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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

February 2018
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Speeches

In the Universal Peace Federation I found an explanation for cause of the intolerance in the world. To me, this message was simple, yet powerful: “Tolerance is not only harmony in difference, but also a moral duty compelling one to live for the sake of others.” Tolerance is a fundamental principle requiring respect, acceptance, and appreciation of a divine way of life in which there is a rich diversity of culture of heart.

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The Islamic nation is now being asked more than at any other time to acquire the means of unity and community. These meanings are found in the Holy Qur’an in clear guidance: “Lo! Verily, this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me.”

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British Muslims are the most multiracial, multinational, and multilingual in the world. We are also becoming the most innovative in evolving into the kinds of Muslims that will be relevant and a suitable prototype for the 21st century.

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I am originally a Palestinian. My father was a mufti, a judge, and he was a leader in our area. He always protected the Jews from any violence. A Jewish man told me this when I returned to my hometown in 1967. This man also introduced me to his father, who had known my family very well. He told me wonderful stories about how the Jews and the Muslims and the Christians all lived together in harmony and peace. He said there was a beautiful coexistence among our people.

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If the language of religious people (Muslim, Christian or Jew) is offensive or out of place when shared with others, whether religious, business, scholarly, political or otherwise, perhaps we need to de-religiousize it. If our language, arguments or conversations are offensive to civil society, and if we cannot speak to every corner of the Earth and share it with kings and the common person, we need to strip away the dialectics and speak to the universal concerns near and dear to all humanity.

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Most American Muslims will tell you that America is the most Islamic country in the world, because it safeguards the rights that have been given to Muslims in their constitution, which is the Qur’an. It makes provisions for you to be a full human being and participate in society. Why do they come to America when they hate this place so much? They do so because they know that they can come here and be a street peddler; in 15 years their son will go to college, in five years he will become a lawyer, and they will have citizenship and full rights in this country. This is the hope that America gives.

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Syria contains a lot of marks of past prophets. You can find churches and mosques in the same neighborhood. In Damascus you can find two Jewish temples. They can worship God freely without any difficulties. The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus contains the tomb of John the Baptist. There is a very important gate in Damascus. It is the very gate through which the Apostle Paul passed when he began to be an apostle for Jesus Christ.

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Man is free to choose. He can answer God’s call for peace, love and compassion, or answer the devil’s call for hate and crime. Men can go lower than beasts or higher than the angels. It depends on the status of our internal jihad (internal struggle) whether we follow the forces of the divine or the forces of the devil.

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The media is a powerful weapon, the weapon that is being used with great force, tact and ruthlessness to attack Islam and Muslims. People do believe what media tells them to believe, because a time comes when media, from being a carrier of a message, becomes the message itself. Today this message is that Islam is violence. This is one big fat lie which must be nailed.

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An aware and wisdom-seeking Muslim believes in himself and his belief, and therefore can fear not the other. Tolerance is a sign of open-mindedness, and the intellectual and behavioral world of Muslims is indeed open and vast. Those who are tolerant believe in themselves and their role in the world, and they are known for their foresight. Intellectuality is compatible with foresight and open-mindedness, and tradition is jeopardized through narrow-mindedness.

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Civic responsibility in political society, I believe, refers to the duties and responsibilities of the individual Muslim as a citizen to the society that gives him protection and provides the environment for the fulfillment of his personal potential.

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Like other religions, Islam teaches us to love and respect, to be kind and helpful to everyone. Prophet Mohammed clearly prohibited killing those who are not fighting with you and killing women and children even during war. Life is sacred. Saving a life is like saving all of mankind. And killing one is like killing all of mankind.

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