Wealthy nations were urged to give more help to some of the world’s most impoverished people by the leader of a prominent Muslim denomination.
His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslims, gave the keynote address at the National Peace Symposium on Saturday at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden.
The event, now in its 15th year, aimed to address misconceptions of Islam and highlight the major struggles in the world today and was streamed to millions around the world.
In a speech to a packed hall of more than 800 delegates from 27 countries, His Holiness said: “Instead of shutting down borders and ports in warring countries, causing 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.”
The Caliph lamented the self-interest and greed exhibited by some of the world’s major powers, who he accused of putting weapons before welfare.
“Quite openly and proudly, the major powers are trading arms that are being used to kill, maim and brutalise innocent people,” he said.
“Whilst the economies of the selling countries may attain short-term benefit, their hands are covered in the blood of hundreds of thousands of people.”
On the topic of peace, His Holiness extolled the teachings of the Qu’ran and warned against the tendency of people to retaliate when wronged.
“Islam teaches that peace can only be achieved when all traces of ill-will and malice are removed from a person’s heart and replaced by a spirit of mercy, love and compassion for others,” he 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.”
Other programme highlights included the award of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize to Dr. Leonid Roshal.
Dr. Roshal is a Russian paediatrician who has practised for more than 40 years, treating children in several different conflict zones.