Speakers at two-day workshop titled “Youth for Interfaith Harmony” called for reducing tendencies of extremism, promoting interfaith harmony and preserving cultural diversity to ensure peace concluded on 03 March at Sargodha University. Creating and promoting fraternity and harmony among various communities can help ensuring peace and prosperity in society, they added.
Participants were told about the centrality of society in creating a peaceful environment. Unless people embrace each other, expecting state authorities to do is illogical.
The event aimed at promoting tolerance, peace and harmony among the youth belonging to different faiths in the country.
Speakers at the workshop were of the view that people and different societies can be brought closer by not interfering or criticizing others’ religion.
A large number of students attended the workshop. The first day of the workshop was divided into three sessions other than inaugural session under various themes including “Why this workshop, A Good Citizen is the Best Pakistani, Courage Leads to Success, and Be alert on Social Media”. The sessions were moderated by Mr Ahmad Ali, Project Manager PIPS, Muhammad Aamir Rana, Director PIPS, Ms Anum Fatima, Research Associate PIPS and senior journalist Sabookh Syed.
The resource person Aamir Rana urged youth to adopt critical thinking to understand the vitality of social and cultural diversity to establish their Primary identities on their religious and sectarian terms. Unless acceptance and tolerance is not inculcated in the minds of individuals, sustainable peace will be a difficult goal to achieve, he added.
Ms Anum said “Amongst over 100 million women in Pakistan, contribution towards public life is still minimal. For this reason, women need to take charge of their destiny by overcoming social barriers that impede their progress”.
“Interfaith harmony is all about the notion of live and let live and that is the need of time,” Sabookh said. He also highlighted the importance of social media, and guided about effective social media techniques for social impact. A documentary was also shown to visualize the recent mob attack on a Hindu shrine in Karak.
The Council of Islamic Ideology Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz, Vice Chancellor Sargodha University Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad, Director PIPS Muhammad Aamir Rana, Senior Columnist Aslam Khan, Social Media activist Sabookh Syed and other eminent speakers, scholars and number of students attended the second day of the workshop.
On the second day, the workshop culminated in scholarly talks and interactive sessions on potential topics, including “To be an underprivileged in Pakistan, culture, language and diversity, why think critically and what we learned” imparted knowledge about other faiths and creating interfaith youth groups.
Dr Qibla Ayaz spoke about safeguarding minority rights and the role of the council in this regard. He said it was inevitable minorities would be dominated and overshadowed by people following the majority religion, adding that all religions sermonize similar truths and virtues which, along with social and cultural ethics, can be built upon to enhance interfaith bonding.
Appreciating the cultural diversity, Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad said that diversity is our strength and the beautification of the society, and together we make a difference. He said Quaid-i-Azam believed in religious harmony and had assured people belonging to different religions that they would be free to practice their religion without any fear in Pakistan.
Aslam Khan and Ms Saima Mubashra shed light on positive aspects of life and encouraged the youth to think critical and to be optimistic.
Moreover, a MoU was also signed between the University of Sargodha and Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies to extend cooperation in the areas of research and publications and to facilitate the exchange of scholars, academic ideas and initiatives for capacity building and mutual internships.
The agreement was inked by Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad, Vice Chancellor Sargodha University, and Muhammed Aamir Rana Director PIPS.