LONDON // A global declaration condemning terrorism was issued yesterday by a leading Muslim scholar at an international peace conference in London billed as the largest gathering of its kind.
More than 12,000 Muslims from Europe and Asia - including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the Indian subcontinent - met at Wembley Arena for the Peace for Humanity Conference, timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of September 11.
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a Pakistani theologian who founded Minhaj-ul-Quran International - a Sufi-based organisation that claims millions of followers worldwide - issued the declaration calling for an end to terrorism and for human rights to be protected after the Arab Spring.
Nick Clegg, the UK's deputy prime minister, was among senior politicians who lent their support to the declaration in video messages.
Representatives from all major religions also attended.
Dr Qadri, who lives in Canada, issued a fatwa against terrorism last year, prompting death threats from Al Qaeda.
Calling the declaration a "historic document", he said his organisation held the conference because "we want to give the message to the whole of the Muslim world and the youths who have been brainwashed that this is Islam and what it stands for - peace, harmony, tolerance, moderation, love and compassion".
His group hopes the declaration will attract at least a million signatures - at www.peaceforhumanity.co.uk - and be adopted by the UN.
Minhaj-ul-Quran International has been granted special consultative status by the UN.