Karachi: ‘Being a small continent demographically and covering the land, Europe has produced remarkable people especially in past 400 to 500 years’.
These views are expressed by Javed Jabbar, former information minister of Pakistan in a lecture organized by Area Study Centre for Europe, University of Karachi here on Monday.
On the theme of ‘Promoting ideas of interfaith and cross-cultural ties in building a harmonious world: Role of the European Union’, Javed Jabbar gave a detailed account on the development in science and arts by European scientists and artists.
‘Johannes Gutenberg, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Marx, Lenin, Goethe, Beethoven and others have a deep impact on our lives due to their inventions and theories’, he said.
While discussing religion he mentioned that ‘it is noticeable that Europe is not birthplace of the three revealed religions of the world; however, still Europe has strong association with religion’. Europe’s relations with other faiths started with ignorance, then prejudice and then reached to hatred. Nevertheless, some of the most comprehensive research about Islam is taking place in Europe and it provides an open environment for research and academic activities, he added.
Contemporary Europe, according to him, has recognition of Human Rights and has an official policy to promote interfaith harmony. There are list of countries in Europe which promote dialogue between different religions.
He told about some issues which still bother Europe about other religions which are ‘ban of hijab, construction of minarets, Danish cartoons, killing of Dutch film maker, Norway killings, London bombings, Spain bombings, Chechen crisis, Balkan war and failure of Europe to protect Bosnian Muslims; however, for the first time International Criminal Court is doing trail of war criminals and this credit goes to Europe.
He also discussed few challenges which Europe is facing and according to him demographic changes especially in the context of ageing when it is estimated that one third of the population of Europe would be over 60 years in next 30 years, pluralism due to which communities are unable to integrate, preventing extremism are few challenges which this continent is facing.
‘Europe has a genuine commitment to humanism and the first serious and sincere antinuclear camp was established in Europe. They also have realized the importance of planet in which we all live and hence they have shown serious commitment towards climate change’, he added.
In her concluding remarks the Incharge of the Area Study Centre for Europe, University of Karachi Dr. Uzma Shujaat added that in a world which is constantly shrinking due to globalization, and European Union which is going through the process of enlargement and transformation, interfaith and cross cultural dialogue is a subject that is increasingly touching the lives of the citizens of the world on a daily basis.
She also added that the process of finding one’s own identity affected by the experiences of different nationalities and the ethnic, religious and cultural influences is the question affecting the psyche of Asian, Western and European communities.