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Islamabad

April 26, 2015

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Pakistani scholar wins King Abdullah II of Jordan Award

Islamabad
Universal Interfaith Peace Mission, the Pakistan based organisation working diligently for peace and harmony among followers of different faiths was awarded first prize at the King Abdullah II of Jordan Award for World Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 thus bringing a great honour for Pakistan, a country which has been plagued by violence and unrest during recent past.
The judges for the contest had received 93 applications for the prize from over 900 events held in total. The judges were highly appreciative of all the efforts of all those who held events and applied for the prize.
Universal Interfaith Peace Mission Pakistan President Dr Allama G R Chishti of Pakistan received a gold medal along with cash prize from King Abdullah II at a ceremony held at the site of the Baptism of Jesus Christ by the River Jordan in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The second prize was awarded to Mrs Gisela Jahn and Dr. Beatrix Jakubicka of Germany while the third prize was awarded to World Interfaith Harmony Week Toronto Steering Committee of Canada.
On his return from Jordan, ‘The News’ had a chance of an interaction with Universal Interfaith Peace Mission Pakistan President Dr Allama G R Chishti after receiving this prize here on Saturday, where he divulged some details of his journey of achieving this laurel for Pakistan.
Dr Chishti said this year this noble award was conferred upon Universal Interfaith Peace Mission. “Therefore, it is an Honour for Pakistan that we won the first prize in the contest followed by Germany and Canada respectively. I am really proud of the fact that our beloved country’s humble organisation, UIPM, was able to bring laurels for the nation from a global contest, that too a religious one,” he added.
When asked about the beginning of his journey on path to interfaith harmony, Allama Dr Chisthi said: “It was the end of 1986, when I witnessed protests at Hide Park, London against the publication of a blasphemous

book. Along with some likeminded members of different religions I felt the need to form an organisation to promote peace and harmony around different faiths of the world. We wanted to deal with religiously motivated prejudice and discrimination through dialogue. So in order to achieve this objective we worked hard and achieved success in forming Universal Interfaith Peace in 1997,” he added.
Dr Chishti when asked that despite the fact that Islam being an accommodating religion, why was there so much extremism around us, said this is the case with each and every religion that their followers are indifferent towards true teachings of their religions
“There could be no control over the interpretation of Islamic thoughts, therefore I would say and you might agree that the extremists are misinterpreting the Islamic concepts. I must say that we need to fight against the extremism not only by armed forces and or diplomatic links but also we should involve religious and spiritual leaders to end this problem because without religiously and spiritually condemning the extremism it will increase instead of decreasing,” he added.
Responding to a query about rights of minorities, Dr Chishti made it absolute clear that Islam confers equal rights to minorities of being a human and neighbour, there is no concept of discrimination against any fellow being due to his cast, colour, and creed, lingual or religious beliefs in Islam.
When asked about his concept of alleviating differences among followers of different faiths, Dr Chishti after admitting that all religions have some difficulties with the differences in their fundamentals teachings, called upon followers of different faiths to shelve their differences for the safety of humanity and world peace.
Responding to another query about the role of Ulema in guiding the masses according to true spirit and teachings of Islam, Dr Chishti said: “Well pessimism is not allowed in Islam, Ulemas are always optimistic and hopeful. We see the changes in the circumstances as a result of ‘A Common Word’ initiated by the King Abdullah II and Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammad of Jordan. The Muslim world has virtually accepted the movement worldwide. The Hashemite Kingdom has got approved the ‘World Interfaith Harmony Week’ by the United Nations, which is an encouraging cause by their charitable patronage giving precious award on the best efforts to spared the message of World Interfaith Harmony Week of UN.”
Dr Chishti was of the view that it is more than ever before that the world is confronting multiple global crises, which cannot be effectively addressed, without a coordinated, multilateral action. “No country can face these crises and provide for its future in isolation. The threats are global and so are the solutions. A strong, central role for the United Nations is essential to resolve all these crises,” he added.
He said that it is also essential to resist forces of division that spread misunderstanding and mistrust especially among peoples of different religions. The fact is, humanity everywhere is bound together, not only by mutual interests, but by shared commandments to love God and neighbour; to love the good and neighbour, he concluded.

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