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Lahore

November 12, 2017

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Scholars stress tolerance

Scholars stress tolerance

LAHORE

Scholars from different countries and religions stressed the need for promoting greater religious harmony and tolerance. Terming terrorism and bloodshed in the world a result of deviation from religious teachings, they observed that these menaces would find no place in the world if religions were practised with sincerity and totality.

They were addressing the opening session of a two-day international conference on “Religious Pluralism and World Peace” organised by Minhaj University, Lahore, with the collaboration of Higher Education Commission on Saturday. Over 30 scholars and academics representing at least five major religions of the world, including Islam, Christianity, Hindusim, Buddhism and Sikhism, and coming from different parts of the world are participating and presenting their papers in the moot.

Addressing the inaugural session, the speakers said that all the prophets of all religions brought nearly the same message of love, peace and respect for all human beings irrespective of their colour, creed or caste. They agreed to the questioners that those committing acts of terrorism and bloodshed for the sake of satisfying hatred and biases were not practising their respective religious teachings with sincerity, otherwise, they would not have indulged in such acts and the world would have been a peaceful place.

The panel discussion was participated by the speakers, including Dr Adrian Feldmann, director, Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery, Australia, who represented Buddhism; Dr Herbert Brasher, Forman Christian College, Dr Herman Rohorgh, head  School of Religion & Philosophy, Minhaj Unviersity and Dr Naeem Mustaq, director, Aghosh. 

During the question-answer session, the attention was drawn towards the notion that religious intolerance and terrorism were caused by forceful and violent promotion of secularism which marginalised religions and their beliefs, causing the people to comfortably deviate from religious teachings.

The second session titled "The Response of Different Religions to Terrorism" was chaired by Dr Tahir Kamran, dean, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Government College University Lahore, while panelists were Dr Andre Wehrli-Allanbach from Switzerland, Dr Adrian Feldmann, Dr Naeem Mushtaq and Sabir Naz Sarwa. During the discussion by panelists and questions by participants, this notion also emerged that the prevailing violence and intolerance might have its roots from the effects of centuries long colonialism and slavery which third world countries were subjected to. Dr Tahir Kamran said the rough edges of secularism and materialism needed to be rounded to give space to religious tolerance. He said knowledge centres from where wisdom to deal with world problems came were located in the west while the east was lacking in this field.

Earlier, the inaugural session was presided over by Dr Hussain Mohiuddin Qadri, deputy chairman, board of governors, Minhaj University while vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Ghauri presented the welcome address. Noted scholars presenting their papers in the conference included Dr Rohan Gunaratna, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Dr Agus Yusoff, National University, Malaysia; Dr R Sivaperegasam P Rajanthiran, Malaysia and Dr Safiyanu Ishiaku from Nigeria.  

Other guests present at the conference included Dr Alqama Khwaja, Minhaj University, former diplomats Shamshad A Khan, Shahid Malik, Javed hussain, Shafqat Ali Sheikh, Iqbal Ahmad Khan, Mazhar Qayum Khan, Zafar Ahmad, Riffat Iqbal, and Ehsanullah Bhatti, PAT secretary general Khurram Nawaz Ghandapur, Brig Iqbal, Adnan Javed, GM Malik, Sajid Bhatti, Jawad Hamid, Rafiq Najam, Kalyan Singh Kalyyan and others. 

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