LONDON – In the largest gathering of Muslims in London, thousands of visitors converged in the 6th Global Peace and Unity festival, enjoying a platform of various speakers, performers and service providers.
“The festival is packed with activities, from sports, competitions, game-shows, games for children, conference, nasheeds, concerts and much more,” Mohamed Ali Harrath, the GPU chairman, told OnIslam.net.
Harrath was speaking at the two-day conference held at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in Royal Victoria Dock, London, England and organized by the Islam Channel.
Multiculturalism Fills the Air (GPU Event)
According to the Global Peace and Unity’s official website, the event, held on November 23, 24, is designed to promote dialogue and "global cohesion across all communities".
The gathering, which began in 2005, is the largest of its kind in Europe, drawing tens of thousands of visitors from 5 continents and 132 countries.
In addition to lectures by international speakers, the conference hosted other activities including an exhibition, stalls for promoting Islamic businesses and others for collection of charity donation, and evening nashīd concerts.
The meet has also seen highp-rofile speakers over the years, including London mayor Ken Livingstone, British MP George Galloway, Muslim scholar Jamal Badawi and Pakistan’s cricketer-turnedp-olitician Imran Khan.
As the only event of its nature and size, speakers included the former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, Rev Riah Abu el-Assal.
“We are part of the human race, irrespective of whether we are Muslims or Christians, we come from the same creator and we are called upon to protect that beautiful image of God in each and every one of us,” he said.
Elsewhere, the Muslim scholar Yasir Qadhi was also present the event where he asked the question, “What exactly is the way forward for the Muslim community?”
“We are the moderate nation, we do not go to extremes, we are very angry at many things that are happening, at the double standards, but that anger should lead us to be pro-active, it should lead us to challenge those stereotypes, it should lead us to educate, it should lead us to become role models in all that we do, and our religion is a healthy combination of deen (faith) and dunya (this life),” he responded.
Along with a platform of notable international speakers, the event offered Muslims entertainment, services and advice.
“Muslim Care Campaign are being supported by the MCB (Muslim Council of Britain) and are here raising awareness of elderly care,” Noor Shahzad said about the initiative to raise awareness of caring for the elderly.
“We want Muslims to have their say on care services for elderly Muslims in the UK.”
A number of professional bodies were also represented, such as the Association Of Muslim Lawyers (AML), which coordinated and implemented a legal advice clinic at the GPU.
“AML recruited three of London’s foremost legal firms, Imran Khan & Associates, Duncan Lewis and Docklands Solicitors who provided 25 lawyers giving free legal advice to over 120 people,” said Amjad Malik QC, Chairman, AML.
The accompanying exhibition included a number of brands such as Ahlan Arts.
Their stand was made all the more interesting with an artist on-site to write names name in beautiful Arabic calligraphic script.
“We’re basically an Islamic Arts marketplace, we’ve recently started up and we’re promoting international artists around the world,” Taslim Mawji said.
A group of high spirited Muslim volunteers has also worked to offer Muslims the best experience in their lives.
“I had no idea who any of the speakers were. So last night I spent a couple of hours yesterday and decided to built myself an app,” Amhed Hameed, one of the volunteers at the GPU, said.
“GPU 2013 app has every speaker I knew was coming. Chose your speaker, it gives you a picture, and a brief description so I actually had a conversation starter.”
Yet, like all Muslim gathering, the matrimonial services attracted a huge number of young Muslims, wishing to meet Mr or Mrs right.
Such was the success of the marriage program at the GPU that a number of people were unable to secure tickets to the sold out event.
“…And the third group of people who come to GPU, they’re here to get marrrrrrriiiieeeed,” Baba Ali said in his stage performance to be met with audience roars in laughter and embarrassment.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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