Alvi calls for practising Islamic teachings to promote inter-faith harmony

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Khabeer urges establishment of international laws to prevent hate speech

Zubair Qureshi

President Dr Arif Alvi has called for practising cherished principles of Islam which called upon everyone to practice one’s own religion without interfering in other’s religions, ensuring political, social, cultural, legal and religious freedoms for the followers of all religions, respecting and protecting their places of worship and allowing followers of all religions to pray in their worship places.

The president expressed these views while addressing the opening session of an International Inter-Faith Peace Conference titled “Respect for Humanity and its Importance”, in Islamabad, on Wednesday. Chairman Inter-Faith Council for Peace and Harmony, Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad, and Founder of the Community of Sant’ Egidio, Prof Dr Andrea Ricardi, also addressed the occasion, whereas the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Muhammad bin Abdul-Karim Al-Issa, addressed the occasion through a recorded video message. The conference was attended by the national and international scholars of different religions, and people from different walks of life.

Addressing the occasion, the president said that all the religions of the world preached peace, security and harmony in society but unfortunately, followers of different religions forget and neglect these teachings and resort to war on the basis of vested interests, nationalism, racism, land, resources or politics. The president said it was the duty of the Islamic society to protect the religious places of other religions, provide security and respect to their religious leaders and give equal rights to them under the law. He added that Muslim societies are responsible to protect the honor, dignity, life and properties of followers of all other religions.

He said that religion is wrongly labelled as the reason for war as most of the wars fought in the recent history were by those countries which had the knowledge, education and information, were developed but still they fought amongst themselves and with the others on the basis of their hegemonic designs and self-serving vested interests. The president said that human beings learnt more from making observations from what was happening in reality around them and less from the history and academic debates and in the same manner countries and nations do not learn from their past mistakes of waging senseless wars but repeat the same mistake again and again like USA and former USSR invaded Vietnam and Afghanistan and learned a bitter lesson, but soon forgot and invaded again in Afghanistan and Ukraine. Similarly, he added, that jews went through harrowing experience of Holocaust but the same Jews who were victims of holocaust forgot their experience and are perpetrating cruelty and inhuman treatment on Palestinians.

The president condemned the abhorrent act of burning and desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden and urged upon international community to take notice of this heinous and abhorrent act and take all necessary measures to provide justice and put in place a mechanism to prevent re-happening of such shocking acts in future. He emphasized that religious sentiments of followers of all religions need to respected and safeguarded and no one should be allowed to hurt and insult religious sentiments of the followers of other religions in the garb of freedom of expression.