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Opinion The Human Element: Religious Tolerance The Only Path To Peace


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Human element: ‘Religious tolerance only path to peace’


PESHAWAR: “The prevalent hatred in our society can only be overcome by understanding Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism,” said 28-year-old Hardial Singh, sporting a red turban and a flowing beard.

Singh was participating in a consultation meeting organised by the Integrated Community Development Initiative (ICDI) at Peshawar Diocese on Wednesday. The event, titled ‘Stepping Towards Peace-Building and Interfaith Harmony’, was attended by religious scholars from varying faiths, including Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism. Executive Director of ICDI Robina Masih, Programme Manager Cornelius Asghar, Charangjit Singh, Reverend Patrick, Haroon Sarabdiyal and Sardar Sabir Hussain were in attendance, among others.

“The lawlessness we see everywhere has resulted in clashes and misconceptions amongst these religions,” said Charangjit Singh. Appreciating ICDI’s efforts for peace and interfaith harmony, he added: “It is high time to redress these misunderstandings and educate people about the importance of tolerance.”

Robina Masih said the fragile security situation has affected a large number of people, leaving them spiritually and psychologically tainted.

“Promoting interfaith harmony amidst the challenges of religious extremism is the need of the hour in Pakistan,” said Masih, “We are all Pakistani, and we are here to show our unity.”

On the occasion, speakers highlighted the need for peace-building measures, saying that further rifts in our social structure would be detrimental to our existence. Others said the current times demanded a strong commitment from everyone to act in unison for the elimination of sectarianism, intolerance and unrest.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2014.