Following Quran a prerequisite to set up an ideal, tolerant society: speakers

LAHORE: Following the teachings of Holy Quran is a prerequisite to achieve the objective of establishing an ideal, tolerant and peaceful society and countering the menaces of terrorism, extremism and sectarianism was the crux of two days of discussions held here at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and the University of Lahore (UoL).

The discussions titled “Paigham-e-Pakistan Narrative and the Establishment of an Ideal Society” were organised as part of a two-day “International Quran Conference”, attended by international scholars, including professor of Comparative Civilization, Department of Political Science and International Relations Istanbul Sehir University Dr Abdullah al-Ahsan; Dr Khairi Mahyuddin of Faculty of Leadership and Management, University Sains Islam Malaysia; reader in Islamic Studies, University of Glasgow Dr Lloyd Ridgeon; Dr Martin Mahmud Kellner of Institute for Islamic Theology, University Osnabruck Germany and UK Academy of Islamic Sciences principal and director of Wise-life Academy Manchester, UK Shaykh Ahmad Dabbagh.

Addressing the participants, the speakers said the Holy Quran as well as Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) have advocated the creation of a socially inclusive society that embodies a sense of inclusion, establishes a tradition of mutual respect, encourages diversity of perspectives and commends broad-mindedness without any racial and religious prejudice.

“Extremism is not the message of Islam. Islam is the religion of peace and humanity. Collective efforts for dissemination of the true message of Islam are imperative and the Paigham-e-Pakistan narrative is a timely step to pursue this goal. The message should be spread across the globe. We must portray a soft and positive image of Islam and highlight Islam as a religion of peace, brotherhood, tolerance and accommodation,” they said.

The speakers especially highlighted the role of ulema, faculty members, civil society and youth to achieve the goal of successfully building a counter-narrative to violence, extremism and terrorism.

“It is the fundamental responsibility of Islamic scholars to protect the religion from corruption, defend it from aggression and protect its sanctity and purity,” they said.

“However, sustaining the positive image of Islam should not be seen as a responsibility of the clerics alone but a collective responsibility of all segments of a society,” they said and called for devising a comprehensive strategy against Islamophobia through close linkages between ulema and the educational institutions.

The speakers said the terrorists and extremists were trying to propagate their mindset among the youth through sectarianism, militancy, intolerance and division.

“Such an ideology can endanger the sovereignty and harmony of a society. There is no room for intolerance in a civilized society as it badly affects its social fabric. If we want to correct our direction for the future, it is necessary that the society is peaceful and stable because without it we cannot embark on this journey,” they said.

The speakers also lauded the efforts of Pakistan’s security intuitions and said that the armed forces and the intelligence agencies had taken concrete steps in eliminating safe heavens of terrorists from across the country.

“However, the work still needs to be done on the ideological fronts,” they underlined.