Interfaith Peace Conference

30 July 2016
man giving a speech

The International Day of Peace, also known as the World Peace Day, occurs annually on September 21. It is observed by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples. Pakistan Council for Social Welfare & Human Rights (PCSW&HR) is an active Cooperation Circle (CC) of the United Religions Initiative (URI) in Pakistan.

PCSW&HR observed the International Day of Peace on 21st September 2016 and organized the Interfaith Peace Conference at the head office of PCSW&HR in Sialkot. Chairman of PCSW&HR, Mr. Muhammad Ijaz Noori, Bishop of Sialkot Rt. Rev. Alvin Samuel, Pakistan origin British Educationist and promoter of interfaith harmony Mr. Andryas Khan, President Ulamah Mashiqe Council Dr. Mufti Najeeb Ahmed Hashmi, Mr. Emmanuel K Gill, Father Asher, Mr. Emmanuel Gill, Father Yaqoob, Bishop Siraj, and others addressed the event during the “Interfaith Peace Conference.” Vice President of Cantonment Board, Sialkot Haji Mushtaq Ahmed Qadri, presided over the conference. People from different religions, governmental and nongovernmental officials, both electronic and print media representatives, PCSW&HR’s officials, and more participated in the conference.

The Peace Conference started with the recitation of the Holy Quran. Mr. Muqadas Qadri recited the verses of the Holy Quran, while Pastor Asher recited from Holy Bible. While addressing the peace conference, Chairman Pakistan Council for Social Welfare & Human Rights Mr. Muhammad Ijaz Noori warmly welcomed the honorable guests and participants of the program. He said, "Today we are celebrating the International Peace Day. And on this momentous day, my heart is overflowing with gratitude and respect toward the peace-minded organizations, civic and religious leaders, peace workers, lawyers, media representatives and young people who have gathered among us to celebrate the International Day of Peace (IDP) 2016." He further added, "I am really thankful to all of you for sparing time from your busy schedules. You have traveled from near and far to join this meaningful event. Your presence here serves as a beacon of light and a source of peace not only for Pakistan, but also for the world. It serves as a beacon of light and a source of hope for the global world."

Chairman PCSW&HR Mr. Muhammad Ijaz Noori further said, "Islam presents the best practical model of tolerance. It is a baseless fabrication that Islam is not disposed to tolerating people belonging to other creeds, ideologies and religions. The history of Islam offers models of religious tolerance, equality, justice, peace, interfaith harmony, universal brotherhood, safeguard of the minorities’ rights, democracy and best treatment of persons belonging to different faiths. Unfortunately at the moment, most of terrorists' acts are happening in the name of Islam, but in fact the mastermind and implementers of these acts are very far from Islamic ideology and practices. They have no religion; they are just terrorists. According to a tradition of the Prophet (PBUH), ‘Peace is Islam’ (Al-Bukhari). This means that peace is one of the prerequisites of Islam. Similarly, a Hadith states: A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands people are safe. One of the attributes of God described in the Quran is ‘As-Salam’, which means peace and security.’ That is to say that God’s being itself is a manifestation of peace. Indeed, God is Peace (Al-Bukhari)."

He further said that if we want real peace in our country, or around the world, then everyone needs to take part in that, and we need to promote social justice, socio-religious peaceful co-existence, harmony and tolerance to promote peace. We need to take care of each other to promote peace. We need to sensitize each other to respect and accept everyone in whatever capacity he/she belongs to. He concluded his speech with the following words: “May God make us an instrument of His love, peace, and joy. May peace prevail in Sialkot, may peace prevail at Pakistan, and may peace prevail on Earth.

While addressing during the Peace Seminar, Bishop of Sialkot & Azad Jammu Kashmir Rt. Rev. Bishop Alvin Samuel and Mr. Andryas Khan thanked the PCSW&HR for inviting them and also for giving them the splendid opportunity to observe the International Day of Peace with them.

They said that no can survive without peace, and added that all spiritual religions, including Islam & Christianity, are totally committed to peace and security. It views, with great contempt, breaches of peace, anarchy, rioting and terrorism. The acts classified as terrorism have been strongly con­demned by the Islam and Christianity, and as per the teachings of both religions, every possible step should be taken for the eradication of extremism and terrorism.  Both of the worthy, distinguished guests also urged that it is the need of the hour to promote interfaith harmony, understanding, and dialogue. In this regard, we have to jointly play our important role to promote interreligious harmony and socio-religious, peaceful co-existence for durable peace, justice, elimination of poverty, protection of human rights and human development.

While addressing the interfaith peace conference, Vice President Sialkot Cantonment Board Haji Mushtaq Ahmed Qadri said that justice and fair play are prerequisites for a healthy and peaceful society. Disruption of peace is the reaction of terror, injustice and atrocity. In view of that, Islam has placed a great emphasis on adhering to justice and fair play irrespective of distinction of creed and community. Islam has prohibited partiality in the matter of justice, even if it concerns a blood relation. According to Islamic ideology, all human beings stand equal for respect and kind consideration. Therefore, a human being who is respectable should not be subjected to atrocity and unfair treatment because that is a disrespect and dishonor to him.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) declared that the protest of the victim of atrocity, irrespective of his creed and religion, has the prospect of being heard by Allah. Discrimination among human beings is against humanitarian considerations. He further said that we should struggle collectively for the durable peace, elimination of terrorism, human development and protection of human rights at the grassroots level without any discrimination of religion, race and territory. He encouraged all the people who work for peace and unity. He said that even a small act of love, peace and unity is very effective and beneficial to bring peace on earth. May peace prevail in earth. May peace prevail on earth.

Speaking during the interfaith peace conference, President Ulma Mashiq Council Dr. Mufti Najeeb Hashmi said that Islam has prohibited everything that may pose a threat to social harmony, may cause a breach of peace, or may endanger the peace and security of citizens. Islamic Shariah stands for maintenance of peace and prevention of riots and disturbances. Islam is against drunkenness, rape, adultery and scandal-mongering about innocent women. Islam strives for elimi­nation of oppression, rioting or anything which adversely affects the culture and civilization of the country.

He further said that terrorism ruptures social peace; Islam strictly forbids terror­izing peace-loving citizens. Religion desires peace, tranquility and social harmony. Acts of terrorists' violence destroy the moral prin­ciples meant for the welfare of human beings. That is a crime and has no place in a religion like Islam, Christianity and all other spiritual religions. Those are deeply committed to the peace and security of human beings. He also said that type of terrorism has no place in Islamic Shariah. The Holy Quran makes it explicit that killing an innocent person is equivalent to killing the whole humankind.

During the Seminar, Mr. Emanuel K Gill Vice Chairman PCSW&R, Mr. Emanuel Gill President Minority Wing Jamate-Islami Sialkot District and others also addressed and threw light on importance of peace in the present scenario. Cake was also cut by the participants of the interfaith conference and collective prayers were offered for durable peace on earth.

See more ways the URI community celebrated the International Day of Peace 2016.