Let us build bridges not walls

Today the world is riddled with problems; East to West, North to South, everywhere there are countless troubles and difficulties; in brief, every part of this planet is surrounded with huge discomfort. Human beings are suffering through poverty, fighting, killing, unrest, disorder, as well as with social and economical crisis. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, rains, famine, lack of food, etc. are also seen in large numbers and on a huge scale.

But, unfortunately, and very amazingly, for man who is already riddled with endless problems, there are certain powers, certain organisations, and certain groups of people who are building walls of hatred. And these walls are getting higher nowadays, even more now than ever before in the history of mankind.

In recent days the plan of burning the Quran was a hot issue, and in response demonstrators were burning the flags of some countries and were raising the slogans of hatred and malice.

Aren’t the walls of hatred already too high; is there any need to make them even higher? Aren’t the bridges, which can unite us, already lacking? Isn’t the world already full of unrest, instability and uncertainty? Aren’t these walls of hatred already causing so many troubles on this planet?

In these circumstances such plans and actions, and such demonstrations and protests only help in destroying world peace. These provocative acts achieve nothing but to cause distress and anger to millions of peace-loving persons worldwide. Burning any religious scripture is a horrific act and is directly contrary to the teachings of all the world’s major religions. And such demonstrations and protests in which they burn flags, which are the symbols and honours of countries, raise slogans of hatred, use violence and damage properties are also categorically condemnable.

These actions are not a service to humanity or to any religion, but they surely destroy the peace, tranquility and serenity of the world. We have to show great respect to all the sacred books of all the religions, whatever the name is.

This plan was condemned by many political and religious leaders of the world. The Vatican condemned the plan saying it would be ‘‘an outrageous and grave gesture’’. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for International Dialogue said in a statement that: ‘‘each religion, with its respective sacred books, places of worship and symbols, has the right to respect and protection’’.

The Holy Bible and the Holy Quran are both sacred books and were revealed by the same Almighty God for the guidance of mankind, and they both deserve to be respected and shown great honour. They are sacred to the people so we should not offend them. I think tolerance and respect for each other is very important.

I am very pleased that this plan was cancelled and did not take place; and cancellation statement was issued saying: “Not today, not ever”. I pray that we never see any such plan in future which may cause anger to the peace-loving persons and may good prevail always.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat always condemned such acts of hatred; weather against Judaism, Christianity, and Islam or against any other religion. And always promotes tolerance, harmony, universal brotherhood and inter-faith dialogues so that the respect and love among religions can be established.

However, it is true that there are some differences in the teachings of every religion, but this is also a reality that there are hundreds commonalities among them; we have so much in common. How nice and decent it would be if believers of all the religions would focus on commonalities rather than on differences, to create the atmosphere of harmony and tolerance.

But, if someone wants to discuss and to get answers to his questions, still this is not the way to disrespect the Sacred and Holy Books and to play with the sentiments of their believers. These discussions, exchange of ideas, experiences and teachings can take place; and I think they must take place, so we come to know more about each other, but in a very decent and respectful way, with the aim of knowledge and establishing harmony among believers of different faiths.

There is nothing wrong with intellectual or theological debate but this should be conducted with the bounds of decency and tolerance. These discussions should take place in a peaceful and respectful environment.

Today the world needs peace, love and brotherhood. The world needs an end to wars. Instead of walls of hatred being erected we need peace to prevail and for this to occur people of all faiths must join together.

As the Jesus Christ said: ‘‘blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:9-10). We all must try to be the peacemakers so we can benefit from this glad-tiding and be called the real children of God to whom He loves.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat with great sympathy and sincerity appeals to the world that this is not a time to sow the seed of hatred, malice, disrespect and intolerance because they will ultimately destroy the peace of our societies and will create disorder on this beautiful planet. But, please, let us sow the seeds of love, harmony, tolerance and universal brotherhood, because these values will grow fruitful trees and gardens of peace, tranquility and serenity for the whole mankind.

It also appeals to different schools of thought and people of different religions and faiths to join together in building bridges which will unite us, and let us demolish all the walls of hatred and malice which separate us from each other. Let us all carry the message of peace and brotherhood to everyone, and let us spread the message of love for all and hatred for none to all corners of the world so we can all enjoy security and peace of mind, and pass something valuable to our children and generations to come, and let us save humanity.

14 September 2010

About Laiq Ahmed Atif

www.ahmadiyya.mt E: amjmalta@gmail.com Mob: +35679655255 twitter.com/ahmadiyyamalta www.facebook.com/ahmadiyyamalta www.youtube.com/user/AhmadiyyaMalta
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