Youth and Development
Written by Emanuele Militello
The United Nations ‘International Day of Peace’ was celebrated at the UPF UK Headquarters in Lancaster Gate on 23rd September. The event happens to coincide with UN Summit for The Millennium Development Goals with guest speakers’ theming their talks on Youth, Peace and Development. We had the pleasure of having Dr David Hoile an expert in Sudan and Darfur, Keldon Alleyne from Lewisham Youth Aid and Seja Majeed from vinspired, the youth volunteering organisation, speaking at the event.
The Universal Peace Federation fully affirms and supports the United Nations' annual International Day of Peace. In 2010, UPF chapters around the world will join with UN agencies and with other NGOs in observations and celebrations of this day. In both 2008 and 2009, UPF hosted and participated in more than 40 such programs, and this year is expected to be equally active.
At the same time, UPF is concerned that the themes of past Days of Peace have on occasion focused narrowly on the externals of weapons reduction and nuclear disarmament. Important though these goals are, there is a danger of missing a more important truth, eloquently stated in the UNESCO Constitution written just after World War II in 1945:
“Since wars begin in the minds of man, it is in the minds of man that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”
UK House of Commons
August 31st, 2010
The initiative of the Inter-Religious Council (IRC) at the United Nations, initiated by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon as the founding purpose of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), was yesterday emphasised by his son and successor, Rev. Dr. Hyung Jin Moon, the International Chairman of UPF, in the House of Commons’ Boothroyd room. The Harvard Divinity graduate, Rev. Moon, gave the keynote address commenting on the heritage of the Inter-Religious Council within the UK.
‘I am reminded that the first General Assembly of the United Nations was convened here in London, in 1946, at the Central Hall of the Methodist Church. I also note that the first meeting of the British parliament took place in Westminster Abbey. I believe England has always understood the necessary link between spiritual principles and values, on the one hand, and the public sphere of social, political and economic institutions, on the other hand.....In his message at the United Nations in the year 2000, Father Moon explained that the UN would not be able to fulfil its mission without creating a council that would uphold the spiritual wisdom and heritage of humanity, representing God’s guidance for all of us.’ (speech link here) Rev Marcus Braybrooke's speech link here. Imam Dr Sajid speech link here. Photos here.
Universal Peace Federation’s Founding Vision: The Inter-religious Council at the UN’ at 11-00 am 31st August 2010 at House of Commons Boothroyd Room Portcullis House London
Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid
The Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony UK
Bismillah Hir Rahma Nir Rahim (I begin with name of God the Most Kind the Most Merciful). I greet you with the greetings of Islam (Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakathu (May God’s blessing and peace be with us all.) All perfect praise be to Allah, Subhaana wa ta’aala, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, is His servant and messenger Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
I am honoured -- and deeply humbled -- to be invited by the Universal Peace Federation to speak on an important topic on ‘UPF’s Founding Vision: The Inter-religious Council at the UN’. I salute the leadership of UPF specially Chairman Dr Thomas Welsh and UPF Secretary General Taj Hammad and International President of UPF, Rev Hyung Jin Moon who has taken UPF Founder’s vision to the grassroots all over the world and consulting “ We the people” as UN charter begins.
UPF strongly believes and works with different faiths. UPF work on Building Bridges between People of Faiths is exemplary.
From campaigners against child soldiers in Africa to those who were battling gang violence on the streets of London or environment clean up service projects, the common theme of the Youth Achievement Awards event in the House of Lords Committee Room on Wednesday 14th of July was exemplary young people who, as Tom Brake MP commented, had ‘got off their butts and in some cases had put their life on the line to make a difference.
Lord King of West Bromwich, who as a Patron of the Universal Peace Federation was hosting the event, added that this was one of the most enjoyable and meaningful afternoons he had spent in the House of Lords listening to the testimonies of young future leaders speak about their activities.
‘Muslims were also victims of what followed 7/7. Again and again in the book there are examples of utterly decent, patriotic, and law-abiding citizens who were abused, spat at and seen as the perpetrators themselves.’ Peter Oborne said last night in a book launch in the House of Lords of the book ‘7/7 Muslim Perspectives’, compiled by Murtaza Shibli.
Peter Oborne, the conservative commentator, writer and broadcaster continued, ‘The book serves a very important purpose. There has been a failure in public discourse since 7/7. Very understandably in many ways, the discourse concentrated on the innocent victims first of all. That is correct. We just prayed for them just now. The second concentrated on the terrorists themselves. One of the things that does take a lot of courage to say and seems indulgent but is very true. The third focus was the Muslim community who were also victims of what followed. All Muslims were branded as terrorists in some newspapers. We in the press bear and continue to bear a heavy responsibility for this situation. The British press’s culture of victimisation needs to be confronted.’