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PEF discussed steps to promote interfaith harmony

Karachi: The parliamentarians, policymakers, human rights defenders, activists, and religious scholars urged to play a role for interreligious peacebuilding in Pakistan: Peace and Education Foundation (PEF) project reflection seminar held in Karachi.

The role of religious scholars and community leaders to promote inter-religious and interfaith harmony is commendable. Religious institutions and places of worship can play an important role in promoting respect for human rights, tolerance and tolerance in society.

A large number of participants from different faiths attended the closing ceremony of the project on “The Role of Social Leaders in Promoting Religious Tolerance in Karachi”. And to consider the important role of social leaders.

They have the power to raise awareness and influence attitudes, behaviours and practices. They can shape social values in line with faith-based teachings. Thus, PEF worked with community leaders to spread the message of peace and harmony in the communities. PEF trained 105 community leaders, conduct 17 SAPs, five diversity tours and held five peace dialogue forums.

A video documentary of the project’s activities was shown to all the participants and guests. Three community leaders; Junaid, Azhar and Arjun Bagri from diverse religious backgrounds shared their success stories about how they ensured interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence in their respective areas of Karachi through various activities, focused on promoting coexistence and harmony.

Talking in the program, Senator Pakistan People’s Party, Anwar Lal Deen shared that nongovernmental organization should continue their efforts to promote peaceful coexistence in the society as the PEF has long been playing an important role in promoting religious tolerance in Pakistan through dialogue.

Dr Umair Siddiqi said that ‘I am very happy to see that our ulema have realized the importance of inter-religious harmony and mutual respect, and a sense of responsibility as community opinion maker to dedicate their lives for creating religious freedom, tolerance and peacemaking in their communities. Since the inception of Pakistan, religious leaders have played a central role in stability of the country.’  

Ravi Davani, representative of Pakistan Hindu Council said that religious leaders can play a role in countering the hate speech and bigotry by inculcating a sense of ethics in development in urban centers like Karachi.

He lamented that while other countries of the world are contributing their efforts in STEM education and transforming them into fifth generation, we are still in struggle for peaceful surveillance. Not just NGOs but people like us should come forward to support their cause.

While talking with the Project Manager, Mr Haseeb Iqbal, he shared that PEF trained 105 community leaders, conduct 17 SAPs, five diversity tours and held five peace dialogue forums.

Moreover, Community leaders and religious leaders are often the most respected figures in their communities. Mosque imams, pastors, priests, and leaders of other faith communities play a powerful role in shaping attitudes, opinions and behaviors because their members trust them. Community members and political leaders listen to community and religious leaders.

They have the power to raise awareness and influence attitudes, behaviors and practices. They can shape social values in line with faith-based teachings.

Thus, PEF worked with community leaders to spread the message of peace and harmony in the communities. Community leaders were awarded by shields to recognize their individual efforts for peacebuilding, resolving community conflicts, inter-religious and sectarian reconciliation. These leaders have been working at individual, institutional and social level from many years for community mobilization.

Bishop Khadim Bhutto, Pastor Amjad Farooq, Ghazala Arif, Faizal Aziz Bandagi, Daniyal Javeed also attended the event, and shared that the community leaders and religious scholars have made a significant contribution to peacebuilding and resolving conflicts and reducing extremism at community level in Pakistan.

They have demonstrated courageous leadership while striving for inclusive, peaceful and resilient communities in Pakistan with the support of PEF.

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