Why peace should reign in Africa, by Ahmadiyya leader
The world head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V has called on African and world leaders to embrace peace as African Heads of states and religious leaders launched the African Initiative on Education for Peace and Development through Inter religious and Intercultural Dialogue in Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
Addressing delegates through the Amir Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Egypt, Dr. Hathan Helmy A’shafe, the Huzur said his call for global peace was informed by the teachings of the holy prophet of Islam on peace,tolerance and harmony in the world for sustainable development of mankind.
Quoting from the holy Quran chapter 22 , suratul hajj verse 40 and 41 where permission to fight has been given to those oppressed and that it is the responsibility of Muslims to protect places of worship or other religions,churches ,synagogue and mosque. These verses demonstrates that people must always strive for the enthronement of peace and that any time we have to result to fighting it is to stop war not to start it.
The Khalifat of Islam said these teachings forms the basis of the motto of ahmadiyya community,”love for all,hatred for none”. He prayed for African leaders to play a key role in ensuring peace in their respective countries.
Launching the initiative on behalf of African leaders, President Yayi Boni,
of the Republic of Benin , who is also the AU Chairman urged member states and it’s people to use inter religious and cultural dialogue to resolve the conflicts ravaging Africa and the world at large . He said the current spate of religious and racial conflicts across Africa are great concerns to African leaders.
According to him, “people are committing crimes against humanity in the name of religion and get away with it through impunity and other forms of illegality.
Speaking at the Palace De Congress in Cotonou, president Yayi Boni enjoined participants at the two day conference to come out with modalities that will establish organs at the regional level to address the resolutions of the inter religious and inter cultural dialogue. He stated that the inter religious and cultural initiative option are import as military defenses only cannot solve the problem.
In his remarks, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon called for mutual resend harmony among various religious and cultural groups as basic solutions to tolerance and and peaceful coexistence. Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church expressed dis satisfaction on the rate of fanaticism and extremism among religious and cultural groups in African . He applauded the African leaders initiative to launch education for peace development through inter religious and cultural dialogue.
The Nigerian delegation is led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar and Arch Bishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, two co–chairmen of the Nigerian Inter-religious Council (NIREC).
Voice of Nigeria’s Head of Reportorial and Political desk, Qasim Akinreti, is scheduled to present a paper on one of the Sub-themes of the conference, the role of the Media in promoting and strengthening inter-religious and intercultural dialogue. A Nigerian academic and co- chairman Nigerian inter religious council, Lagos state, Dr. Saheed Timehin also presented a paper on the inter religious and inter cultural dialogue, necessity concept and scope.
The objective of the presentation on the media is to show an unequalled influence of media in all aspects of life and in particular in religion and culture in terms of shaping public opinion. The paper recommended promotion of inter- religious and intercultural dialogue through media and encourage the promotion of media messages on peace and religious tolerance.
The international conference attracted religious leaders, across the world representing the African traditional religion, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Academics and opinion leaders also participated.
The conference sponsored by the Republic of Benin’s Ministry of Education had the support of the African Union, ECOWAS and UNESCO.