ISLAMABAD: Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz on Wednesday unequivocally denounced any form of hate, violence, or extremism in the name of religion and said such actions were a departure from religious teachings and often serve political or worldly interests.
Addressing a press conference after the CII’s 234th special session titled ‘’Interfaith Harmony: State and Society’s Responsibilities’’, he said leaders of all faiths must actively discourage such ideologies.
Dr Ayaz emphasised the need for reconsidering term ‘minority’ and instead highlight the religious identity of individuals in the light of changing global demographics and increased migration of religious practitioners.
He highlighted the fundamental principle that “all religions inherently teach human respect and honor”, therefore, followers of all faiths should practice these values in their religious teachings.
The CII chairman said that to establish global peace, concerted efforts to promote interfaith harmony among diverse religious practitioners were crucial.
Dr Ayaz called for religious leaders to collaborate in promoting respect for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), all other honored prophets, and sacred religious sites.
He said it was imperative to ensure swift justice and visible penalties for individuals involved in incidents like Jaranwala to deter future occurrences.
He reiterated the CII demand for the establishment of special courts to expeditiously hear cases related to such crimes and punish the perpetrators.
He urged the public not to take the law into their own hands, as doing so was contrary to the Quran, Sunnah, the Constitution, and established national norms.
He opined that any violations of the law should be dealt with through legal channels.
Dr Ayaz said attacking, vandalising, or disrespecting places of worship was condemnable and illegal under Pakistani laws, adding that religious leaders were committed to combating this trend socially.
He said interfaith cooperation and peaceful coexistence could help control religious, societal, and political issues, hoping that religious leaders and institutions would take responsibility for their roles.
Responding to a query, he said the CII was planning to go beyond curricula from primary to university levels and preparing recommendations in a bid to bring significant changes in the overall education sector.
Seconding the proposal of Dr Ayaz, Minister of State and Chairman for Prime Minister Task Force on Gandhara Tourism Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said the term ‘minority’ expressed narrow-mindedness and instead ‘equal rights citizens’ to be adopted as the Constitution call it non-Muslim citizens and there was no mention of the word minority.
The meeting was attended by Pir Abul Hasan Muhammad Shah, Dr Abdul Ghafoor Rashid, Pir Khalid Sultan, Allama Muhammad Hussain Akbar, Syed Ziaullah Shah Bukhari, Pirzada Junaid Amin, Mufti Muhammad Zubair, Justice Zafar Iqbal, Justice Altaf Ibrahim, Allah Bakhsh Kalyar, Jalaluddin Advocate, and Farida Rahim.
Besides religious leaders of other religions, including Bishop Samuel Azariah (Director Christian Study Center, Rawalpindi), Father Sylvester Joseph (Priest Catholic Church, Islamabad), Sohail Habel (Catholic Christian Leader, Humanitarian Action for Rights and Development Society), Christopher Sherif (Christian Study Center, Rawalpindi), Pritam Das (Former President Hindu Panchayat), Asfandyar Bhandara (Parsi leader), Ramesh Singh Arora (Sikh leader), Prof Mehrdad (Bahai leader) and Tariq Mehmood Ghauri (Catholic Church, Islamabad) also attended the meeting.
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