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Last week, a letter signed by 75 NGOs (including EIFRF) and leaders was sent to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council and all members of this institution, urging them to take effective action to protect religious minorities facing ISIS. Here is the letter and the signatories:


ISIS: 75 NGOs and leaders write to Donald Tusk and the European Council
To Mr Donald Tusk
President of the European Council
 
To All members of the European Council
 
General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union
Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 175
B-1048 Brussels
Belgium
 
Dear Mr President,

Dear members of the European Council,

We write as an informal group of organizations and individuals who are scholars, religious leaders, human rights advocates and practitioners to urge you to set immediate and long-term goals for intervention in the Syrian-Iraqi conflict—to protect Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities and stop the crimes against humanity that threaten their lives and fundamental rights. This is necessary to fulfil your commitments as European Union members to intervene to protect victims of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.

We work to assist people, our governments, foreign governments, and international bodies in supporting international freedom of religion or belief and the elimination of extremism and intolerance. We are committed to freedom of religion or belief for all peace-loving persons in all nations, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, and political affiliation, without surrendering our fervent devotion to the truth claims that undergird our own religious or philosophical convictions. We hope that this commitment will become an important aspect of the policies of the EU in both Syria and Iraq.

We are horrified and anguished by the daily reports of atrocities against defenceless minorities that have continued for three long years in Syria, without effective intervention by the EU or the world community, and that are now sweeping through Iraq as well. Tens of thousands have been killed or injured, and millions have been displaced from their ancestral homes and lands. Beheadings, crucifixions, massacres of men, women, and children of all ages, sexual assaults and enslavement, forced conversions, and destruction of places of worship are daily events. Worse, the perpetrators shamelessly publicize their gruesome deeds and use them as recruiting tools.

The primary perpetrators are the self-styled “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS), Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra), and similar extremist groups. They claim to be waging a religious war against “infidels” in the name of God, with a particular focus on Christians, other religious and ethnic minorities, and Shiites. But they also target Sunnis who reject their ideology and behaviour. Regretfully, it took ISIS exporting to Iraq these horrors they have been perpetrating in Syria for over three years to finally galvanize the international community to recognize the nature of this threat.

ISIS must be confronted in both Syria and Iraq if largely defenceless religious and ethnic minorities are to be saved from this brutal campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing. ISIS recognizes no national boundaries in this conflict. It will quickly retreat to inflict greater harm on Syrian minorities if it is driven from Iraq. It has made clear its plans to export its monstrous ideology and methodology worldwide, specifically to Europe, the United States, and countries throughout the MENA region.

With full knowledge of the enormous challenges of bringing peace to this region, we wish to give you our views on the religious aspects of the conflict and the positive and essential role that religious and ethnic communities and their advocates can play in supporting peace efforts by the EU, its members and other governments.

Specifically, we urge you to take the following steps:

1. Acknowledge the religious dimensions of the conflict and ensure that special attention and policy direction on these issues is part of an overall European strategy to bring peace to the region, including a plan to counter the ideology used by radical extremists, because religious principles should be a foundation for peace instead of conflict.

2. Use EU and EU member states’ governments diplomatic, humanitarian, refugee, freedom of religion or belief, and human rights resources to help establish a lasting peace, interfaith tolerance, and civil societies, which are essential to on-going stability and which military action alone cannot produce.

3. Enlist EU representatives of affected religious and ethnic groups and freedom of religion or belief and civil society advocates as participants and resources that can contribute ideas and work with religious and ethnic communities in the region and throughout the world to support these efforts.

4. Have EU member states provide immediate and targeted military assistance, humanitarian aid, safe havens, and refugee assistance to protect defenceless Syrian and Iraqi minorities.

5. Condition all EU and EU member states’ assistance to those fighting the extremist militants (governmental and non-governmental) on their agreement to: (a) protect and assist all religious and ethnic communities, particularly minorities, during the conflict; (b) support meaningful representation by minority groups in peace talks; and (c) allow minorities to obtain full political and civil rights in post-conflict government structures.

6. Isolate and identify all religious extremists and members of ISIS and similar groups, hold those responsible for crimes against humanity publicly accountable in regional tribunals to make clear that their actions will not be tolerated by the world community, and ensure that religious and faith-based groups have access to re-educate those indoctrinated by religious extremists to pursue peace and respect for all faiths and convictions.

7. Support the restoration of displaced minorities to their ancestral homes and lands and develop a program for compensating them for the enormous human and economic toll inflicted by the extremists, preferably funded by ISIS and similar groups, and for freeing hostages, slaves, trafficked women and children, and others from captivity by extremists, including those that may have been transported to other parts of the world, and provide expanded immigration opportunities for those too traumatized to remain in the region.

