Religious leaders from the Barelvi school on Thursday urged clerics and payer leaders to develop religious harmony and co-existence among all segments of society through their sermons.
Addressing a training workshop on Rights of Minorities in the Islamic State, organised for khateebs (sermon givers) and prayer leaders at mosques on Thursday, they said that religious leaders using every available forum to highlight the true spirit of Islam was the need of the hour. They unanimously declared that it was un-Islamic to incite violence against religious minorities.
Dr Raghib Hussain Naeemi, principal of Jamia Naeemia and deputy secretary general of Tanzeemul Madaaris Pakistan, urged religious scholars to highlight human rights, especially the rights of religious minorities acknowledged by Islam, through their sermons.
Dr Naeemi said that Islam was the only religion that truly guaranteed and respected the rights of religious minorities. He said that attacks on the places of worship of minorities were against the teachings of Islam.
The khateebs and prayer leaders, who attended the workshop, organised jointly by Education, Research and Peace (ERP) and Al-Fikr Writers Forum, resolved to strive for establishing religious harmony.
In his opening remarks, Ziaul Haq Naqshbandi said that it was the government’s responsibly to protect the rights of minorities in Pakistan, particularly because the constitution gave equal rights to all citizens of Pakistan irrespective of religion. He said that having deep roots among the masses, khateebs and prayer leaders could play a pivotal role in ensuring equal rights for religious minorities.
Maulana Khalilur Rehman Qadri emphasised the role of khateebs in society and called upon them to use Friday sermons to promote positive values and give importance to human right issues and social problems. Allama Shahzad Mujaddadi stressed religious scholars’ role in eliminating intolerance, aggression and injustice and promote peace in society.
Nawaz Kharal said Pakistan was facing a number of problems including extremism and violence against minorities. He said some elements had been using the name of Islam to legitimise nefarious ambitions and urged religious scholars to expose them and highlight the true face of Islam. Allama Hafiz Ghulam Ali Awan, Allama Hafiz Muhammad Azam Naeemi, Allama Zulfiqar Mehmud Hashmi, Allama Abdullah Saqib were among the other prominent speakers at the workshop.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2014.