A policy debate on extremism, held in the European Parliament yesterday, 20th September, considered what responses to extremist religious views were effective while maintaining freedom of speech and other fundamental freedoms of liberal, western democracies. The debate, chaired by Dr. Charles Tannock MEP and convened with the support of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, approached the threat of extremism to all communities.Very articulate and well researched presentations from Dr John Bew, the Co-Director of International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at Kings College London and Sofia Lemmetyinen, the EU Liaison Officer for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, presented a picture of radicalisation and intolerance that is insufficiently challenged either in chatrooms, in the public sphere or in international diplomacy. Journalist and daughter of the late Salman Taseer, the Governor of the Punjab in Pakistan who was assasinated earlier this year due to his opposition to religious extremism, was unable to attend and speak on 'Religious Persecution in Pakistan' as planned because of the sudden abduction of her brother.
Commemorating the UN International Peace Day an event was held in the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) HQ in 43 Lancaster Gate on the 19th of September. A presentation on the efforts of UPF to support the United Nations in various initiatives, especially to promote dialogue between the different religions of the world, was made by Robin Marsh. There followed a number of contributions from the audience who came from many different faith backgrounds. Jack Corley, Chair of UPF in the UK, in concluding remarks spoke of the vision and continuing passion of UPF's Founder, the 92 year old Father Moon to build a peaceful world. Photo link
Harrry Shukla MBE has been credited for great community cohesion work in the Newcastle Gateshead area. He attended the UPF Peace Council last year to talk about his work. He commented on the occasion 'When I went to London to Lancaster Gate I met all kinds of lovely people from all kinds of backgrounds. They were doing the work in different ways but all for the same objective which is to create peace and harmony.'
South London Peace Embassy - Thornton Heath
Freedom of movement is an essential right which is the basis for the exercise of other human rights, concluded the UPF South London conference held to commemorate the 20th annual occasion of the International Day of Peace. About 35 participants attended UPF’s event entitled “Building a World of Peace” on Saturday 17th September 2011 at the Peace Embassy building, Thornton Heath. The meeting spotlighted tensions experienced by Palestinians and the Sudanese and featured expert commentaries from speakers with first-hand knowledge of the situations on the ground.