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Inter-Religious Harmony and Free Speech' World Interfaith Harmony Week

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Kindly Hosted by the Rt. Hon. Baroness Verma, Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Humphrey Hawksley, BBC World Affairs Correspondent 

Keith Best, Trustee of UPF, Former CEO of Freedom from Torture

Nicola Bailey: Assistant Principal Archbishop Lanfranc Academy

Sheikh Dr Hojjat Ramzy, Chair Education Committee of the Muslim Council of Britain

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke: President of the World Congress of Faiths

 

We are happy to invite you to an event in the House of Lords to commemorate World Interfaith Harmony Week. As the Universal Peace Federation has consultative status with the United Nation's Economic and Social Council and was one of those NGO's promoting interfaith within the UN structure we would like to give our whole hearted support to the UN's 'World Inter Faith Harmony Week'. We hope you can join us for this opportunity to develop mutual understanding and strong bonds beyond our religious boundaries. There is a pressing need for interfaith understanding and cooperation of the faiths that inform our behaviour and cultural norms.

Freedom of speech is an important pillar of western culture and is very important to facilitate a democratic society. To allow people to express their views is the opposite of tyranny and oppression. After recent events in Paris we would like to consider the role of free speech in creating a harmonious society of varied communities. 

If free speech allows a check to human greed and pride it is not a bad thing. However, if the freedom to offend others is taken to excess there can be severe consequences. We would like to discuss the role of self-restraint on the practice of free speech to consider the pain such speech causes to others. That consideration would be highly appreciated by those who have been insulted. It could be that the right to free expression comes with the responsibility to use that expression wisely for the sake of the 'other' if we are practicing 'living for the sake of others'. If we also value the golden rule of doing unto others as we would want to be treated, how should this influence our practice of free speech? If the treatment of fellow believers in other parts of the world is not ideal should this influence our behaviour here? 

During "World Inter Faith Harmony Week," we want to understand the perspective of different faiths to this issue by inviting a few of the faith representatives to address the topic. We will also invite a couple of respected members of the press to share their views on the topic. 

Warm regards,


Robin Marsh, UPF-UK Secretary General - Mobile: 07956210768 

Margaret Ali, UPF-UK Director - Mobile: 07723024750

Joyce Suda, UPF-UK Director - Mobile: 07903311052

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UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations