With long experience of these issues, Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke, President of the World Congress of Faiths, was an excellent Chair for this Session on 'Religious Freedom - Global Issues'. He commented that, “It is appropriate today that we are having this discussion and the House of Lords are having (the Archbishop of Canterbury) debate on the rights of religious minorities in the Middle East, affirming that religious freedom is a basic human right. Faith communities themselves have much yet to learn about tolerance of other communities. They should move away from the historic exclusivism."
A speech entitled 'Religious Persecution in Pakistan' (full speech link) by Shiekh Rahman gave a personal and moving account of the persecution experienced in Pakistan by religious minorities. Particularly pressing upon the exclusion and violence experienced by his own religious community, the Ahmadiyya Muslims. Peter Zoehrer gave an account of religious persecution currently occurring in Japan. He described it as a “hidden human rights crime” of forced conversions and kidnappings of more than 4300 believers – predominantly Unification Church members, but also more than 100 Jehovah Witnesses leaving those who go through such ordeals are left psychologically traumatised and in some cases, physically decimated. Jura Nanuk, Deputy President, Croatian Religious Liberty Association, reported on the anti-religious legislation passed in the Hungarian parliament on 14/07/2011, that grants the government the right to determine whether a religious community could enjoy religious status. This legislation has led to the persecution of smaller religions.
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.)
I am honoured, and deeply humbled, to the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) for inviting me on this historic occasion of Human Rights Day 2011. From the very outset I wish to give my personal and, on behalf of the Muslim Council of Britain, congratulations to your organization for the very valuable work you have done which has been very much recognised by international agencies. I have privileged to work closely on previous years and found Rights and Humanity work with faith communities very useful. 10th December date is also a very special date in the international calendar. This is another anniversary of the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights when in 1948 the world community endorsed a remarkable document.
Let me say a few words about Human Rights and Islam before I turn to the topic of religious extremism and fanaticism. I must make it clear that to the best of my knowledge, the modern world had no concept of human rights before the seventh century and it was not until the 18th century that the concept took any practical meaning in the constitutions of a number of countries. From the Islamic point of view God granted rights to all humans, which cannot be taken away by any human institutions. Islam gave to mankind two types ideal code of rights fifteen hundred years ago: 1. Haqooq Allah which means rights and obligations towards the creator and 2. Haqooq an-Nas or Haqooq al-Ibad which means human rights. The first constitutes recognition of duties by human beings to be righteous and act with purity of mind and body in worship and obedience to the will of creator. The second is based upon social contract to do good deeds for common good with dignity and respect for all human beings while appreciating diversity and valuing the difference. This is the obligation of the society for the best relationship between man to man. Every right have some duties and responsibilities, which must be strictly observed, in letter and in spirit.
We the participants, Muslims, Christians and Jews, from different denominations, meet today in London, to express our solidarity with and support for our brothers and sisters of the Iraqi Christian community who have been subjected to terrorist attacks, in particular the congregation of ‘Our Lady of Salvation’ in Baghdad. We emphasise the shared cultural heritage of Muslims and Christians in Iraq, as well as other faiths and denominations, as they have lived together peacefully for generations not only in Iraq but also in other Arab countries and elsewhere. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Iraqi Christians to confront the terror and fear that this important part of Iraqi society now faces, emphasising that these terrorist attacks will not succeed in dividing us and destroying the great values that we share and out long history of peaceful coexistence.
Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid examines the vision of the UN Inter-religious Council as an advisory body to guide the world political leadership on moral and spiritual issues for creating better world. The formation of the UN Inter-Religious Council is the founding vision of the Universal Peace Federation. It will be considered in the UPF Peace Council in London on Saturday 4th December. (For more info)
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.