Most Respected Chairman, My Lords, Members of Parliament, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu. May Allah, the Almighty, make you all the recipients of His peace, mercy and blessings.
We live in a world rent asunder by strife; where warfare and conflict are commonplace; where economies have faltered under the weight of inequality and political systems have ruptured by the force of their corruption; where the most basic of rights purported to be for the many are usurped by the few; where world leaders are finding themselves increasingly powerless in offering lasting solutions to global problems. For every level of human existence, be it individual, communal or indeed global, it is acutely obvious that our modern world is devoid of peace and harmony.
If this is a sad indictment of the current state of affairs, what is the solution? How can we promote global peace and community cohesion? What role can religion play? It is to find answers to these and similar questions that we, the members of the Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, are hosting this event.
We are duly cognisant of the fact that religion is often blamed for many of the conflicts of the world. Indeed, given the horrific brutalities and enormities that have been committed in the name of religion, this conclusion in part may seemingly be justified.
However, we seek to demonstrate by words and action here today that religion, when practiced in its purest form, can be a real cornerstone in establishing peace through the promotion of charity and goodwill, absolute morality, good neighbourliness, and, above all, true brotherhood. True brotherhood, in which man develops sensibility and sensitivity to the pain and suffering of others; in which man wants for others what he wants for himself, can be truly established by virtue of our relationship with one another through our God. Other factors – common interests, common pursuits, common occupations – may help to foster friendship and brotherhood to a degree, but the very same factors may also engender jealousy, envy and hostility. It is the consciousness that we are all equally creatures of the same benevolent God and therefore must constantly seek the pleasure of God, that can bring about the realisation of universal brotherhood, community cohesion and global peace, which can stand the test of all the contingencies to which life is subject.
It is therefore an immense pleasure and privilege for me to welcome you all to this event and to thank you all for honouring us with your presence. I pray that we all leave here today enriched by a better understanding of what belief in God has to offer us all and with a newfound determination to play our part in the promotion of global peace and community cohesion.
May God so ordain and bless us all profoundly. Thanks for having me. Wassalamu Alaikum.