Friday sermons: Committee to finalise code to conduct next week

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ISLAMABAD: After the government decided last week to monitor Friday sermons at capital’s mosques, a recently formed 12-member Ulema committee will finalise its code of conduct next week, Pakistan Today has learnt.

In order to eliminate the menace of religious extremism and sectarian violence, the government took the initiative to monitor Friday sermons at capital’s mosques so that peace can be ensured among all sects. Following the decision, Islamabad administration had formed a 12-member committee of prayer leaders from Deobandi, Ahle-Hadith, Barelvi and Shia school of thoughts, which will finalise its code of conduct and submit its report to the Islamabad administration, said the sources privy to the development.

“On Monday, our final code of conduct will be finalised as the committee is working on it,” said Maulana Zamir Ahmed Sajid, who is a member of the committee. According to Maulana Sajid, the terms of reference (TORs) of the committee include preparing a draft code of conduct in line with the teachings of Islam.

The cleric said that the code of conduct will be comprehensive and it will cover all aspects which will promote religious harmony among all sects.

Maulana Nazir Farooqi, another member of the committee, explained that the committee meetings discussed each and everything so that peaceful environment could be developed among all sects.

“Unfortunately, loudspeakers of mosques have been misused which promote sectarian hatred and extremism so Friday sermons of capital’s mosques will be monitored by special branch, and a weekly report will be submitted to the deputy commissioner,” stated the official documents.

The government has decided to take all stakeholders into account in this matter to ensure proper implementation.

It is pertinent to mention that the ministry of interior held a meeting with city’s clerics in which topics were formally handed over to them for Friday sermons, and they were asked to avoid hate speeches that promote sectarian violence.

A senior official of the administration believed that Friday sermons are a powerful platform to disseminate views, as most of the mosques are filled to their capacity and preachers use the pulpit to communicate various ideas. The promotion of militancy, hate speech and rebellion against the state must be strictly off limits, he added.

“Authorities in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE provide themes and guidelines that are incorporated in Friday sermons to avoid religious extremism and promote sectarian harmony,” said the official.

Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Capt (r) Mushtaq Ahmed, told Pakistan Today that Islamabad had notified the committee, which will now finalise the code of conduct and then a meeting will be held with them.

 

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