A two-day training workshop conducted by Mehergarh on ‘Interventions for Promoting Pluralism’ concluded on Saturday. Members from various youth organisations participated in the training, said a press release issued by Mehergarh.
The facilitators included Dr Fouzia Saeed, Director Mehergarh, Khadim Hussain, who has researched the discourse of extremist forces in Pakistan and Dr Kamran Ahmad,the author of Roots of Religious Tolerance in Pakistan, India.
Saeed started the session by a talk on identities, followed by a short history of the Taliban. A film ‘Yeh kon log hain’ (who are these people) was showed to explain how extremism and talibanisation spread in the society. Hussain also talked about extremist forces and how they led the youth astray.
In the end, Saeed gave a presentation on the ‘Pluralistic Discourse’ to the participants, so that the parameters within which the youth-related platforms seek to work on peace and pluralism can be defined. The session concluded with a questions and answers session.
On the second day, Ahmad took the participants on a spiritual journey in which he discussed seven elements of living Sufism in Pakistan,Ishq, Rawabit, Tawakkul, Aks-i-muqaddas, Rawadari, Wahdat-ul-wujud and Jamaliat, giving examples of the South Asian mystics. He emphasised the spirituality we experience everyday and stressed the need to protect it from the extremist forces prevailing all around us. He said the sufis experienced spirituality in their daily lives, not by living in isolation or by deviating from the society.
In light of the arguments given, the participants vouched to reinforce a pluralistic culture through indigenous wisdom. The participants included representatives of Aware Girls, Seeds of Peace Network, Progressive Youth Forum, Neengar Society, Y-Peer Network, Bacha Khan Education Trust Foundation, and Human Rights Commission for Social Justice & Peace and Youth Together for Human Rights Education.
The Mehergarh Youth Consortium invited these organisations to attend the training in order to educate them on the “situation in the country with regards to extremism”.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2011.
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