KARACHI: Pluralism, mutual understanding and religious harmony among different religions is ultimate guarantee to peace and security in international politics and state of Pakistan is at survival if the question of religious and sectarian intolerance is not resolved soon.
These views were expressed by scholars & academicians at a two-day workshop titled “The Issues of Religious Harmony in Europe, South Asia & Middle East”, held by Area Study Centre for Europe (ASCE), University of Karachi (KU), in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Foundation, Islamabad on Wednesday.
Dr Mumtaz Ahmed, Executive Director, International Islamic University, in his key note address said that the need of dialogue between religions and regions haD never been so urgent today’s world as before. Addressing the topic, he discussed that Islam is the second largest religion in most of the European societies and this is complex due to the influx of immigrants in European societies that from the ex-colonial Muslim states and also on notion that Muslims are not ready to integrate with the local culture. He further added that apart from claiming the tolerant societies some European countries don’t allow minority to exercise their culture and religious practices such as Hijab, Halal Meat and banning of minarets in the local mosques.
Professor Micheal Boivin, Senior Research Fellow, National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS), expressed his opinion on Sufi-Philosophy in Sindh and said that it was in the 19th century when work of notable Sufi scholars like Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Sachal Sarmast and others were translated in European languages and the that very philosophy creates religious harmony not only between Hindu & Muslims but also to other religions.
Dr Uzma Shujaat, Director Area Study Centre for Europe, University of Karachi, highlighted the importance of the conference and said that people and societies are not only bound together due to mutual interests but also on the existence of God that present in all religions . “Without pluralism & religious harmony no peace is possible in the region and world, in general. She expressed deep gratitude to the Hanns Seidel Foundation with whom Area Study Centre for Europe organized their 20th seminar.”
Sharing her Views, Dr Arshi Saleem Hashmi, Assistant Professor, National Defence University (NDU), questioned on political intervention during the recent sectarian conflict in the Middle East. Sharing her views, she said that there are many variables other than religion that might consider before analyzing recent conflict in Middle East. She elaborated her point that Middle East became the region of proxy war between neighboring countries. Dr. Hashmi criticized the role of allied powers in Iraq, Libya, Syria and others and said that the elimination of Secular political forces in those countries creates a political vacuum that were fulfilled by right wing militant jihadi groups like ISIS.
Abbas Hussain focused on the academic interpretation of dialogue and its importance in the today’s world. He said that equality, listening and bringing assumptions into reality are pre-requisite of initiating dialogue in any society. He further added we as society wouldn’t survive in 21st century without adopting the ethics of present times.
Dr Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, Associate Professor, Cell for FATA Studies, University of Peshawar expressed his opinion on the divided Islam in Afghanistan & India and said that religion and sect is important political catalyst the region. He added that urbanization & general health facilities are now increasing in Afghanistan and this time local Afghani wouldn’t welcome Taliban as their saviors.
Dr Zahid Ali Zahidi, Assistant Professor, University of Karachi, Dr. Nazeer Hussain, Quaid-e-Azam University, and Hanns Seidel Foundation representative Kristof W. Duwaerts also spoke on the occasion.
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