As many as 31 religious scholars on Sunday signed a decree unanimously declaring that suicide attacks, armed insurgency against the state and the use of force in the name of enforcing Shariah were ‘haram’ or forbidden in Islam.
The 22-point decree was signed and presented at the end of a seminar on “Reconstruction of Pakistani society in light of the Madinah Charter” and announcement of ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’ (Message of Pakistan), organised by the Islamic Research Institute (IRI) at Faisal Masjid campus of the International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI).
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In the decree, scholars appreciated efforts of the armed forces against the enemies of the state and supported the operations against terrorists. They also rejected the use of religion for self-projection.
The scholars, experts, researchers and intellectuals agreed on the 22-point communiqué which aimed at setting up a national narrative to address the challenges being faced by the country.
They agreed that universities are meant to teach and nurture intellect of youth and have nothing to do with hatred, militancy, violence and extremism. The decree also called for administrative steps and intellectual efforts against the extremism and violence. It was agreed that universities would discourage negative mindset while any kind of activity related to extremism would not be tolerated.
The scholars further agreed that no organisation or sect would be allowed to incite hatred or violence against each other.
While addressing the seminar, President Mamnoon Hussain said that political instability, imbalanced economic policies and contemporary challenges had given rise to intolerance, racism, sectarianism and extremism in the society.
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However, he was confident that this can be countered through a well-devised narrative, an agreed strategy with Ulema playing a positive and crucial role. Terming the declaration as a historic step, he said that he too had been trying to persuade the Ulema to give the people a narrative against terrorism and extremism, but the IRI took lead in this regard.
Terming the youth a precious asset of the nation, the president called for ensuring the provision of equal opportunities to the youth. The president said the Madinah Charter had laid down universal principles of justice and equality for all mankind. He called for reviving the spirit and principles embodied in the Charter of Madinah which outlined the tenets of a welfare state.
Pointing out that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal followed the very principles of the charter, he said that the secret behind Pakistan’s future development and prosperity also lies in practising these principles.
Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said that extremism, lack of attitude of co-existence and a lack of capacity building for the youth was leading to challenges.
IIUI Rector Dr Masoonm Yasinzai presented the communiqué and said that the participants have agreed that practical steps against killings, brutalities, terrorism, militancy and hatred are required.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2017.
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