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Ambassadors for Peace weighs in on Qur’an burning controversy

An organization with a “Peace Mandate” which says that people of all faiths should be able to share their beliefs without it turning into persecution or violence, has joined in the criticism of the controversial plan by a Florida church to burning of copies of the Qur’an scheduled for this coming Saturday, September 11, 2010.

Ameal Haddad and Garry Ansdell

The leaders of Ambassadors for Peace say that Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove Worldwide Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, is wrong in taking this action because it contradicts Christ’s character and against the Gospel’s (the Injeel) teaching.

Garry Ansdell, an American pastor and co-founder of Ambassadors for Peace (along with Pastor Ameal Haddad, a Jordan-born minister, both based in Bellflower, California), told the ASSIST News Service (ANS, “The response to any ‘offensive’ statement from any religious book is: debate and not burning books. If people decided to burn books which contradict their beliefs, there will be no end to burning.”

Ambassadors for Peace (www.am4peace.com), cities the UN Article 18 on Human rights as a basis for what it does.

It reads: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Haddad told ANS, “Ambassadors for Peace Mandate is, that all people have the right to peacefully co-exist with religious freedom, mutual respect, and open dialogue in any open forum without any persecution or violence.

Ameal Haddad and Garry Ansdell

“We say, ‘Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Christians must be free, whether in Saudi Arabia, Asia, the USA, Syria or Sudan, or any part of the world to live, share and proclaim their faith, without any reprisal of any sort. We seek freedom of religion, freedom of worship, freedom to convert, freedom to debate, freedom to proclaim and peacefully defend their faith without any violence or oppressive means. Let everyone quote from their own book the whole truth from it, without hiding or covering parts of it regardless of its offence. So that people judge each other based upon their character and not based upon their religion.”

Ansdell then said, “We have had many opportunities to present what we call ‘The Religious Rights Resolution’ to religious leaders and institutions, educational institutions and the media locally and around the world, the response was very positive and encouraging.”

He cited, for example, Al-Azhar Al-Alshareef’s Grand Imam Mohammad Tantawi, which considered to be the highest authority in Islam, endorsed the Religious Rights Resolution.

Then the pair visited Morocco, where they met with Dr. Mustapha Bouhandi, the head of the Comparative Religions Department at King Al-Hassan University in Casa Blanca, who endorsed their plan.

They have also been to Kuwait and were interviewed by the Alwatan Newspaper, and the NEWSWEEK Arabic, Bahrain, President Abd-Aallah Alhawaj of Bahrain University Al-Ahliah, who endorsed the Resolution, as well as interviews with Al-Ayam and the Tribune news papers. When in Dubai, they were interviewed on the “Al-Arabyah TV Net, Idaat-program in Dubai.

Haddad went on to say, “We presented ‘The Religious Rights Resolution’ to a number of ambassadors to the United Nations in New York who were very supportive.

“Then while in Syria, we presented the Resolution to Syria’s Mufti, Dr. Ahmad Bader Al-Deen (the High Islamic Authority in the Republic of Syria), who also supported the resolution.”

During their time in Kuwait, Alqabas, a leading news paper titled the message of Ambassadors for Peace as “The Message of Glory Among the Peoples.”

When asked why they believe that the Resolution the solution to religious violence, Garry Ansdell said, “Plurality of religions is a reality and our Global Village has to deal with different religious sects and denominations.

“Violence under the name of religion is on the increase. It is impossible for one religion to encompass them under one entity. It is impossible to eliminate religions, so that one becomes the only universal religion, one size fits all.
It is impossible to melt all doctrines and beliefs into one religion.

“It is impossible to oppress all people at all times before the world finds out, because with mass communication and internet access, events and news are easily and quickly exposed.

“It is not possible or practical to adjust or compromise doctrines to appease others because no man should have power or authority over faith that claims to be God-centric. That would make religion subject to man, and that would strip religions from their claims of being divine inspiration.

A compromise of this magnitude would oppress people from their divine freedom that God has bestowed upon the human being. “When people compromise their freedom for temporary peace, they are doomed to loose both, freedom and peace.”

To read (and sign if you agree) The Religious Rights Resolution, go to www.am4peace.com

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