Exchange of interfaith delegations positive move for promotion of religious harmony: Minister

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor on Wednesday said the exchange of interfaith delegations would be a positive move for the promotion of religious harmony. In a meeting with a delegation led by the Bishop of Europe, Robert Neil Anas here at the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, he said there was no room for coercion in Islam.

The minister said in the Peshawar terrorist incident, Muslims engaged in worship were martyred. Islam and the constitution had equal rights for people belonging to all religions and in the spirit of the teachings of Islam, killing an innocent person was tantamount to killing all humanity, he added.

He said in order to prevent terrorism and extremism, there was a mutual decision among Pakistani scholars that terrorism was forbidden and had nothing to do with Islam. “Paigham-e-Pakistan was a unique document signed by thousands of local and international scholars,” he added.

The Bishop of Europe expressed his heartfelt regret and sorrow over the Peshawar tragedy and offered his thoughts to the martyrs and their families.

He also condemned the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden and said such incidents could not be tolerated as they hurt the religious sentiments of all Muslims. Such incidents would cause hatred among societies and religions, he added. Bishop Samuel Robert Azaria, who was also a part of the delegation, described the Paigham-e-Pakistan as useful and said such initiatives would yield positive results for interfaith harmony.

He said all religions, including Islam and Christianity, taught peace and brotherhood. The teachings of Islam taught respect for all religions and reverence for all prophets, he added.

The minister of religious affairs said the real problem was ignorance and lack of education which misled people. External forces especially the Research and Analysis Wing of India were involved in recent terrorist incidents in Pakistan as it did not want to see peace in Pakistan, he added.

The Bishop of Europe fully agreed with the minister and said no doubt, ignorance and narrow-mindedness caused all the problems and terrorists had nothing to do with Islam.

Through such meetings, a common plan of action could be chalked out to eliminate terrorism and extremism, he added.

He thanked the minister and said the meeting was the most significant and useful of all the meetings he had in Pakistan.

In the end, the minister presented the Paigham-e-Pakistan book and a commemorative shield to the guest. (APP)