LAHORE: A resolution for ensuring interfaith harmony was signed on Saturday by members of all the religious communities of the country with a declaration that they would work to promote a peaceful coexistence.

This was done at a seminar on interfaith harmony held at the Punjab Institute for Language, Art and Culture (Pilac) where the role of religious institutions was discussed.

Scholars from different religions and faiths called for the communal unity, urging the government to create an atmosphere where everyone could play an active role in promoting a peaceful coexistence and dialogue.

Those present included Mufti Raghib Hussain Naeemi, member of Council of Islamic Ideology, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, Bishop Azad Marshal, Dr Faramarz Roshani, member of Baha’i community, Father Nadeem Francis, Amarnath Randhawa from the Hindu community and Sikh scholar Professor Kalyan Singh.

The importance of implementing certain laws on hate speech and the National Action Plan (NAP) was also discussed.

Archbishop Sebastian Shaw said dialogue was integral to create respect for each other.

Mufti Naeemi said tension and conflict arose when someone would target other faiths.

“It is important to avoid such conflict by having educational debates with learned people from all faiths,” he added.

Bishop Azad Marshal said Pakistan was formed with an idea that it would be a Muslim majority state but it would not be intolerant towards other religions and faiths. “Interfaith harmony is our need and it will come when we will have tolerance and acceptability for each other,” he said.

“We need to have knowledge, dialogue and discussion on broader levels in order to ensure interfaith harmony,” said Dr Faramarz Roshani who added that nothing could be more damaging than intolerance and hatred. “We need to end the blame-game and bring about a change through peace among all faiths and sects,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2019

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