We are a truly multi-faith group of organizations and individuals, representing a high degree of diversity. We all agree on the importance of freedom of religion or belief for all faiths and none.  We stand ready to assist in implementation of the points in this proposal, particularly in the formation of a multi-religious coalition to combat and refute the religious ideas perpetrated by ISIS and similar groups and promote freedom of religion or belief and tolerance.

Respectfully,

ORGANIZATIONS

AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY OF BELGIUM
ASSYRIAN AID SOCIETY OF AMERICA
ASSYRIAN AID SOCIETY OF IRAQ
ASSYRIAN GENOCIDE RESEARCH CENTER
ALL FAITH NETWORK – UK
AMERICAN EZIDI CENTER
AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION
BRITISH BOARD OF HINDU SCHOLARS
CARE FOR EUROPE
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY NATIONAL AFFAIRS OFFICE
EASTBOURNE LIBERAL JEWISH CONGREGATION - UK
EUROPEAN COORDINATION FOR FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE
EUROPEAN FEDERATION FOR FREEDOM OF BELIEF
EUROPEAN INTERRELIGIOUS FORUM FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
FAMILY FEDERATION FOR WORLD PEACE AND UNIFICATION
FORUM FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM EUROPE
FREEMUSLIM, CENTER FOR DE-RADICALIZATION AND EXTREMISM PREVENTION
GERARD NOODT FOUNDATION
HAMMURABI HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
HELSINKI COMMITTEE OF ARMENIA
INSTITUTE ON RELIGION AND DEMOCRACY
INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONCERN
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
IRAQI CHRISTIAN RELIEF COUNCIL
KURDISH HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
THE LOKAHI FOUNDATION - UK
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF HINDU TEMPLES – UK
NETHERLANDS SIKH OVERLEG PLATFORM
OUR LADY OF DELIVERANCE SYRIAC CATHOLIC DIOCESE  
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX AUTONOMOUS CHURCH OF AMERICA
SHIA RIGHTS WATCH
SHIRAZI FOUNDATION – DC
SIKH SOCIETY NETHERLANDS
SOTERIA INTERNATIONAL
UNITED MACEDONIAN DIASPORA
UNIVERSAL PEACE FEDERATION IN THE NETHERLANDS
UNIVERSAL MUSLIM ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
WISBECH INTERFAITH FORUM – UK
WORLD AHLUL BAYT ISLAMIC LEAGUE - UK

Individuals

Fr. Æthelwine 
York St John University
 
C Naseer Ahmad
 
Mustafa Akhwand
Executive Director
Shia Rights Watch
 
Dr Ali Hasan Al-Shamari
Iraq-ANajaf Council
Head of Committee on Health and Environment
 
Stephen Baskerville
Professor of Government
Patrick Henry College
 
Bar ten Broek
Secretary
United Religions Initiative Netherlands
 
Jeff Gardner
Founder and Photographer
Picture Christians Project
 
Petar Grammatikov
Hierodeacon of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Vice President - Bridges NGO
 
Katharine C. Gorka
President
Council on Global Security
 
Prof. Gwen Griffith-Dickson
Director
The Lokahi Foundation
 
Yousif Habash
Most Reverend Bishop
Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic Diocese
 
Lauren B. Homer
Homer International Law
Law and Liberty Trust
 
Martha Hudson
One World Medical Mission
 
Dr. Joel C. Hunter
Senior Pastor
Northland - A Church Distributed 

Mirza Ismail
Chairman
Yezidi Human Rights Organization – International
 
James Issakhani
President
Assyrian Genocide Research Center, Seyfo Center
 
Amjad Mahmood Khan
National Director of Public Affairs
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA
 
Jeff King
President
International Christian Concern
 
Greg Mitchell
President
The Mitchell Firm
 
Scott Morgan
President
Red Eagle Enterprises
 
Paul Moynan
Directo
CARE for Europe
 
Sayyed-Mohammad Musawi 
Chairman
World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League
 
Hans Noot 
President
Gerard Noodt Foundation
 
Max Primorac
Former Senior Advisor
Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs, US Department of State
 
Prof. Dr. Rainer Rothfuß 
Arbeitsgruppe Humangeographie (HuGe)
Geographisches Institut - Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
 
Eric Roux
Chairman
EIFRF
 
J.Sekhri,
President
Indian Association of Belgium
 
Satish K Sharma 
General Secretary
National Council of Hindu Temples
 
Roy Speckhardt
Executive Director
American Humanist Association
 
William Spence Spencer
Executive Director
Institute for International Law and Human Rights
 
Morgana Sythove
Chairwoman
Pagan Federation International
 
Juliana Taimoorazy 
Founder and President 
Iraqi Christian Relief Council 
 
Pascale Warda
President
Hammurabi Human Rights Organization
 
Martin Weightman
Director
All Faith Network    
 
William C. Walsh
Human Rights Attorney
Bisceglie and Walsh
 
Ali Akram Zainalbden
Turkmen Rescue Foundation

Rédigé par EIFRF le Saturday, December 6th 2014 | Comments (0)

Conférence Laïcité et Liberté de Croyance : quel avenir pour la spécificité française ?
Conférence –Débat


Laïcité et Liberté de Croyance
Quel avenir pour la spécificité française ?



