Speakers at a seminar on Thursday stressed the need for promotion of tolerance, peace, dialogue and cooperation among various communities. They suggested that the government should take decisive measures against extremists and those spreading hatred.
The seminar titled Learning to Live Together with Diversity and Differences was arranged by the Peace and Human Development Foundation (PHDF) in collaboration with the Christian Study Centre (CSC) in connection with Muharram.
The speakers urged the citizens and leaders from various sects to join hands for interfaith harmony and peace to defeat extremists and anti-state elements.
PHDF Director Suneel Malik said that peace could only prevail where people from different communities and cultures lived together without harming each other.
He said people should abstain from causing mental disturbance to weaker groups, particularly religious and sectarian minorities.
“The people of one faith must recognise and respect others’ beliefs and ideologies for their beliefs and ideas to be respected,” he said.
CSC project manager Fahmida Saleem said that Islam and Christianity shared several teachings which were enough for a harmonious coexistence.
“Followers of the two faiths must jointly fight against violence and intolerance rather than splitting apart,” he said.
Naseem Anthony, the Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM) executive secretary, said that dialogue was an effective way to resolve conflicts and remove prejudice.
Maulana Syed Jaffar Hussain Naqvi said that peace could only be promoted whrn words mactched actions.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf worker Ataullah Niazi said that a society could not move forward without tolerance and respect for religious diversity.
“Violence in Karachi and Balochistan is a proof of intolerance among various ethnic groups. We must resolve our differences peacefully.”
CARE Foundation president Yousaf Adnan said that despite the fact that fighting in Muharram was prohibited by Islam, Pakistan has been witnessing sectarian violence causing loss of lives and desecration of religious symbols.
They speakers said that it was the people’s mutual responsibility to respect others’ faiths, rituals and viewpoints for the survival of humanity.
Arif Ayaz of the Awami Workers Party, AWAM Director Nazia Sardar, coordinator Shazia George and Freedom Bhatta Workers Union member Asghar Shaheen were also present.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2012.