. In today’s environment it is important that leaders of all areas from government to community groups such as yours need to promote unity, peace and justice for everyone.”
The event concluded with silent prayer led by Imam Wadood Janud. Following the prayer, guests enjoyed dinner and an opportunity to interact with members of the community.
Guests visited an exhibition displaying copies of the Holy Quran including various Jama’at books and peace flyers. Around 20 guests received free copies of the books, “Life of Muhammad” and “Pathway to Peace”. All guests enjoyed the peace symposium and particularly the speech delivered by Imam Wadood Janud Sahib. Guests also left positive feedback and comments about the event.
“Wonderful event that promotes peace! Thank you for your hospitality.” Cr Collin Ross.
“Inspiring address by the Imam. Good friendly,inclusive society. Much appreciated.” Ellen Brown.
“Always feel welcome with the friendship displayed.Thank you.” Cr Ray Brown.
“I really enjoyed learning about the religion and all the good done in the community. Very educational.” Anonymous.
“Well done. Good organization. Will definitely progress the cause of peace.” Matthew.
“Good event for spreading goodwill among all fellow beings and attempting to bring peace to a troubled world.” Anita.
Source: Ahmadiyya Gazette Australia January 2018 Edition