ISLAMABAD: An inter-faith seminar on Monday called for international legislation to stop blasphemy against religions and sacred personalities as it announced formation of an international platform for religious leaders ‘similar to the United Nations'.
“Blasphemy against prophets in the name of freedom of expression should be stopped. There should be law at international level to stop insult of religions,” said a document presented at the end of the seminar titled ‘extremism and responsibility of religious leaders’.
Organised by the Muslim-Christian Federation, the moot was attended by a number of prominent scholars including the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz, Maulana Fazalur Rehman Khaleel and the federation’s chairman Qazi Abdul Qadeer Khamosh.
“We announce the formation of a platform of all religious leaders similar to the United Nations. A global conference of leaders from all religions will be held in Kathmandu. For this conference, the CII will make contacts at the global level,” added the document.
The seminar, held in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch mosque attacks, also paid tribute to the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her role in countering Islamophobia in her country.
The seminar said New Zealand incident was not the beginning of a clash of civilisations. It said the social media had become a double-edged sword, and hatred spread through it should be stopped.
Earlier, addressing the participants, the CII chief said there was a need to understand the west, rather than rejecting it. “There is a need to understand the west. We negate the west, we do not study it. We should see how we Muslims can work towards making a place in the west,” he said.
He also called for highlighting positive forces in the west.
“Few extremists in the west talk about the clash of civilisation but it is not in the interest of Muslims to get carried away by their ideas. We have to establish good relations with the west. New Zealand’s prime minister foiled an attempt to start a clash of cultures,” he added.
Maulana Fazalur Rehman Khalil said Islam is the name of brotherhood, sympathy, love and protection of all religious centres belonging to other faiths and religions. “New Zealand PM deserves tribute and the Nobel Prize. May United States too follow suit,” he added.
He said: “We need to unite against global terrorism. The forces trying to create rift are outsiders and it’s their agenda to start a conflict.”