Prayers for Peace with Duchess Nivin El-Gamal of Lamberton
Embracing Unity and Ending Suffering Particularly for Ukrainians, Russians, Israelis, and Palestinians
Universal Peace Federation (UPF) UK with Duchess Nivin El-Gamal of Lamberton, held a Prayers for Peace programme last night, featuring faith leaders who led the audience in prayer and chants, emphasizing the need for peace and justice among all of humanity. The event addressed various conflicts but with a particular focus on the need for peace between Ukrainians and Russians, Palestinians and Israelis. The evening was the inspiration of Duchess Nivin El-Gamal who gracefully moderated the programme.
Margaret Ali, UPF-UK Director, and Robin Marsh, UPF-UK Secretary General, greeted the audience. Margaret Ali shared from her heart-moving experiences during her visits to the Middle East.
Sheikh Ramzy expanded the focus to include prayers for other suffering communities such as Kashmiris, Rohingyas, and Uighurs. The overarching prayer was for total peace among all people, echoing Bishop Josiah's quote that the lion and the lamb should lie down together. This report highlights the key points discussed by the different speakers during the event.
Sheikh Ramzy expressed his concern for peace and justice among various communities. He extended prayers to include Kashmiris, Rohingyas, Uighurs, and others enduring great suffering. He emphasized the importance of recognizing that even when dealing with difficult neighbors, they are still our neighbors. Sheikh Ramzy also referred to Psalms 46, highlighting God as our refuge, capable of breaking the bow and spear.
Ahlam Akram, Founder of Basira, spoke of her long years of effort for peace between Palestinians and Israelis. She also explained her work for the rights of Middle Eastern women through Basira. Robin Marsh spoke of his experience of coordinating UPF delegations of Europeans to meet Israel and Palestinian Territories to encourage efforts for peace.
Sonoo Malkani encouraged acceptance of all faiths as equals and shared her experience of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). She emphasized the UPF's vibration of love for all people and how it transcends religious boundaries. Malkani recited a Hindu mantra for peace. Dr Bhupendra Singh later offered a mantra to contribute to the programme.
Duchess Nivin of Lamberton opening the evening shared:
"It’s a great privilege for me to address you all on this special occasion of Eid El Fatir. May I wish all of you, “Eid Mubarak” as well as (a belated) Happy Easter and Happy Passover. I believe in The power of kindness, forgiveness and respect. Today, as we gathered in London representing every religion & faith philosophy, we are presented with a unique opportunity to reinforce the ideals of peace and religious harmony that form the cornerstone of a harmonious global society. It is my fervent belief that by observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire, we can contribute to the transformative power of peace and take significant strides towards a more harmonious world.
Peace is not only the absence of conflict but a state of harmony that brings people together to live and thrive in unity. It is a state of mind, a way of life, and a power that transcends borders and cultures. As an Ambassador of Peace, I am committed to promoting peace in all walks of life. Thank you Mrs Margaret Keverian Ali and Mr Robin Marsh UPF - UK Secretary General. Thank you also to:
Jewish Representative: Avie Nachmais
Christian Representative: Bishop Patrick Joshia
Muslim Representative: Sheikh Dr. Hojjat Ramzy
Buddhist Representative: Rev. Dr Sumana Siri
Mrs Sonoo Malkani representing the Hindu community leader
Mrs Ahlam Akram Albasera, Mr A ElShabani, Mr Philip Gent, Mr Nic Careem, Mr William Hains and beautiful Ms Keya Prasad."
Ahmed Shebani spoke from a Jewish viewpoint, highlighting the historical coexistence of Jews and Arabs for 1400 years. He shared his ambassadorship for peace, which began 25 years ago. Shebani appreciated the use of faith symbols in the event, emphasizing the power of unity.
Nic Careem, Founder of the Blue Sky Village and a peace advocate for 50 years, emphasized that peace starts within oneself. He shared his experiences traveling the world with a play about Anne Frank that shed light on the Holocaust even though he is not Jewish. His current project is to promote the 700 handwritten messages written in the House of Commons book of Tribute Messages to the late great Nelson Mandela. They include messages from Barak Obama, Sir Paul McCartney, Maya Angelou, Richard Branson, Will Smith , Russell Crow, Kofi Annan, John Legend, David Beckham, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, and hundreds more well-known people from politics, entertainment, business, sport, media and community. Plans are for the book to be published next year with all proceeds donated to children's causes around the world. It is intended as a tool to educate school children about the impact of racism and poverty.
William Haines spoke about his experiences in Russia, expressing his view that understanding between nations is hindered by lack of exposure and empathy. He highlighted the pain and complications resulting from the war between Russia and Ukraine. He emphasised that there are many Russian Ukrainian married couples who have come under great strain due to the war. Haines stressed the importance of character education for young people as a means to resolve conflicts. It was his accomplishment to produce a series of character education textbooks that were used in a number of regions of the Russian Federation in the 1990's and have been translated into Arabic for use in schools in the Palestinian Territories. (Universal Peace Federation UK was supporting the programme to train teachers in how to teach this Character Education programme.)
Rev Dr Datto Sumana Siri, a Buddhist Monk of nearly 60 years, spoke about the Buddhist faith's principle of non-violence and the middle path. He explained that violence cannot be stopped by violence but only through love. Rev. Dr. Datto Sumana Siri emphasized the importance of living with a calm mind and not creating enemies.
Philip Gent emphasized the unity of different faiths, comparing it to a house of faith. Islam was likened to the roof, Judaism to the basement, Christianity to the walls, and other faiths to the doors and windows. He referenced Deuteronomy 33.2 to highlight Islam's connection to the Old Testament. Gent also advocated for girls' education as a means to promote development in impoverished nations as educated mothers have a great influence on the education of their children.
Prayers for Peace brought together faith leaders to pray for peace and justice among all of humanity. The event addressed conflicts between Ukrainians and Russians, Palestinians and Israelis, and extended prayers to include other suffering communities. Speakers emphasized the importance of unity, understanding, and education to resolve conflicts. The event provided valuable insights into different faith perspectives and their common desire for peace.
The evening concluded with wonderful food from Egypt and a time to share together.