We present the transcript of a special video message by His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, to the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief 2022, held in the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, London, UK.
His Holiness (aba) stated:
‘In the name of Allah, the Gracious and Merciful. I am very pleased to learn that the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief 2022 is commencing today in order to promote and protect the fundamental principles of freedom of religion and belief. As per the theme of this inaugural session, it is certainly the case that freedom of religion and belief are core human rights that must be preserved and protected for everyone and everywhere. Though we are living in an increasingly secularised world in which people are moving away from religion, many millions of people around the world continue to adhere to religious values, and it is essential that they are able to live their lives according to their beliefs and convictions. Thus, as the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, I sincerely commend and appreciate the fact that you are holding this conference to defend religious freedom globally. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has, itself, been the victim of grave religious persecution to the extent that obnoxious laws have been enacted against us preventing our members from professing and practising their basic religious beliefs. Over a period of many decades, Ahmadi Muslims have been mercilessly targeted only because of their religious beliefs, and many have lost their lives as a result of utterly inhumane and barbaric attacks by religious extremists. However, we have never and will never respond to such hatred and cruelty in a like fashion. Rather, our response will always be one of love and peace. Based on the teachings of Islam, we say to Muslims and non-Muslims alike that all people must always be free to profess and practice their peacefully held religious beliefs. Indeed, Allah the Almighty has enshrined freedom of belief and freedom of conscience to such an extent that the Holy Qur’an states that permission to use force is only permitted in response to those who seek to eliminate religion from the world. In fact, the Holy Qur’an categorically states that if one does not respond forcefully to those who seek to destroy religion, then no church, synagogue, temple, mosque or any place of worship where the name of God is recited will remain safe. Hence, the Holy Qur’an has made it the religious duty of Muslims to protect the rights of people of all faiths and made freedom of belief a cornerstone of our religion. Furthermore, it is the duty of the major powers, governments and international bodies to use whatever means they have to protect the rights of minorities and to enshrine that all people are able to live freely according to their beliefs. In light of this, I am confident that those nations, leaders and organisations participating in this auspicious conference will sincerely strive to ensure that irrespective of caste, creed or colour, people in all countries are able to openly profess and practise their beliefs without any fear. At the same time, as a religious person, it is my heartfelt belief that true freedom and lasting peace in the world are not possible until mankind comes to recognise his Creator, fulfils His rights and acts upon His Commandments. Whether religiously inclined or not, we must recognise that there is one God Who is the Creator, and in Whose hand lies all creation, and so it is our duty to fulfil His rights and that of all mankind. May Allah the Almighty enable true religious freedom and harmony to prevail and for all communities and people across the world to live their lives freely according to their beliefs. Finally, I offer my best wishes to you all for the rest of this conference and pray that it comes to fulfil its true objectives to protect and preserve the principles of freedom of religion or belief throughout the world – Ameen. Thank you very much.’