Greetings from Dignitaries who attended (32nd WRC)

32nd World Religions Conference

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Event

The following dignitaries attended and brought greetings:

From Regional Municipalities:


"’s very important that we understand one another..."

Greetings from Mr. Ken Seiling, Regional Chair, Region of Waterloo

"Well good afternoon everybody. It`s great to be here again this year and as many of you know, those of us many on stage, here in public life Saturdays is a very busy day for us and we all have very full schedules today, but the fact that everybody took time to come to the opening ceremony today speaks to the importance of understanding within our community and I hope that you won`t be offended that some of us sort of move on to other events but we want to be here for this opening ceremony specifically, because we are a growing region and growing community in a growing province. This region is growing about 10,000 new people every year.

And the face of our region is changing as time goes on. It isn't the traditional white Caucasian faces but it’s a broad community that represents the globe really and it’s a community which we are very very proud because we are a rich community because of all that the various cultures bring to our community. But when we have a community like that we need to understand one another. And understanding is so very very important. So opportunities like this where we have an opportunity to study, understand different religious perspectives that people bring into our community, because quite often at the base of discrimination and other problems is religion. So it’s very important that we understand one another, that we see other people`s perspectives because as we move this community forward and it continues to grow and prosper we all are part of it and we all are part of its success. I hope you have a great conference and enjoy the afternoon. Thank You."


"...Religion does play an important role in all levels of government...."

Greetings from Her Worship Brenda Halloran, Mayor of Waterloo

"Thank you, good afternoon everybody. It’s an absolute honour to be here again. This is the 7th time I have been able to attend this conference and I can’t imagine that it’s already been 32 years that we’ve all have been gathering together to discuss such important issues that affect all of us. But this year’s topic is for me and for members of us on the stage, quite interesting. ‘The Idea of an ideal Government’ and what is an ideal government and how does religion play a role in creating ideal governments globally. And as we know there’s a lot of issues happening in countries far from here and I really respect the comments to be made by the speakers on the importance of religion and the importance of Canada and the country that we live in and the freedoms that we have to celebrate and to respect and to discuss issues of religion and to respect each other for our beliefs.

For me as a municipal leader religion plays a very important role in my day to day job and in councils job. And what we have to do to ensure that we bring a great quality of life to our communities and we’re always aware of what’s happening to people in our community. And I can’t imagine in my role as Mayor not having religion involved in local government. I can’t imagine not being able to pick up the phone or to email the religious faith based leaders in my community who I am close to many of you…and saying I need help or we have a family that needs help or there’s a homeless person that needs a home and needs food and clothing, and we have women and children who need help.

And the people that I reach out to are the people that are religious faith based communities because you care and because you are here because you care. So I believe that religion does play an important role in all levels of government and I believe that we must respect those roles and help each other in providing the greatest quality of life, to provide equality, and fairness and reaching out to others who need our help and provide those opportunities for all. So I want to thank you for being here today and for having this important discussion. I look forward to hearing what the outcomes are and I want to thank the guest speakers for giving us your insight and to open our minds and to provide us with guidance and better insight on how we can make life even better for those that we serve. So congratulations on your topic today, very fascinating topic and thanks to each and every one of you for what you do for our communities, because without all of you we couldn’t make life better for those we are here to serve. Peace be with you."


"...We are much more diverse and we welcome many new faiths..."

Greetings from Her Worship Karen Farbridge, Mayor of Guelph

"Good afternoon, I am very pleased to be here to bring greetings on behalf of the city of Guelph. Thank you very much for inviting me. Prior to the settlement of Guelph in the early 1800 the lands of Guelph were home to the ancestors of our aboriginal community.

And like many communities in this region they were founded by people of the Christian faith. The stone Churches that were built in our downtown where our city started are testament to the importance of those faith communities in our early development. They were very much part of the vision that John Galt our founder had for our city.

The years have gone by and our communities have changed significantly. We are much more diverse and we welcome many new faiths into our communities along with those who hold humanist beliefs as well. The separation of Church and State in our democracy has laid the foundation for the religious and personal freedoms that we enjoy in this great country.

And as Mayor I share Mayor Halloran’s perspective. As Mayor I am invited into faith communities in Guelph all the time…and I am always so impressed by their commitment to the people in their congregation but also the commitment to the community and also the commitment to the world as well. They all have some work that they do internationally as well. Neutral respect and understanding among faith communities is vital for a healthy and inclusive community. So I really thank you for the work that you’re doing here to promote that. It is very valuable to all of us and our communities and I think it makes our jobs as politicians a lot easier. Thank you very much."

"....Policing in a pluralistic society ensures that we uphold the rights and freedoms of every individual....."

