The leader of a global religion based out of south west London used a peace symposium to call on western Governments to help Syrian refugees remain in their country and bring about peace by co-operating with the President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

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His Holiness Hadrat Mirza Hasroor Ahmad, Kaliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, which has millions of followers in more than 200 countries, addressed an audience of about 800, including media from around the world, at the 13th Peace Symposium in Morden on Saturday.

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In a far-reaching speech he condemned terrorism and extremism, reminded people that those who preach revenge or violence are not following the true teachings of Islam, and called on the world media to focus less on the actions of this minority, but instead praise the good that is done in the world.

He also spoke passionately on the growing refugee crisis stemming from continued civil war in Syria.

His Holiness questioned the intervention by western powers in Iraq and Libya, arguing it had only led to civil strife and greater turmoil and opened a vacuum filled by extremist elements.

He then advocated support of the existing regime in Syria, to end the conflict there.

He said: “The priority is not regime change for the sake of it but the public are given their due rights.

“The national powers should be working to open up communications with Syria’s Government. Policy change is only possible if someone can set aside their personal motives.”

The Kaliph even warned that if Governments around the world cannot set aside policies based upon economic and geopolitical gain then we could be heading towards another world war.

Earlier in a press conference attended by journalists from countries including Ghana, Hong Kong and Greece, His Holiness argued European Governments should work to help Syrian refugees remain in their country and work to achieve lasting peace in the region.

Asked particularly about whether the British Government could do more he said: “No matter how rich you are you cannot accommodate this number of people.

"I don’t agree with the policy of the UK or German Governments because you cannot accommodate them. The British economy is going down because of this influx of refugees."

He added that the Governments looking to accommodate people should be commended for their sympathy towards the people’s plight, but that this was not a feasible solution, arguing places like London are “already saturated”.

Also at the symposium, held at the Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden, were MPs Siobhain McDonagh, Jayne Ellison, Paul Scully, Dominic Greave, Stephen Hammond, as well as London Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith and secretary of state for international development Justine Greening.

Ms McDonagh called on people to pray for Councillor Maxi Martin, who has been unwell recently.

Ms Greening, MP for Putney, spoke to highlight the excellent charity work the Ahmadiyya community carry out through the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association and charity Humanity First.

The evening also saw the presentation of the Ahmadiyyah prize for the advancement of peace 2016 to Hadeel Qasim Hussein Al-Okbi.

Ms Hussein Al-Okbi is a former refugee who has dedicated her life to helping child refugees forced to flee areas such as Iraq due to conflict.

His Holiness concluded by thanking those who had attended and reiterating his religion’s message – Love for all, hatred for none.