Avec

Vincent Berger
Avocat – Professeur au Collège d’Europe  
Ancien Jurisconsulte de la Cour Européenne des Droits de l’Homme

Guillaume Déderen
Maitre des requêtes au Conseil d’Etat

Jean-Marc Florand 
Avocat – Docteur d’Etat en Droit

Sophie Gherardi
Journaliste – Directrice de publication de Fait-religieux.com

Asif Arif
Avocat – Directeur de publication de cultures et croyances.com - Chargé d’enseignement Université Paris-Dauphine


Le jeudi 18 décembre 2014 de 17h à 20h
Au Club de l’Assemblée
93, rue de l’Université 75007 Paris

Organisé par le European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom (EIFRF)

Réservations par email à eiforumrf@gmail.com ou au 06 47 69 52 35 


La laïcité, principe de séparation des organisations religieuses et de l’Etat, de neutralité de ce dernier et garantie de la liberté de culte, est aujourd’hui un terme autour duquel frictions et interprétations controversées se cristallisent.

La seule évocation du fait religieux suscite en permanence polémiques et débats dans les médias français.

Signes religieux ostentatoires interdits dans les écoles, collèges et lycées, principe de laïcité étendu à des organismes privés, stigmatisation des croyants, instrumentalisation de la laïcité à des fins populistes et politiques, lutte contre les sectes, rejet de l’Islam, antisémitisme, polémiques autour de l’enseignement du fait religieux dans les écoles, sont autant de pierres d’achoppement qui non seulement ont parfois engendré de fausses interprétations du principe de laïcité mais attirent sur la France des critiques, fondées ou non, de la part de ses voisins européens et des instances internationales.

La France est elle mal comprise, ou souffre-t-elle de son propre manque de compréhension de ce qu’est et doit être la laïcité ? 

Le principe de laïcité doit-il évoluer, ou est-ce la compréhension que les acteurs politiques et institutionnels français en ont qui doit s’affiner ?

Comment le principe de laïcité s’articule-t-il avec le principe de liberté de culte ? La laïcité est-elle une liberté, un devoir, un cadre contraignant ou les trois à la fois ?

Autant de questions qui seront traités par les intervenants à cette conférence. Les interventions seront suivies de débats avec la salle, dans une optique d’échanges constructifs et destinés à envisager un avenir plus serein et dépassionné pour la spécificité française.
 

Rédigé par EIFRF le Friday, November 21st 2014 | Comments (0)

Press release: Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad says a global strategy required to stop radicalisation


Muslim Leader calls for urgent Action against Extremism
On 8 November 2014, the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad delivered the keynote address at the 11th National Peace Symposium hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK.

During his address, His Holiness categorically condemned the activities of ISIS and other extremists groups as “entirely un-Islamic” and said they were “viciously spreading a network of terror” in the world.

Quoting extensively from the Holy Quran, His Holiness proved Islam to be a religion of peace that promoted tolerance, mutual respect and understanding at all levels of society. His Holiness also questioned how extremist groups such as ISIS were funded and supported.

The event was held at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London with an audience of more than 1000 people, including 550 non-Ahmadi guests comprising Government Ministers, Ambassadors of State, Members of both Houses of Parliament and various other dignitaries and guests. The theme of this year’s Peace Symposium was “Khilafat, Peace and Justice”.

During the event, His Holiness also presented Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Founder and CEO Mary’s Meals UK, with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Prize for the Advancement of Peace in recognition of his outstanding efforts to provide food and education to hundreds of thousands of children in the developing world.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad began his address by speaking of the increasing threat of terrorism and extremism in today’s world.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“Over the past year, one particular group has viciously spread its network of terror and has become a cause of major concern for the world. I am speaking of the group of extremists commonly known as ‘ISIS’ or ‘I.S.’ The actions of this terrorist group are not only impacting Muslim countries, but also countries in Europe and further afield are also being affected by its brutalities.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said it was highly “disturbing” that hundreds of Muslim youths from all parts of the world were being attracted by ISIS and were going to Syria and Iraq to fight for them. His Holiness said: “the agenda and objectives of ISIS and their so-called Khalifa are utterly horrific and barbaric”.

