AIOU undertakes steps to counter Islamophobia, enlighten society

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Zubair Qureshi

The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is going to establish four different centres of excellence with varying objectives ranging from countering the growing Islamophobia in the Western world, to raising analytical level of discourse in the Muslim scholarly community.

They also include dissemination of the philosophy and thought of Allama Muhammad Iqbal and production of oral histories and training oral historians and promotion of Sufi thought based on the principles of love, peace, and equality.

Executive Council, the supreme body of the university in its 120th meeting with Vice Chancellor of the AIOU Prof Dr Ziaul Qayyum in chair gave formal approval for establishment of the Centres of Excellence of Seerat Studies, Sufi Studies, Iqbal Chair of Muslim Thoughts, and Creating Achieves Intelligentsia of Pakistan.

While explaining objectives of the Centres of Excellence of Seerat Studies, Prof Dr Ziaul Qayyum said the proposed Centre would help the Pakistani society as well as the Muslims around the world by forming research groups, and working as a think tank to provide logical response to those who are propagating negatively against Islam and the Muslims.

The centre will also play a key role in countering the intellectual challenges faced by Pakistan society in the light of Seerat-un-Nabi.

The centre will engage eminent Muslim scholars across the globe in creation, and transfer of knowledge in the field of Seerat Stuides, he added.

Similarly, the Centre of Excellence on Sufi Studies will conduct academic research on Sufi tradition in Pakistan as well as South Asia. It will study the lives of Sufi saints to highlight their character traits.

This center will also take initiatives to organize national and international dialogues on Sufi thoughts, the meeting was briefed.

Prof Zia while highlighting the objectives of Iqbal Chair of Muslim Thought said that this centre will provide an opportunity to scholars to deliberate on the philosophical thought of Allama Muhammad Iqbal through his poetry and prose in Urdu and Persian, to inculcate Iqbal’s concept of “Khudi” in Muslim youth in general and Pakistani in particular.

The main objectives of establishment of the Archives of Intelligentsia of Pakistan are to preserve oral history collection of eminent scholars of the country, and to train oral historian, Dr Zia said.

He informed the meeting that these centres would generate and disseminate knowledge in the form of books and research articles, which would be translated into different languages by the Translation Studies Department of the university for the benefit of all.

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