–Panelists call for promotion of acceptance, existence, reconciliation and progressive dialogue to counter extremism
LAHORE: Religious scholars from different schools of thoughts, while sharing a stage in front of diverse audience, highlighted the importance of creating ways and means for peaceful society with inter-sect harmony and peaceful coexistence.
Addressing a seminar – Inter-Sect Harmony – held on Thursday at the Pakistan Institute for Language, Art & Culture (PILAC), the scholars called for unity among all on the basis of humanity and urged the promotion of acceptance, coexistence, reconciliation and progressive dialogue in order to counter extremism.
Panelists, including Mufti Raghib Hussain Naeemi, Pir Waqas Munawar Mujadadi, Allama Asim Makhdoom, Allama Ghulam Abbas Sheerazi, Maulana Shakeel-ur-Rehman Nasir, Maulana Abdul Majid Wattoo, Allama Mujahid Abbas Gardezi, and Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi, shared their views, seeking a mutual consensus and commonalities among different sects and religions to disseminate the concept of inclusive society.
Moderated and facilitated by renowned anchor Awais Iqbal, the panelists said that a tolerant society could ensure social inclusion by providing all citizens equal opportunities to grow without the discrimination of sect, faith or color. Mentors, working on peace narratives in Multan, also shared their success stories about how they ensured inter-sect harmony in their respective areas of South Punjab through various activities, focused on promoting co-existence, tolerance, and harmony.
Addressing the seminar, Mufti Raghib Naeemi said that everyone will have to give each other space and accept them with respect and tolerance. “We need to create a level of tolerance and acceptability and we should not sanction death for anyone on the basis of religious beliefs,” he said, adding that no other person should have the authority to preach or talk about religious beliefs of another sect.
A detailed discussion was also witnessed on the importance of implementation of the government laws including National Action Plan (NAP), Hate Speech Ordinance, Loudspeaker Ordinance, Madrassa Registration, Wall Chalking Act 1995, Sound System Regulations, Vigilance Committee Act, and Temporary Residence Act (TRA).
Allama Asim Makhdoom said that there was a visible and positive change being witnessed among all sects as there was a great level of tolerance being seen and practiced in mosques. “We do have differences and they may remain. But there is a consensus on major points, which need to be prioritized,” he said.
At least 56 per cent Pakistanis follow their respective religious leaders, he said while quoting a report. “This makes it an important responsibility of religious leaders to play their role to transform the society and promote inter-sect harmony,” he said. On the occasion, Allama Ghulam Abbas Sherazi suggested that the religious schools need to work on their respective curriculum and reject intolerant behaviour.
“Our civil society needs to play its role in spreading the message on all domains. The media needs to promote peace and tolerance and there needs to be acceptability among all the sects,” he said. Also, Mahmood Ghaznavi said that there was a need to unite against hatred, intolerance, and extremism.
Pir Waqas Munawar said that it was important that all those who want to learn should ask questions to the learned and the religious leaders of different sects. He said there can be differences between various schools of thoughts, but when it comes to Islam and Pakistan, ‘we are one and it is our religion that binds us together.’
On the occasion, the audience mainly from different Islamic seminaries and the universities asked questions to the panelists. At the end, CPSS Executive Director Saeeda Diep and Mufti Raghib Naeemi presented shields and bouquet to the panelists.