His Holiness said that ISIS had a vision to “take over the world” which he classed as “wishful thinking”. Nonetheless, His Holiness said that if ISIS was not “stopped in its tracks” it could cause great destruction in the world.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“Consider just how much suffering and ruin can be caused by an extremist group, which is gathering together frustrated and restless people from all parts of the world who are ready to give their lives for this unjust cause…

This is especially true given the fact that this group (ISIS) does not just have willing individuals but is also heavily armed with sophisticated weapons systems and artillery. Indeed, it is not out of the question that they could eventually lay their hands on nuclear weapons.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

“When all of this is considered there is no doubting the horrific threat to the world posed by ISIS and any of the groups that have similar ideologies. The fact that all of this is being done in the name of Islam sincerely grieves and pains all true and peace loving Muslims because such brutal and inhumane ideologies have nothing to do with the religion whatsoever. Rather, in every way, and at every level, Islam’s real teachings are of peace and security for all people.”

The Khalifa went on to give a detailed account of Quranic teachings in relation to warfare, stating that wherever Muslims were given permission for a ‘defensive war’ it was given as a means to protect all religions and not just Islam. He also explained the unparalleled efforts made by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to spread peace throughout the world.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad went on to speak about how ‘freedom of conscience’ was a fundamental tenet of Islam. He said that Muslims were permitted only to preach the message of Islam in a peaceful way.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“It is never permissible, in any circumstance, to force another person to accept Islam or indeed any religion… All people are free to believe or not to believe. And so when the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was permitted only to convey the message of Islam and nothing further – how then can the so called Muslim leaders of today go beyond this and think they have more power, authority or rights than the Prophet of Islam?”
 

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad ended his address by questioning how terrorist or extremist groups were being funded and by appealing for world peace through true justice.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“I would also hereby like to question those people or organisations who claim that Islam is a religion of violence on the basis of the atrocities of the extremist groups. I would ask them to consider how these groups are able to acquire such funds that allow them to continue their extremist activities and warfare for so long? How do they acquire such sophisticated weapons? Do they have arms industries or factories?

It is quite obvious that they are receiving the help and support of certain powers. This could be direct support from very oil-rich states or it could be other major powers covertly providing assistance.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:

“The funding of these groups is a major problem because it is through these funds that they are able to prey on vulnerable groups or individuals… Thus something has to be done to stop the funding of these groups urgently. The West has now started to realise and acknowledge that this is a war that is actually directly affecting it as well. However, this too is under-estimation – the truth is that this is a war against the entire world.”

His Holiness concluded by saying:

“Most importantly the world must realise that it has forgotten its Creator and they must come back to Him. Only when this happens can true peace be established and without this there can be no guarantee of peace. I have spoken many times previously about the horrific consequences of another global war and perhaps it will only be after such a war that the world will come to realise the destructive results of the unjust policies that were made only to satisfy personal ambitions and vested interests. I hope and pray that the world comes to its senses before such a disaster comes to pass.”

Prior to the keynote address, various dignitaries spoke about the importance of peace and the critical state of today’s world.

Rafiq Hayat, the National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, spoke of the need for peace in the world. Referring to Remembrance Day commemorations that were taking place this week, he said the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community “honoured” all those British servicemen and women who had sacrificed their lives for the sake of their nation during the First World War.

Siobhain McDonagh, MP and Chair of the “All Party Parliamentary Group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’ said:

“I congratulate the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on its 125th anniversary. It is a community that has always promoted peace and harmony in the world.”

Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for Communities said:

“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is my Community – it is my home and this is my place of worship.”

Rt Hon Ed Davey, MP, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change said:

“In the world today we see ‘politics of division’ in so many parts but under the leadership of His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community promotes a ‘politics of unity’ with the aim of establishing unity across the world.”

Rt Hon Justine Greening, MP, Secretary of State for International Development said:

“Tonight is a simple but powerful event where people are being brought together to discuss and understand each other and to eat together as families do.”

Most Reverend Kevin McDonald, Archbishop Emeritus of Southwark, who also read a special message from the Vatican, said:

“I strongly applaud the huge contribution being made by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in spreading peace in the world.”

The recipient of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Prize for the Advancement of Peace, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, CEO Mary’s Meals UK said:

“I am deeply honoured and moved to receive this award and thank His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad for this honour. The work of Mary’s Meals is very simply to feed children so that they are able to go to school.”


Both before and after the proceedings, His Holiness met personally with various dignitaries and guests and also met with members of the western and Asian media.

 

End

Further Information: media@pressahmadiyya.com


Rédigé par EIFRF le Sunday, November 16th 2014 | Comments (0)

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