Gathering of Muslims in UK denounces violence

LONDON: A prominent Muslim scholar has exhorted Muslims to follow the path of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), His family and His companions and not the “destructive” path Osama Bin Laden, of Al-Qaeda and its affiliate extremist organisations.

Allama Tahir-ul-Qadri was speaking to a mammoth crowd of around 12,000 people who had travelled from all corners of UK at the Wembley Arena on Sunday to hear the Minhaj-ul-Quran International issue a global declaration against extremism and terrorism at the Peace for Humanity conference.

The crowd and the faith leaders gave Dr Qadri a standing ovation when he denounced violence in the name of Islam and called for interfaith harmony and global peace. The London Declaration for Global Peace and Resistance against Extremism was fully endorsed by Grand Shaykh of Al-Azhar Dr Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyib and the World Association of Al-Azhar graduates.

Addressing the Muslim youth who have joined the ranks of extremist groups, Dr Qadri said these people were “lost and brainwashed by the criminal elements”. He called on them to “come back to the normal life of Islam which is about peace, tolerance, mutual trust and understanding of others”.

In a colorful ceremony, representatives of all religions who called for tolerance, respect and mutual coexistence amongst all faiths offered individual and collective prayers. The faith leaders joined Dr Qadri and the Muslim crowd in reciting Darood shareef-tribute to the life of the last Prophet of Islam (PBUH).

The audience also 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.

The unanimous declaration also calls “condemns anti-Semitism (including when sometimes it is disingenuously clothed as anti-Zionism), Islamophobia (including when it is sometimes disingenuously dressed up as patriotism) and all other forms of racism and xenophobia”.

It also calls on all Muslims and other minorities living in the West to respect all the laws of the country in which they are living whether they possess the status of citizen or resident”. Brief scuffled broke out outside the ticketed venue as less than a dozen members of an extremist Muslim group gathered and protested against the conference and its message. But the police was called and the demonstrators were moved away from the scene.

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