Norway: Ahmadiyya Annual Peace Conference
“Challenging Intolerance and promoting Moderation”
By Steinar Murud, UPF Norway
On April 9, 2019, I was invited to the annual Ahmadiyya Muslims’ Peace Conference in Oslo, Norway. Their mosque Baitun Naser is the largest in Scandinavia with a capacity for 5000 people. I have participated several times before, but this time I was invited as a speaker.The conference title was «Challenging intolerance and promoting moderation».
Since the opening of the mosque in 2011, this conference series has hosted many well-known guests and speakers. One of our former Prime Ministers, Minister of Government, mayors, politicians, religious leaders as well as ambassadors has been among the speakers.
The conference is banquet style with an audience of around 400 participants. At my table I had the superintendent of the local Police; the secretary general of the Stefanus Alliance International; the head of studies at Bjørknes University College; the dialogue leader at the Nansen Peace Center and Sir Iftikhar Ayaz from London. Sir Iftikhar was very informed about UPF as he was an Ambassador for Peace and had even participated in many of our conferences, both in the UK and Korea.
Among many points in my ten-minute speech, I introduced how True Father managed to make friends out of enemies, particularly in the case with the meeting with president Kim Il Sung in 1991.
One great result from this conference came from my conversation with the police superintendent. It turns out that they are doing much preventive work against extremism and radicalization. They have a team that keeps regular communication with all faith communities in this particular suburb of Oslo. Two times a year they organize a «Dialogue Forum» for representatives of all these communities. When the superintendent heard about our UPF work, he said “you should be invited to the forum”. Next day I received a mail with the formal invitation and right after Easter I will participate. I believe God is opening doors for us.