Peace, interfaith harmony termed need of hour

ISLAMABAD: Participants of an International conference on peacemaking, national integration, social cohesion and Interfaith Harmony have agreed that academia, religious scholars, Aima and media possess vital role in promoting interfaith harmony, peace and social cohesion in the society as well as there is a dire need to disseminate true picture of Islam to counter Islamophobia, says a Press release.
The conference was organized by Islamic Research Institute (IRI) of International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) here at Faisal Masjid campus of the university in which Ministers, Senior politicians, Ambassadors, Academicians, faculty members, researchers, intellectual and religious scholars expressed views on the importance of peace, national integration , protection of the rights of minorities and role of academia in social cohesion.
Speaker National Assembly, Asad Qaiser said these are high times for Muslim world to be united. He underscored the need of discouraging religious hatred, extremism and territory. He said terrorism left bitter consequences and Pakistan sacrificed 70 thousand people on the cost of peace. He furthered that soon peace and peaceful coexistence will prevail in the country. The NA speaker emphasized that it is the responsibility of religious scholars and educational institutions to be the torch bearers of Paigham-e-Pakistan and let the world know that Pakistanis are a peaceful nation.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that it is time to learn from contemporaries. He said that nations whom people admire, have been investing in education for centuries. He said that IIUI is one of the pearls of wisdom in the country and its Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative is a real representation of the Pakistani nation that loves peace and interfaith harmony. He said that it is great to know that more than 30 thousands students are getting quality education at IIUI and students from more than 40 countries are also studying at the university.
Premier’s special representative on religious harmony, Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said that there is a need to say no to violent attitudes as Paigham-e-Pakistan demands to discourage the elements who spread chaos and violence. He opined that it is the prerogative of the state only to deal with blasphemy.
He said that according to religious teachings and the constitution nobody is allowed to take law into own hands. He said no one will be allowed to violate the rights of minorities. Appreciating the IIUI’s initiative of Paigham-e-Pakistan, he said this narrative is endorsed by religious scholars and Aima across the globe from Shaikh Al-Azhar to Imam e Haram.
In the conference, Ambassador of Kazakhstan, Yerzhan Kistafin said that both Pakistan and Kazakhstan have been successfully collaborating to promote peace and harmony. He said IRI’s Paigham-e-Pakistan center for peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction studies has been closely working with the centers at Kazakhstan that led to share experiences for promotion of peace and initiate joint ventures in this regard.
He said Pakistan and Kazakhstan have shared religious values and both countries have been one of the leading promoters of peace, political stability and harmony in the central Asian and south Asian region. It was also addressed by Bulat Sarsenbayev, Chairman Board of the Governors, M. Nazarbayev Centre for development of interfaith and inter civilizational dialogue, Kazakhstan. He highlighted the importance of dialogue and shared the scope and services of the center.
Rector IIUI Dr. Masoom Yasinzai said on the occasion that the Muslim world is facing the challenge of Islamophobia and role of academia is imperative to counter this negative propagation of Islam as research and presentation of Islam’s true picture is the ultimate need of hour. He suggested that relevancy to the needs of the society must be top priority of the educational institutions. He told that IIUI is being hailed for its Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative globally. He called upon youth to be involved in research and constructive activities to deal with the challenges of violence, terrorism and religious hatred.
Dr. Hathal Homoud Aloatbi, President IIUI said that Interfaith Harmony and peaceful co-existence are salient features of Islam. There is a need to further promote these attributes in society. He said academia has a core importance in maintaining peaceful existence and interfaith harmony in the society. Referring to the importance of education, the President furthered that education is key to success and globally knowledge and research of the universities help societies to build political and foreign relations.
He said Paighm-e-Pakistan is one of the major recent milestones of IIUI and it has been addressing the key issues of society through such initiatives. The IIU President said that recent preparation of the strategic plan of the university has set the institution towards the new heights of success in research, infrastructure and academic excellence. He also said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have strong bilateral ties and nations of both countries have immense love for each other.
On the occasion, Director General IRI, Dr Muhammad Zia ul Haq thanked the distinguished guests and explained the objectives and scope of the conference. He said research-based literature for peace and harmony in society is the need of the hour. He also briefed the audience about activities of IRI through the Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative.
Later, Dr. Muhammad Zia ul Haq was conferred a medal by Ambassador of Kazakhstan in recognition of his services for promotion of peace and harmony.
At the end of the conference, an MoU of bilateral cooperation between M. Nazarbayev Centre for development of interfaith and inter civilizational dialogue and IRI’s Paigham-e-Pakistan center for peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction studies was also held.

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