This evening marks Iceland’s first interfaith peace congress held by Ahmadiyya Muslims. Such meetings are held regularly in countries with active Ahmadiyya communities, but this will be the first time in Iceland, Vísir reports.
The meeting will take place at CenterHotel Plaza in Reykjavík and is open to all. The meeting will be led by Ibrahim Michael Noonan, the first Irishman to become an Imam in Ireland. He was raised a Catholic in a small town in the south of Ireland, but switched religions 23 years ago, after having been studying to become a priest.
Ibrahim has long been a spokesman for the Muslim community in Ireland and is a regular media interviewee when it comes to the cultural clash going on in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe.
The most remarkable thing about this evening’s religious meeting is the invite for representatives of other religions to attend, and to give speeches.
Sigurður Árni Þórðarson, the priest of Hallgrímskirkja, will speak for Christians. Eygló Jónsdóttir will speak on behalf of Icelandic Buddhists, and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, High Priest, will speak on behalf of the Ásatrú Pagans. The meeting was organized by Mansoor Malik, the Ahmadiyya missionary in Iceland.
"This is what Islam is about, the message of peace," says Mansoor Malik. "Whether people take it or not, it does not change the fact that people must live together and we have to live in harmony. The only way to do it is to connect the elements that unite us. Whichever way you look at it, everybody wants peace."
Imam Ibrahim Noonan adds, in his charming Irish accent: "We want to show and teach the correct version of Islam, and not the version that has for so many years dominated all coverage. We want to give everybody the opportunity to come and ask questions. Whether they are about religion or politics. This has been our tradition, and now for the first time in Iceland. I believe that this is an historic moment for our community, and I believe it is also for Iceland. "
“We believe that we are all created by the same god. It makes no difference what religion you adhere to, or what you call him,” Mansoor says.