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Emotional scenes as peace convention begins

posted on 19/04/2014: 2344 views

There were emotional scenes as four people embraced Islam amidst thunderous applause during the Dubai International Peace Convention (DIPC) on Thursday.

Islamic slogans rang out each time as three women and a man visiting DIPC took their ‘declaration of faith', which was witnessed by thousands during the course of the event.

The three-day DIPC, taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre, features a dozen famous Muslim preachers and public speakers, who reinforce the central Islamic tenet of justice for all faiths and people.

The event is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

It was not immediately clear if Thursday's fresh converts to Islam were residents or visitors to Dubai. One woman identified herself as Argentinian while the others appeared to be of south-east Asian origin.

Their acceptance to Islam came during question and answer sessions between speaker presentations. They said they had been interested in Islam and wondered what steps were needed to accept the religion.

One woman who became Muslim was moved to tears as she repeated after speaker Mufti Esmail Menk the declaration of faith in Arabic and English.

Willingly saying with firm belief that ‘There is no-one worthy of worship besides Allah and Mohammad is his worshipper and messenger' is all one needs to enter the Muslim faith, Menk told the converts. The Zimbabwean motivational speaker added that he and other Muslims would be at hand to provide further guidance on Islam to the new believers.

Similar scenes have previously taken place at Islamic events in Dubai. In 2013, a number of people accepted Islam during the Ramadan Forum that also provided free presentations on Islamic topics to residents of all faiths.

"Islam is a knowledge-based religion,” Menk told the converts and the audience. "The more you learn about it, the more you love it.”

More than 27,000 people had registered to attend DIPC before its opening on Thursday night.

During his talk on ‘The Religion of Peace', Menk said Islam stood against violence but some people "hijack Islam and use it for their gain.

"We've so many people fighting in the name of peace — is that Islam? This has been completely misunderstood. Educate yourself, it's all about learning. Never let anyone use you in what is clandestine.”

Menk gave a number of examples where Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his companions treated non-Muslims kindly and ‘leaned towards peace' even when targeted by opponents. He also quoted verses of the Quran prohibiting unlawful fighting.

He added the one of the meanings of the word Islam itself is peace and the Muslim greeting starts with "peace be upon you. Will you then harm someone after greeting them with Salam [peace]? Every single one of us has rights over others, and others have rights over us, regardless of [being] Muslim or non-Muslim.”

His presentation was followed by a talk by US speaker Yousuf Estes, a former priest who accepted Islam.

Estes said it was peace and not material wealth that all people actually seek most in life — whether they are consciously aware of it or not.

He quoted the Islamic saying ‘If man was given a mountain of gold, he would want another one' to illustrate what he described as a never-ending cycle of wanting more of everything.

"Everything in the material world goes away... I've seen those things, I've had those things,” Estes said. "But I couldn't find that peace. No matter what I did, it didn't come.

"I was looking for ‘success, success, success'. That means getting what you want. But happiness is to want what you have. And Islam is the ultimate success.”

Estes, who once wanted to turn a Muslim man into a non-Muslim, added that he eventually decided to accept Islam after seeing "peace on [Muslims'] faces after putting their head on the ground in salah [ritual prayer].

"It was through this example — of following the example of Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him — that helped me to get to Islam.” – Gulf News -


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