Greetings from Chief Matt Torigian, Chief of Police, Region of Waterloo

"Well good afternoon. It truly is my sincere privilege to bring greetings to each and every one of you on behalf of the Waterloo Regional Police Service. I looked forward to this weekend and this day every year.

I very much enjoy listening to the readings and the image of our entire community standing on stage together and sharing philosophies and beliefs. It is an image that I carry with me for the entire year.

The guiding principles to policing that are formed and are resident in the Ontario Police Services Act which is a government document. Some of those guiding principles include policing in a pluralistic society. It is ensuring that we uphold the rights and freedoms of every individual. That is incumbent upon us, The Police Service, to be representative and reflective of the communities we serve.

I take that to mean that we in policing can only police with the consent of the people, all people in our community. So I congratulate and thank each and every one of you for your dedication and your commitment to being here today, to sharing your thoughts and your philosophies and your beliefs. Whether it’s to reaffirm our current state or to find in pursuit of a better way forward, it is truly an honor for us to be living and working and serving in a community that cares…and I congratulate not only the organizers but each one of you as participants for this 32nd World Religions Conference and wish you a wonderful weekend of sharing. Thank You."

From Members of Provincial Parliament:


".... promoting peace and understanding, and tolerance is work that is absolutely essential in our communities....."

Greetings from Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph

"Thank you Indira and it’s just a delight to be here.  First of all I would like to on behalf of my colleague Catherine Fife who is the MPP for Kitchener Waterloo, welcome you to her riding.  Unfortunately Catherine was double booked and I always tell people I can only be two places at once if they are in the same city.  Catherine had the problem that the other place she was suppose to be was in Windsor.

So she had to unfortunately leave but she did want to know that she was delighted to have the opportunity to be here and be here in at least the beginning of presentations.  A guess you have heard from the Mayor of Guelph so I’ll just say welcome to Waterloo Wellington region okay.
But what I would like to talk briefly about is to say thank you to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamat for arranging this event for over 3 decades.  And the purpose of promoting peace and understanding, and tolerance is work that is absolutely essential in our communities.

One of the things that I have had the opportunity to do as MPP was to chair something called the safe school actions team.  The first project that we looked at was bullying and kids bullying each other in our schools.   And there’s lot of reasons why people choose the target that they do but unfortunately what we know when we look at the data is that amongst the primary reasons for bullying and the kid who is being targeted is their race, their country of origin, or their religion. 

And to have children in our schools being bullied because of their religion is absolutely unacceptable.  So we can work at schools to promote religious understanding and tolerance of differences in the students.  But what we also know is that the attitude of the adults in children’s life is absolutely the primary determinant of how that kid is going to think.   So to see a whole room full of adults who are thinking about how to promote tolerance in our province and to pass that onto children in their lives is an outstanding, amazing, and essential enterprise.  So thank you so much for being here."


"....We have ignorance and fear that creates hatred....."

Greetings by Jagmeet Singh, MPP for Bramalea—Gore—Malton

"Thank You.  Greetings to everyone here today.  My name is Jagmeet Singh.  I bring greetings on behalf of the Ontario NDP Caucus and our leader Andrea Horwath.  I am very excited to attend this event.  This is actually not my first event.  I had the privilege and honor of attending many other events of this nature and I hope to do so many more times in the future.

So I want to thank the organizers for putting together this beautiful event to have pluralism, to have multiculturalism and diversity, talking about religions is a way to correct some of the serious problems that are going on.  I want to limit my remarks to one serious problem that we are all affected with; there is a climate of intolerance, there is a climate of fear, there is a climate of hatred that is permeating our society and we need to stop it.

This climate of intolerance and fear and hatred; we`ve seen some of their examples.  We`ve seen islamaphobia, we’ve seen the attacks on the Sikh community.  Joplin Missouri is where the Masjid was targeted with graffiti and we have constantly seen some attacks of a very heinous nature against the Sikh community.

What we need to do is this; the breeding ground for hatred is fear and ignorance.  When you don’t know about a community, when you don’t know about a religion, that breeds fear.  We have ignorance and fear that creates hatred.  What we need to do is to overcome that problem by replacing the ignorance with understanding.  We need to replace the fear with compassion.  When you understand someone you can feel compassion for them, and when you have understanding and compassion you create a climate of acceptance as opposed to hatred.

There’s two last things I want to share with you is that there’s two great dangerous words when we talk about pluralism or multiculturalism or different religions.  There’s two great dangerous words which we need to combat.

