Muslim peace conference condemns terrorism

25 September 2011
Last updated at 01:11 GMT

Thousands of Muslims have attended a peace conference in London which has condemned terrorism.

About 12,000 Muslims gathered at Wembley Arena for Islamic group Minhaj-ul-Quran’s Peace for Humanity Conference.

The conference launched a campaign to get one million people to sign an online declaration of peace by 2012.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said the conference would send a message that 10 years of extremist activity should end.
‘Love and smiles’

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri is the founder of Minhaj-ul-Quran and gave the keynote speech at the event, despite having received death threats after issuing a fatwa – or religious ruling – against terrorism last year.

The cleric was repeatedly applauded during his address in which he said the « terrible » 9/11 attacks in the US had distorted perceptions of Islam over the past decade.

He told the audience: « In spite of statements and memorandum and condemnation of the terror, the voices of the 99% true, peace-loving Muslims have not been heard, they have been drowned out by the clamour and the noise of extremists.

« Islam has nothing to do with any act of terrorism. We reject every act of extremism and terrorism unconditionally. »

The event, which took one year to organise, was attended by people from across the UK, many of whom arrived in coaches.

Those who attended heard a series of lengthy and impassioned speeches, some in Arabic, from Islamic scholars denouncing terrorism and extremism.

Ghazala Hassan al-Qadri, president of the MQI Women’s League, told attendees: « Islam teaches love, it teaches compassion, it teaches tolerance, it teaches mercy. »

Another speaker – Egypt-based Islamic scholar Shaykh Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri – told the conference: « Islam is a religion of justice, not a religion of injustice… is a religion of manners and co-operation, not a religion of extremism and radicalisation… is a religion of forgiveness and pardon, not a religion of brutality and revenge. »
Messages of support

The audience heard pre-recorded messages of support from, amongst others, Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, opposition leader Ed Miliband, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams.

And there were prayers for peace from representatives from a number of different religions including the Bishop of Barking, the Rt Rev David Hawkins, Jewish rabbis and representatives from the Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh faiths.

The declaration of peace included a call for democracy and good governance in the Muslim world, respect for human rights, and alleviation of poverty throughout the world.

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