A renowned Islamic figure powerfully condemned the Westminster terrorist attack at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s national peace symposium in Morden.
The 14th annual symposium, held at the Baitul Futuh Mosque on March 25, saw more than 800 guests, including secretaries of state, parliamentarians and diplomats, attend the event.
Speaking out against the violent acts which killed three people on Westminster Bridge and one police officer outside Parliament, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, called it a complete violation of the faith.
The caliph said: “First of all, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to all those affected by Wednesday’s terror attack at Westminster, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of London at this tragic time.
“On behalf of the Ahmadi community I wish to make it categorically clear we condemn all such acts of terrorism and we offer our heartfelt sympathies to the victims of this barbaric atrocity.”
The caliph described the widespread fear that has erupted in the western world due to the extremist ideologies of certain Muslims, who have turned their mosques into centres of extremism, preaching hatred and inciting others to commit terrorist acts.
He said: “If today there are so-called Muslim groups or sects that are killing people it can only be condemned in the strongest possible terms and their barbaric acts are a complete violation of everything that Islam stands for.
“Let it be clear that such people have no knowledge of the faith they claim to follow.”
Instead, the global leader of the Ahmadiyya community in 209 countries looked at the positive interpretations of Islam.
“The Quran has taught us how to build a peaceful multicultural society where people of all faiths and beliefs are able to live side by side. A key ingredient is respect and tolerance,” he added.
Global injustice was also a hot topic as the religious leader addressed international delegates alongside London mayors, Catholic church representatives and members of parliament such as Tom Brake, Paul Scully, Siobhain McDonagh and Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening.
Education secretary Justine Greening said one of the strongest messages that came from the event was the importance of not letting any act of terrorism be seen to reflect a particular religion.
She said: “It’s not part of Islam, it’s not part of any faith.
“So tonight, we had people come together to stand up for that, and I think that’s really important.”
The evening also saw the Ahmadiyya Peace Prize 2016 being awarded to Hiroshima bombing survivor Setsuko Thurlow, for her life’s work campaigning for nuclear disarmament and promoting peace.
The Baitul Futuh Mosque is the largest mosque is Western Europe with around 7,000 Ahmadiyya Muslims attending Friday prayers every week.