President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday terming interfaith harmony the need of the hour, said Pakistan was promoting the message of tolerance and affinity among people of different faiths to make the world a peaceful place to live.
Addressing here at the International Interfaith Peace Conference, the president said Pakistan, as a responsible State, was implementing religious freedom as enunciated by its Constitution in conjunction with the Islamic principles.
The conference titled ‘Respect of Humanity and its importance’ was organized by Interfaith Council for Peace and Harmony, and Majlis Ulema-e-Pakistan and was joined by the representatives of various religions including Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and others.
President Alvi said all religions of the world emphasized promoting peace and tolerance for the betterment of mankind and stressed translating the same spirit into societies having people with diverse faiths.
In today’s world with conflicts, he said, a global message of interfaith harmony was direly needed to reduce frictions and misconceptions about other religions.
He said Islam was a religion of peace and believed in respecting humanity.
He referred to the last sermon of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), where he had preached equality regardless of the discrimination of religion, race or gender in a society that was divided by notions of tribal and ethnic superiority.
Dr Alvi said promoting the message of the Prophet (PBUH) was still needed to be resonated today in a world where misconceptions about Islam were growing.
He called upon the followers of all religions to shun differences on the basis of their faiths and get united for the common cause of humanity.
He mentioned that several challenges such as global warming and environmental degradation required no religious intent, but a joint action to save the world and mankind.
State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent by Almighty Allah as a blessing for the entire mankind, whose teachings promoted love for all. He mentioned that the establishment of Rehmatul lil Alameen Authority by the government reflected its respect for all religions in line with the Prophet’s message of peace.
Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Professor Dr Qibla Ayaz said the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan enjoys the support of the majority of schools of thought, believing in the freedom of religions. He emphasized giving a message to the world that Pakistan was a citadel of peace that provided religious freedom to people with religious diversity and discouraged extremist approaches.
Grand Imam Badshahi Mosque and Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad said the solidarity of humanity was linked with practicing tolerance despite religious differences, in line with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).
Ambassador of European Union (EU) to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said interfaith harmony was needed for the world’s future and thus required a constant struggle by the nations. She mentioned that the EU Charter and the United Nations Convention stress freedom of religion, of both Pakistan was also a signatory.
President Global Mission Awareness, Dr Leif Helge Hetland said love unites the people and was greatly needed in today’s world with discords.
As a gesture of interfaith harmony, the event was opened with the recitation of Quranic verses by Qari Bazurg Shah, followed by a prayer statement by Bishop Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters for the peace and harmony of the country.