Interfaith engagement a ray of hope for social cohesion: moot


ISLAMABAD: Speakers at the concluding ceremony of a three-day summer camp on Friday maintained that interfaith engagement offers a seed of hope for a sustainable social cohesion and a healthier and vibrant civil society.

The summer camp titled ‘Social Cohesion Through Interfaith Dialogue’ was jointly organised by the Quaid-e-Azam University, Paigham-e-Pakistan, Center for Peace, Reconciliation and Reconstruction Studies, Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, in collaboration with Air University Islamabad, CSC, SDPI, Bashar and Positive Pakistan.

A number of scholars delivered speeches during the three-day activity.

Prof Tahir Mahmood spoke on ‘Perception Management with Regard to Interfaith Harmony and Egalitarianism’ while Dr Bushra from IIUI spoke on ‘Psychological Means to Counter Extremism’.

PIPS former executive director Zafarullah Khan highlighted ‘Protection of Core Human Values in the Light of Quran and Constitution and Citizens Obligations’.

Dr Aftab spoke on ‘Concept of Aman in Islamic Jurisprudence and its Contemporary Implications’. Jennifer Jagjeevan threw light on ‘Conflict Resolution with Regard to Interfaith Dialogue’.

Nimrah Ishfaq spoke on ‘Ethics of Disagreement and Anger Management’, while Prof Mehrdad Yousaf and Shafqat Munir from SDPI discussed ‘Commonality of Religions for Promoting Peace in Pakistan’.

Dr Waseema Shahzad delivered his address on ‘Unity through Diversity: A Multi-Linguistic Approach for National Cohesion’.

In their speeches, the speakers also engaged on the links between faith and sustainable development and that how different faiths can contribute to sustainable development, in particular towards building more inclusive communities.

They said interfaith dialogue opens up a pathway for the strengthening of respect and understanding while building trust and enhancing social cohesion.

It increases awareness about how to improve human interactions, by identifying the importance of religious diversity, they opined, and added that widespread promotion of a culture of tolerance, acceptance of others and of living together peacefully will contribute significantly to reducing many economic, social, political and environmental problems that weigh so heavily on a large part of society.

The speakers called for the establishment of a cohesive society which works toward the well-being of all its segments to create a sense of inclusiveness and promote peace, unity and trust by fighting divisions, exclusion and marginalization.

The participants also underscored the need for introducing an education system in the country to promote civic consciousness, national unity and a better interfaith and inter-ethnic understanding.

The speakers said only a tolerant society based on the principles of interfaith harmony can ensure social inclusion by providing all citizens equal opportunities to grow irrespective of their religion or faith. They said that Paigham-e-Pakistan provides an umbrella (Saiban) to protect the country and the nation from all forms of extremism, hatred and violence against the fellow countrymen.

In the end, certificates were also distributed among the participants.