Social cohesion & Interfaith Harmony
By imtiaz Chughtai
Islamabad: Whenever I heard the news of violence being committed in the name of God; I am absolutely repulsed at the carnage caused by the radicals. The fact that the perpetrators espouse rhetoric linking their senseless murders to Islam disgusts me even further.
Pakistan is a multi-religion country with major Muslim population; living in the advanced days of the latest technology and multicultural society. Dealing with the follow citizens justly and equally is need of day. Lack of insecurity, unjust distribution of socio-economic resource, and misuse of blasphemy laws are some of the challenges to interfaith harmony in Pakistan. This is result of the migration of non-Muslims, especially Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis to India and western countries. Misinterpretation of jihad, partial and prejudiced religious discourse, absence of non-Muslims’ literature in the national educational curriculum has created gap between the majority and minorities of the country.
Pakistan can be better place to live if exchange of ideas keeps on taking place. There is not much difference in the original messages of love in different religions/faiths. Synthesis of philosophies of the genius, true lovers of humanity and Saints may bring heaven on this earth.
There is dire need to take immediate steps to ensure social justice and fair distribution of socio-economic resources in order to promote an environment for forbearance, tolerance and co-existence in our society and eliminate the sense of insecurity and injustice among the religious minorities. Interfaith harmony is the only way forwards in promoting peace and prosperity in the society in line with the spirit of the founder of the nation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Only tolerant society based on the principles of interfaith harmony can ensure social inclusion by providing all citizens equal opportunities to progress and grow irrespective of their faith.
Inhuman acts across the world have shaken the societies and under this situation, it is necessary to encourage tolerance, peace, patience and interfaith harmony in Pakistan. Religious minorities have right to enjoy a safe and secure environment as envisaged in the constitution of Pakistan and it must be provided unconditionally. To that end, there will be no harm in ammending the constitution, if such a need is felt. To my knowledge, Islam has issued severe warnings to those who infringe upon the rights of the minorities. Religiously motivated violence must be fought together and with passion. People from different faiths must continue to defend the faith and liberties of each other. The fanatics – weather at home or abroad – must be brought to justice, but that can only be done if people of all faiths and beliefs are united against them. Fundamentalists and extremists aim to kill people indiscriminately. Their only goal is to cause chaos, devastation and bloodshed. These types of violent actions are far removed from the teaching of any religion or faith. Every faith should start to defend the faith and liberties of each other. The cycle of hate and counter-hate, violence and counter-violence needs to be broken.
Youth should be engaged to build a future of enlightened and passionate Pakistan. Our young generation should understand that small acts of kindness can change lives. It is kindness that leads to a more secure and prosperous nation. I am confident that by working on these issues in our own communities, we can emerge as a model for the region as a whole.