On 30th December 2023, MKA East Midlands region UK got the opportunity to conduct an event on the worldwide Voices for Peace initiative, at the Bait ul Ehsan Mosque in Leamington Spa.
This event was attended by various dignitaries such as:
- Labour MP Matt Western of Leamington Spa and Warwick
- Cllr Bill Gifford of Leamington Spa
- Mr Andy Smith from Justice for Palestine Campaign Leamington Spa
- Dr Martin Bean, President of the Jewish Reform Community
Members of Leamington Spa Jamaat organised the event. Voices for Peace posters were displayed at the entrance, inside the main hall, behind the stage and on a projector screen. The programme started at 6pm with a welcome to all attendees and the recitation of the Holy Quran. Verse 9 from Chapter 5 of the Holy Quran was recited by Khalid Uddin sahib.
Thereafter, Regional Qaid of East Midlands Region, Syed Adil Ahmed sahib introduced the Voices for Peace initiative. Syed Adil Ahmed sahib gave a history of Voices for Peace events around the world. He mentioned that the voices for peace campaign is conducted by the jamaat to bring people together to hear diverse perspectives, fostering understanding and dialogue, to make a meaningful impact on the world.
Afterwards, the guests and dignitaries were shown a montage of video clips of how Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih V (atba) has been advocating for peace and justice worldwide over the last 20 years.
The first speaker was the Labour MP Matt Western who emphasise on the need of a ceasefire to promote peace. He spoke about how this catastrophe on Palestine did not start in the 7th October 2023, but has been going on for more than 75 years. Mr Matt Western spoke about how in the 7 years he has been in parliament, he has really not seen any conviction or determination to address this issue on the international stage.
The second speaker was Cllr Bill Gifford who discussed the horrific violence happening over the last few months and urged the guests to call for peace. He said that lasting peace is the only way to guarantee the dignity and security which the Palestinians and the Israelis deserve.
Thereafter, a video clip was shown with poetry “Are you taking me to the cemetery?” by a member of MKA regarding the current situation in Palestine. This was followed by a speech by Mr Andy Smith from the Justice for Palestine campaign in Leamington Spa. Mr Andy mentioned that their group was initially called Jews for justice for Palestinians group but since 2009 during a previous assault on Gaza, their group grew in number and became justice for Palestinians. He mentioned that their group believes in and support human rights for Palestinians as well as for Israelis and advocate for a lasting peace between both which recognizes the rights of each side. His group has been advocating for ceasefire and peace promotion every week through South Warwickshire. Mr Andy Smith found the poetry very heart-breaking. He further notified the attendees of their upcoming fundraisers and events.
The next speaker was Dr Martin Bean, President of the Jewish Reform Community who at the start thanked AMYA members for hosting the event. He mentioned that unless we hear each other’s perspectives and stories, we cannot move towards peace.
The last speech was by Murabbi Shazaad Ahmad, Missionary of Leamington Spa Jamaat who spoke about calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for a lasting peace in the region. He said that the purpose of this event is to show people that we seek peace and not war, and if the will is there we can achieve peace quickly. Murabbi Sahib quoted Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih V (atba) from his last Friday sermon where Huzoor said:
“The major powers do apparently express sympathy, but do not wish to act with justice and are not serious in this matter. They believe that the war will remain confined to those areas, but those who are wise have started saying the war will not remain limited to those regions but will grow further and reach their own countries”
The event was concluded by Syed Imtiaz Ahmed, Regional Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Midlands. He thanked the guests for coming today from their busy schedules. He said that we must push for a ceasefire in order to gain peace. The programme ended with the silent prayer led by Murabbi Shazaad Ahmad.
After the event a group photo was taken and guests were invited for refreshments. A few interviews were also taken by the Press and Media team where guest expressed their views and interest in promoting peace and advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza. The event was a great success. Alhamdu-li-Allah. The guests found the event insightful and showed interest in attending more of such events in the future.