LEADERS from six major religions went to a mosque in Langwarrin to explain the role their faith was taking to promote peace.
President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Australia Inam-ul-Haq Kauser said “the majority” of Muslims were peaceful and that terrorist attacks had nothing to do with Islam.
“There are only a handful of [Muslims] who are troublemakers, who are creating the whole trouble,” Imam Kauser said in his keynote address at the Conference of World Religions at the Bait-ul-Salam (House of Peace) Mosque on Sunday 29 November. The theme of the conference – attended by 350 community leaders, including police and politicians – was “The role of my religion in promoting peace”.
The conference came two weeks after a wave of terrorist attacks in the Middle East and Paris left hundreds dead and even more people injured.
“Do not feel that all Muslims verify them [the terrorists] and support them. We do not support them,” Imam Kauser said.
“If the 1.8 billion Muslims, God forbid, become terrorists, what is going to happen? They are not terrorists.”
Imam Kauser said Islam was being terrorised and was in need of “more help than anyone else”.
He said Muslims were suffering as a result of a handful of terrorists, and compared their plight to “a mother who is suffering because of her son’s bad deeds”.
Imam Kauser said the world was being terrorised and “heading towards a brink of fire and a third world war”.
He said “man has gone away from his lord” and “people are not talking about peace but rather they are talking about the differences”.
Imam Kauser believed peace could be achieved by religious and political leaders getting together and promoting peace.
Imam Kauser said the 126-year-old Ahmadiyya Muslim sect rejected violence and had “never participated in any boycotts or terrorist activities”.
“We have educated our youths very well. There is no question that our youths are involved in any terrorist activities in any part of the world.”
Pandit Abhay Anand Awashthi, president of the Hindu Council of Australia, told the conference that religion had “the wisdom and capacity” to bring peace and prosperity to the world.
The need for religions to work together to achieve world peace was backed up by Rabbi Lange, of Jewish Care Victoria.
The Buddhist Society of Australia’s Michael Wells stressed the importance of finding refuge in oneself and taking their personal qualities “from a heart of kindness, from a place of peace and from a place of wisdom to influence the world”.
Retired Anglican priest the Rev Philip Manktelow said “love and peaceful harmony is a desire that we will all harbour in our hearts and in our minds. We believe that peace is a goal that we can all strive for and that we can live in peace”.
Eradicating misinterpretations “back home” could help “achieve so much”, said Sikh Amar Singh.
Opposition multicultural affairs and scrutiny of government spokesperson Inga Peulich said she had been to the Langwarrin mosque several times for “events that promote intercultural dialogue, interfaith dialogue” and praised its members for “really trying to be leaders in our community on building that communication and understanding that I think world peace and certainly peace in our communities we are so dependant upon”.
The conference ended with a silent prayer led by Imam Kauser.