The Delhi based Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan and members of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality (CPS) visited US for two weeks from 26 August to 8 September.
The Maulana had been invited by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). In the course of this visit, CPS members participated in a number of programs in Washington DC and Wallingford, Pennsylvania before attending the ISNA convention.
On 27 August, the Maulana and CPS members visited the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington and engaged in a roundtable conversation on Islam and peace.
The program included the release of the Maulana’s most recent book “The Age of Peace”, which was introduced to the audience by Dr Sayyid Syeed, National Director for the Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances for ISNA.
In his opening remarks, the Maulana explained that in The Age of Peace he has discussed the nature of the modern age and the changes brought about by it, because of which people can achieve their goals by opting for peaceful means.
During the team’s ten-day stay at Wallingford, several individuals and groups came to meet and interact with the Maulana, including Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, members of the Positive Thinkers’ Club based in New Jersey, and Anuttama Dasa, who serves as ISKCON’s International Director of Communications.
The Maulana and the team travelled to Chicago on 4 September to participate in the 52nd annual ISNA convention.
On the convention’s second day, the Maulana was presented the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the 18th Annual Interfaith Unity Banquet. The award recognized Maulana’s decades-long work in presenting Islam according to the contemporary idiom and developing an ideology of peace based on Islam.
In his acceptance speech, the Maulana said that peace could be achieved only by following the law of nature. The law of nature is based on tolerance. If you want to establish peace, you will have to tolerate other human beings.
The Maulana spoke on ‘Dealing with Extremism in the Muslim Community’ on 7 September, the third and last day of the convention.
The Maulana cited ISNA and the educational movement initiated by Fethullah Gülen as two examples of organizations that are peacefully carrying out religious work in the United States without facing any restrictions. When one can successfully achieve one’s goals peacefully, there is no need at all for violence. Thus, the Maulana stressed that those who adopt violent methods need to be made aware of the great scope opened up by the modern age to attain goals solely by peaceful means.