KSIMC of Birmingham hosts Faiths and Community Leaders at Peace and Love event to condemn recent attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, France and Lebanon
On Tuesday 17th November 2015, a number of Faiths and Community Leaders gathered at KSIMC of Birmingham on 17 Clifton Road, Balsall Heath to express their support for all those affected by the attacks worldwide. Prayers and messages of Love, Hope, Peace and Unity were shared by over two hundred citizens at the Mosque, which hosted the event.
After a harrowing narration of the previous week’s events carried out by Daesh in Baghdad, Beirut, Paris and Zabul, the Mosque’s President Naushad Mehrali addressed the public on behalf of the KSIMC Birmingham. He stated, "All it takes for evil to prevail is for good people like us to do nothing. We all have a powerful weapon - sincerity and supplication."
Muslim Leader and Local Councillor Mohammed Afzal reiterated the need for unity in this time and that the acts of a small minority must be condemned as Islam teaches 'killing one person is the equivalent of killing the whole of humanity.'
Community and Faith leaders then followed with messages of prayer, peace, hope, love, and solidarity.
Anglican Deacon Jessica Foster eloquently reflected on the relevance of prayer at this testing time and built upon the words of the Dalai Lama who said 'prayer alone is not enough, prayer is action.'
Muslim Scholar Shaykh Arif Abdulhussain promoted peace by developing the understanding that we are all one, made in the image of God; colourless, genderless, religion-less, the most loving and compassionate.
Hindu Scholar Achrya Umesh Yadav gave a well needed message of hope and urged the public as a whole to stay strong as terrorism has no religion and strength lies in numbers.
Sister Ruth Jacobs from the Jewish Community, applauded Shaykh Arif’s comments as a message the World needed to hear. She continued to provide a message of love, stating "let us use our shared humanity and compassion to bring something better to our World so we can be the source of the cure."
Sister Christine Boyett from the Bahai Community encouraged a message of solidarity by explaining teachings of serving the people across all religions and that God's protection is dependent on us protecting one another without prejudice.
Brother Amrik Singh representing the Sikh Community pondered on how humanity will always shed tears when lives are lost, however it is not just times of need when we should unite. He evaluated that strength comes from being together as one throughout, so building ties between communities should begin with “breaking bread.”
Each speech was accompanied by a prayer and between each message was a minute of silence for the people of Paris, Beirut, Baghdad and Zabul.
An opportunity for the public to comment and give additional messages was offered, with four guests sharing their own thoughts.
Brother Waqar Ahmed presented on behalf of Prevent, urging all victims of hate crime or abuse to speak up and report incidents so they can be tracked and followed up.
Birmingham City Council Cabinet member for Inclusion and Community Safety; Councillor Shafique Shah expressed his gratitude to KSIMC of Birmingham for giving a chance for everyone to come together and providing a shared platform for messages promoting respect and unity within. He said "Birmingham is a diverse place and we have a proud tradition of welcoming people...so it is important to condemn all acts of terror in our name."
The event ended with a prayer for peace by Scholar Nasim Pirmohammed, after which Faith Leaders and all members of the Community laid roses for the deceased and signed a shared statement, which built on all the messages. It stressed the importance of not allowing enemies of humanity to divide us and that hate attacks in response to the atrocities would also not be tolerated.
A link to a video of the event is available here. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBviFyXyEb4&list=PLY4HxPvolvdiNGfKQ6IBFCF98jZvkNd-u)