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Socio-religious harmony to promote tolerance, peace: speakers
Socio-religious harmony to promote tolerance, peace: speakers

LAHORE: (Wednesday, November 13, 2019): Speakers during an international conference at Punjab University have stressed that tolerance and peace can be promoted in the world through socio-religious harmony as the fundamental doctrines of all religions emphasize the importance of high values and ethics in human relations. The conference was jointly organized by Punjab University Institute of Social and Cultural Studies in collaboration with University of Leeds, United Kingdom at its auditorium here on Wednesday. Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raja Yasir Hummayun, Punjab Higher Education Commission Chairman Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid, PU Vice Chancellor Prof Niaz Ahmad, Pro VC Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar, Director Institute of Social and Cultural Studies Prof Dr Rubina Zakar, University of Leeds University School of Sociology and Social Policy’s Prof Dr Salman Sayyid, Dr Omer Abdullah alias Dr Paul Bagguley, Dr Yasmin Hussain, scholars from various universities of the country participated in the conference. Addressing the inaugural session, Raja Yasir Hummayun said that Islam spread the message of love, peace and humanity. He stated that Hazrat Muhammad SAWW for the first time established an ideal society in Madina where there was social justice system and people from any school of thought or religion were given their rights. He said that Hazrat Muhammad SAWW introduced humanity to the world and ordered to respect others. He said that Islam spread in this region due to its teachings of equality and peace, not because of any extremist value. He said that some people belonging to all religions or white supremacists had extremist ideas and fanned extremism and terrorism but they did not reflect their religions. However, he said, West talk about extremist Islam or moderate Islam but there is only one Islam which was given by Hazrat Muhammad SAWW, teaching us the message of peace. He said that the things happening in Palestine and Kashmir were not related to religion only rather it was reaction to the atrocities being ruthlessly carried out on the Muslims. He said that people belonging to any religion were living independently and enjoying complete religious freedom in Pakistan. PHEC Chairman Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid said that education was a matter of life and death for us. He said that we must promote culture of tolerance in our society and use technology for resolving our social problems. PU VC Prof Niaz Ahmad said that it was the responsibility of universities to resolve problems of the society through innovations, development of new ideas and new knowledge otherwise universities were just like colleges. He said that Islam was not simply a religion only but it is complete code of life. He said that no society survived which crossed the boundaries defined by Allah. He said that we must respect the ideas of others and act upon the lessons of Islam based on peace and tolerance. Paying tribute to Pakistan’s thinker Allama Muhammad Iqbal, he said that Mr Iqbal was an exceptional human being and he was gift of Allah. Prof Dr Salman Sayyid said that Pakistan was a meeting place for religion and society. He said that we should learn ourselves by ourselves instead of others who were trying to tell us what we were. He said that we needed to understand promises of Pakistan, the country was made for. He said that Pakistani universities must create new language of achievement for the future Pakistanis aspired. He said that we must recognize our mistakes instead of blaming others for the problems. Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar spoke on Allama Iqbal and Islam and highlighted various ideologies presented by Allama Iqbal through his teachings. Prof Dr Rubina Zakar said that religion was a force of consolidation, tolerance and integration but unfortunately this force had negatively been utilized for division and discrimination. She said that we needed to focus on the positive, constructive and peaceful role of religion across societies. She said that there was an urgent need for integrated human development to meet the future needs of the country and achieve social development combined with inclusive economic growth. For this we need to develop peace and religious harmony, she added. She was of the view that through effective actionable social research, root causes of religious intolerance must be addressed. She said that we needed an evidence-based social policy which could be instrumental in social transformation. She thanked PU Vice Chancellor Prof Niaz Ahmad for promotion of research culture in university and his support for organizing international and national conferences at ISCS. Later, souvenirs were distributed among the distinguished guests.