One of those words is the words extremist or extremism.  This word should be eradicated from our language, from our diction because extremism has a very subtle undertone of a hatred nature.  When we say someone is extremely polite, that’s a good thing.  When we say someone is extremely kind, that’s a good thing.  But if they are a Christian extremist, a Muslim extremist, a Sikh extremist, a Hindu extremist, we’re suggesting that by being an extreme Sikh or an extreme Muslim, or an extreme Christian, there is something wrong with that.  That suggests that the actual faith is inherently wrong.  Really dangerous language, we need to stop using extremism.  We need to stop our media from using that word because it subtly suggests that there is something wrong with those faiths.  What we need to do is be more accurate and say we condemn violence, we condemn hatred, we condemn hurting other people, that’s what should be used as language; violence, hatred, those actions should be condemned.  But extremism is inaccurate, it suggests the wrong thing altogether.

The last thing I want to leave you with is acceptance.  The language should be of acceptance not tolerance.  When you hear the word tolerance that suggests we’ll just tolerate your existence.  We’ll tolerate you.  You are not that good but we’ll tolerate you.  Wrong.  We need to change that and we need to replace that language with acceptance.  We need to all be accepted for our various faiths and for our religion, for our beliefs.  Acceptance is what we want.  We don’t want tolerance.  We don`t want somebody to simply tolerate us.  We want to be accepted here in Canada and across the world.  So those are my thoughts and remarks.  I had limited time so I could have shared more ideas with you but those are my ideas for today.  Thank You."


".... all religions practice fundamentally the same values and principles. ....."

Greetings from Bob Delaney MPP for Mississauga - Streetsville

"Thank you very much Indira. Good morning ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests. Assalamo Alaikam, Namaste, Sasrikar, Shaloom.

Without wishing to prejudge the deliberations this afternoon to talk about an ideal government, we can’t be that far from it when the shortest speeches of the day are all from the elected officials. It is my great honor and privilege to be among my Ahmadiyya brothers and sisters and ofcourse to be joined by so many other friends and representatives from other great religions.

For more than 30 years, The World Religions Conference has served as a forum for different religious and ethnic communities; to gather in the spirit of tolerance and peace and cooperation and understanding. This conference serves the very noble purpose of educating members of the community regarding interesting and relevant topics by providing a platform where all of the major religions can share their collective wisdom and their teachings regarding the topic of the year.

When I look at our beautiful province of Ontario I imagine a vase with different flowers and stems, and larger the bouquet the more beautiful and colorful it is, the more desirable it is. Though every stem has its uniqueness what makes the bouquet and the vase a whole cohesive beautiful entity is its blend.

In fact it’s the diversity in our cultures which makes us unique. And its beautiful because we coexist, we blend together and we become one. Our province of Ontario has many faces, many faiths, and many cultures. But it has only one name and that’s Ontario. Often religions are judged by the deeds of their followers. I am sure if we listen attentively today we’ll notice that all religions practice fundamentally the same values and principles. The difference lies in our individual acts.

Good is always triumphant over evil, positive always above negative. We all practice our faiths to the best of our abilities within the time constraints that we have. We’re all born unique in our existence and we’re proud of that we’ve achieved. Ontario is the best place in the world to call home and it’s the best because we’ve made it that way by celebrating the differences that we have and accepting one another for who and for what we are.

I thank you very much for the privilege of attending each and every year. I bring you along with my colleague Liz Sandals greetings on behalf of the government of the province of Ontario. I pray that this conference will achieve what it sets out to achieve, to bring us together under one roof, and one voice and to speak with that proud voice, of the province of Ontario.

Thank you very much, Sasrikal, Dhaniyaivad, Allah Hafiz.  And if Mr. Malik you and Indira could join me on behalf of those of us who serve you in the Province. We would just like to bring the greetings of our Government to the conference.  And Liz could join me as well."


From Members of Canadian Parliament


"....I am always, always, very grateful to [your] approach, love towards all, hatred towards none, and specifically for what is exemplified here this morning. ...."

Greetings by Stephen Woodworth MP for Kitchener Centre

"Good afternoon everyone. I don’t know about you but I was very impressed by the eloquence of our last speaker and I know that I can’t possibly equal that. So I am going to just make one or two very simple points. The first as said as the Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre I am always grateful to be present at an event organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at.

I am always, always, very grateful to for their approach, love towards all, hatred towards none, and specifically for what is exemplified here this morning. That is a spirit of inclusion amid diversity and I think in fact the lesson that I would like to suggest for those who are going to be here all day is that this is the right approach for an Ideal Government. No one is excluded, all voices are heard, and at the end when we deliberate, we consider the wisdom of our collective ideals.

I believe it requires fundamental strength to proudly bring your ideals and your convictions to the public marketplace of ideas, whether in government or in an event like this. And I believe it is sign of strength to be able to listen and respect and accept where appropriate the ideals and convictions of others, and to me that is the function of an ideal government.

