Reported by Dr. Mujahid Saeed.
Hazrat Ameer Prof. Dr. Abdul Karim Saeed was able to fulfil a long-standing invitation to visit the Houses of Parliament, in London, on 10th November 2011. This invitation and visit had been organised by Mr. Nasser Butt, a British Ahmadi — Liberal Democrat Politician. Hazrat Ameer was also accompanied by Jamaat members, Mr. Assad Ross and Dr. Mujahid Saeed from the United Kingdom.
Hazrat Ameer arrived at the Houses of Parliament at 1300hrs and was met by Lord Eric Avebury at the Peers Gate. Lord Avebury is a former member of the House of Commons for the Liberal Democrats and has been serving several Human Rights causes for many years and has received many international awards for this.
Lord Avebury led the entourage on a tour which included The Queen’s Robing Room and The Royal Gallery. Hazrat Ameer presented Lord Avebury with a copy of the recently revised English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (revised and edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz) in the Queen’s Robing Room.
The entourage followed Lord Avebury to The Lords Chamber (The Chamber of the House of Lords) where the House was in session and the debate on War Veterans was witnessed for a few minutes. On exit from the Chamber, members were introduced to Baroness Floella Benjamin of Beckenham, whose political interests include equality and diversity.
Lord Avebury then hosted lunch for the visiting party in the Jubilee Café where Hazrat Ameer introduced the beliefs of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jamaat (Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore) and the oppression that it has to face in certain parts of the world. After lunch, Lord Avebury was presented with Dr. Zahid Aziz’s book, Islam, Peace and Tolerance.
They then proceeded to the Balcony of the Palace of Westminster along the River Thames and had some photos taken.
From there, Lord Avebury led everyone to the Central Lobby where Rt Hon Tom Brake, Member of Parliament for Carshalton and Wallington, was awaiting to meet the entourage for the rest of the tour. Tom Brake MP is Co-Chair of the new Liberal Democrat Backbench Committee on Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities.
Tom Brake MP took the entourage from the Central Lobby, through St Stephen’s Hall, to the Westminster Hall, and finally into the New Palace Yard. Along the way he introduced some historical aspects of these parts of The Palace of Westminster’s interiors and exteriors, including the The Clock Tower (Big Ben). Members were introduced to Lord Graham Tope in the Westminster Hall, who is the current Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
The tour of Westminister Hall was followed by some tea and coffee at the Pugin Room where Hazrat Ameer introduced the Jamaat to Tom Brake MP and a discussion followed. Hazrat Ameer gifted a copy of the Holy Quran and the aforementioned book by Dr. Zahid Aziz to him after the Coffee.
Tom Brake MP then led the delegates back to the Central Lobby and arranged for some passes for the entourage to sit in the live debate in The Commons Chamber (The Chamber of the House of Commons) and said his farewells to Hazrat Ameer and companions. In the Chamber, the team witnessed the debate of Veterans of the two World Wars.
The tour concluded with some refreshments in the public cafeteria next to the Westminster Hall around 6pm.
We express our deep thanks to our Honourable Members of the British Houses of Parliament for their hospitality, love and affection shown to Hazrat Ameer and his team. Lord Avebury has invited the Jamaat to actively work with him to combat the human rights abuses against Ahmadis in Pakistan and elsewhere around the world. The UK Jamaat hopes to work to strengthen this link forged by Hazrat Ameer on this historical visit, Insha-Allah.