Remembering Muhammad Ali – Can you let the Ali in you shine?

By Rebecca Gebauer

 

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Last week the world mourned the loss of the “Greatest of All Time”, Muhammad Ali. Having grown up long after the great times of Ali as a boxer and generally being suspicious of superlatives being attributed to anyone, I observed the media coverage with some interest and surprise.

My memory of Ali is that of a man impacted by Parkinson’s disease who I merely remember lightening the Olympic Flame in Atlanta in 1996 and carrying the US flag at the Olympic Games in 2012. Additionally, as I was living in Germany at the time, even during those big events I did not get to see original interviews of Ali but only documentaries on him. Essentially, I had no idea why a boxer of the 1960s and 1970s was called “The Greatest of All Time”. Continue reading

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6th Annual Fatima al Zehra Interfaith Conference: Women, Faith and Leadership

The 6th Annual Fatima al Zehra interfaith conference reflected true colours of diversity displayed in a unified string of humanity. We had colours: a red turban, a navy skirt and a floral Hijab. We had more colours: A muslim. A Jew. A Chirstian. A Sikh. A Hindu. All unified with a string of faith. Their own faith! The respect for others and their respective faiths! A lovely tapestry of core human and British Values! The young and those seasoned with time, the males and those who gave birth to them…all were brought together by a fervent heart and dedicated mind who carries a respected name and charismatic personality: Rubab Mehdi Rizvi

Conference - London 1

I was awe struck by the positive vibes that one could sense being exchanged, mingled and overlapped through words, looks, applaud, smiles, and clicks! The speakers were thoughtfully culled to share the heart of three major faith groups: Abrahamic Faiths.

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Pakistan fails to protect Ahmadiyya Muslim Community over alleged blasphemy

Press Release for Immediate Use: 

A mosque belonging to Ahmadis was attacked and torched by angry protestors in Jhelum, hours after a Ahmadiyya owned factory was torched over alleged blasphemy.

  Global Minorities Alliance urges Pakistan government to ‘step up’ its effort to protect lives and properties of Ahmadiyya Muslim community who are often subject to persecution, harassment and victims of violence because of their faith.

The call was made after the reports made available to GMA that a chip board factory, owned by an Ahmadi, was set on fire in Jhelum. Chip board was being manufactured in the factory when some miscreant reportedly informed the local cleric that copies of Holy Quran had been delivered to the furnace. Thereafter, without any further enquiry, announcements were made on loudspeakers in mosques that Holy Quran had been desecrated in Ahmadis’ chip board factory.

A violent mob was formed through these provocative announcements, which surrounded the factory, pelted stones, caused damage and then set the factory on fire by the use of inflammable material. Law enforcement personnel arrived at the scene and rescued the people trapped in the factory. The fire has destroyed 70% of the factory while 8 vehicles parked inside were also severely damaged.

The spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya community expressed great anguish over this incident and said that a deliberate attempt had been made to burn Ahmadis alive by torching the factory under a plan. Someone pushed the vicious allegation of blasphemy for personal vendetta and animosity.

Last year on July 27, 2014 during Ramzan in Gujranwala three Ahmadi females were burnt alive by an enraged mob over baseless allegation of blasphemy of the Holy Ka‘ba. Subsequent investigations proved the allegation entirely false and a result of personal animosity. He said, “Every Ahmadi is mindful of the Sha‘air of Allah more than his life as they are part of his faith. We have been taught that, ‘those who honour the Quran are honoured in the heavens’.

According to the National Action Plan a ban on hateful speeches is little more than paperwork, as extremist elements are free to implement their hateful anti-Ahmadiyya agenda, he said. He demanded transparent investigation of the incident and swift action to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Global Minorities Alliance Director for Interfaith and Harmony, Mr Shahzad Khan said: ‘Pakistan government must take strict measures to stop hate speech propaganda by clerics who whip up hatred against members of other faiths, instead they must act to promote peace and understanding’.

Global Minorities Alliance in its recent meeting with All Party Parliamentary Group UK on International religious freedom and belief in London, described persecutory events as a ‘state failure’ which is unable to stop on-going violence against all minorities in Pakistan.

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Correction: The mosque was attacked in Jhelum not in Lahore as previously stated. We apologise for the mistake.