I am going to leave my written congratulations with the others outside and if you’ll permit me I’m going to take a moment to bring greetings to you from another very respected public servant, the Honorable Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who took note of this event. And he said the following:

‘I would like to extend my sincere greetings to all those attending the 32nd World Religions Conference organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamat . On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I would like to thank all of the organizers and volunteers for your hard work and all the time you committed to making this event successful.

The 32nd World Religions Conference, the largest multi faith event of its kind in Canada, educate members of the community by providing a platform where all major religions can pool their collective wisdom and teachings, to work together in opening avenues of cooperation and interaction. Buoyed by the contribution of many faith communities that thrive in our great country, The World Religions Conference has enriched our society by promoting peace, understanding and tolerance. As Minister of Citizenship Immigration and Multiculturalism, I would like to thank the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamat and all of the organizers for bringing people together and providing a forum for discussion, learning, spiritual growth, and understanding of other faiths. Best wishes for a wonderful conference and to those of Minster Kenny, I adjoin my own. Thank you very much."


"... Our government is deeply committed to the concept of freedom of religion. ..."

Greetings by Harold Glenn Albrecht, MP for Kitchener—Conestoga

"I want to add my words of thanks to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for their work that you do in opening up these opportunities for dialogue among our people here in the Waterloo region and beyond.

Our government is deeply committed to the concept of freedom of religion. I believe that freedom of religion is the most basic religion any government can give its citizen because when we have freedom of religion, inevitably we have those other freedoms of assembly, freedom of worship, freedom of speech. And so our government is committed to that not only here but also around the world, and we’re establishing the office of religious freedom.

I have had the opportunity of worshipping with you in different settings, in your gurdwara, in your mosques, in your synagogues, and your churches. And I could say that I am deeply committed to the concept of protecting your freedom of religion. As a Christian I believe that is my duty.

There are two risks I think in the dialogue that I enter into with people of different faiths. One is that I will disagree with everything about your religion; that I will see no common ground, but I think equally big danger is that we will say they’re all the same. Well you and I know that they’re not and to assume they are I think is disingenuous and I would urge us to enter into respectful dialogue.

Each religion can stand up to the rigor of scrutiny and public comment and still with a deep, deep respect and admiration for the other person. So I urge you to do that today in your deliberations and I would ask you, if you come up with a one page summary of what an ideal government is, I would love to have it. Thank You, I wish you God Blessings today."


"... I want to thank you for all of you being together; so many people in faith and spirituality ... "

Greetings from Mr. Khokhar representative of Jim Karygiannis, MP

"Good afternoon everybody and it is such a charging environment to be here. And when you have people from different faiths coming and talking so openly and so tolerantly about the country that you all live in and enjoy. I personally feel that it’s very uplifting for myself sitting there and listening to all great speakers.

I received this morning greetings from the Honorable Bob Rae, Leader of the Liberal party Canada. And unfortunately Jim Karygiannis and or Mr. Bob Ray could not be here but they want to let you know that there’s a special relationship that liberal party enjoys with Ahmadiyya Community who show love, respect and brotherhood, and I am just going to read the message on to you.

‘It is a great honor for me to send greetings to anyone attending today the 32nd World Religions Conference. I would like to thank the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamat and organizing committee as well as all the volunteers who make this conference such a wonderful event year after year.

As Canada’s largest multi-faith event, I want to thank you for all of you being together; so many people in faith and spirituality. This year you are also commemorating Queen Elizabeth’s second diamond jubilee. During the past 60 years the world has undergone great changes and advances and her Majesty has presided over the modernization, the monarchy, with strength and dignity. The conference is a great opportunity to thank her for her dedication, service to our country, to the common wealth and to the world and for her abiding faith and service to religious understanding and harmony.

This year we are discussing, as you’re discussing the idea of an ideal government, the complex theme is of great importance to a country like ours and it will be very constructive to have it examined on an open forum with input to all major faiths. I know you will provide insight to all of us with respect and diversity and understanding, and help with bonds of friendship between communities. On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and Liberal Caucus, Parliamentary Caucus, please accept my best wishes for this conference.’

I would like to request Honorable Lal Khan Malik Sahib to please come up and please accept this greetings with love and respect. Thank you."


Catherine Fife, MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo also attended the opening ceremony. She could not bring greetings, as she had to leave early for another commitment in Windsor Ontario.


Note: Numerous other dignitaries send written greetings and messages for the delegates. Some of these are being posted on this website.

  • Greetings and messages from special dignitaries - Governor General of Canada, Prime Minister of Canada, Premier of Ontario, Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada [Click Here to View]
  • Written greetings and messages from numerous other Municipal leaders, MPPs and MPs - [Click Here to View]


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