Launch Of New Inter-Faith Project In Lahore

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Faith Matters launched the MUSAWAAT (Equality) project at the Avari Hotel in Lahore.  The aim of this project is to protect and promote equality in Pakistan and imbed a sense of shared values leading to the protection of minority faiths.

The Musawaat project will support grassroots level interfaith dialogue and understanding between Christian and Muslim communities in Pakistan and will develop facilitated mechanisms which will support interfaith dialogue and social action. The project will also develop confidence and skills within young people to promote interfaith harmony. The launch was attended by a large number of interfaith activists, politicians, journalists, and educationalists.


Commenting on the launch in Lahore on Sunday the 4th of Nov 2012, the Director of the Faith Matters, Fiyaz Mughal OBE stated:

"The communities in Pakistan must stand together and support one another to tackle the grave challenges of extremism. They should explore and celebrate their common history, culture and heritage, rather than religious differences. By doing so, they can promote a unified, safe and peaceful vision of Pakistan."

Project Manager for Musawaat, Rehman Anwer said:

"Through project Musawaat, we are aiming to promote inclusion, equality and interfaith dialogue in Pakistan, providing a platform for all voices to be heard- regardless of personal religious beliefs. Engagement of young people through youth work, educational workshops, social media and networking is the key to bring lasting peace and stability in Pakistan."

 

Christian Muslim Covenant of Non Violence in Pakistan

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The violence in Pakistan has cost the lives of tens of thousands of Pakistanis and with a growing sense of desperation in the country. Many have felt isolated and have also felt that there is no-one that they can trust to bring peace to their local areas. Muslim and Christian relations which have generally been based on both faith communities quietly getting on with their lives, have been brought to the forefront by attacks against minority communities and faiths. Yet, Pakistan was founded on the strengths of many Muslims and some non-Muslims and many Muslims feel angry that their fellow Pakistanis who happen to be Christians are being targeted by groups who continue to play with their lives. Added to this, many other communities are under threat like the Ahmaddiyah community who have lived in Pakistan and many whom fought for the creation of Pakistan.

Islam is based on core elements that include (i) ensuring that your fellow citizens feels the power of God through your good deeds and actions (ii) ensuring that through the protection of life, one can also find God (iii) by protecting the weak, Muslims can protect the sacred bond that was given to them through the Holy Quran which is to protect those 'People of the Book' who believe in the Divine God. The last element is extremely powerful since there is a direct divine code to protect those Christians and Jews who believe in God. In today's world, this translates into the protection of life (of all life) and the development of a special bond between Muslims and the 'People of the Book - Ahl-e-Kitab.' Indeed, the Quran speaks of the protection of the whole of humanity if 1 life is saved!

With these key tenets in mind, Faith Matters Pakistan developed this Charter of Non-Violence between Christian and Muslim communities. Pakistani Muslims and Christians working within Faith Matters Pakistan developed this charter and ensured that it was signed by key dignitaries, some of whom are listed below. We hope that this charter can be used to inspire people to push back those who hate and to energise those who want to bring peace and stability to Pakistan.

Some of the signatories to this Charter of Non-Violence in Pakistan included:

  1. Peer Zahid, Dewan, Dargah Hazrat Baba Ganj Shakar (R.A)

  2. Senator- Malik Hakimeen Khan, Member of the Central Executive Committee of PPP

  3. Mr.I.A.Rehman, Secretary General, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

  4. Mr.Samuel Pervez, General Secretary, YMCA, Pakistan

  5. Mr.Ali Raza Shah, President Rawalpindi Chambers of Commerce, Pakistan

  6. Miss Aqsa, Deputy Director Pakistan Housing Authority

  7. Mr.Olif Kailer Kellerhoff, Social Activist from Germany

  8. Miss.Urooj Khalid Correspondent, AAJ TV, Pakistan

  9. Mr.Abdul Razaq, Finance Secretary, Jamiyat Ahlehadees Pakistan

  10. Mr.Syed Hassan Murtaza, Member of Provisional Assembly (MPA)

  11. Mr.Faheem Gohar, Senior Jounalist, Jang Group Pakistan

  12. Chan Naseeb, President of the Minhaj Youth League, Mihaj-ul-Quran, Pakistan

In total, Faith Matters Pakistan ensured that 246 dignitaries from Sindh, Balochistan and the Punjab signed the Charter of Non-Violence Between Christians and Muslims in Pakistan.

Christian Muslim Covenant of Non-Violence in Pakistan

Christian - Muslim Dialogue

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Interfaith dialogue can ensure social harmony within countries and communities.Religious texts embody the importance of tolerance within communities and the practice of interfaith dialogue helps strengthen and encourage interaction in a constructive manner between communities. These dialogues present a valuable platform for students to voice their grievances, without any qualms and to also help them explore their multiple identities.

The interfaith dialogue sessions that we undertake are reviewed by religious leaders with our Faith Matters team. This is to ensure that any faith textual material we use is accurate and to optimize the sessions to their full potential. The methodology used at these events has been a proven success in helping the participants fully engage and contribute to the sensitive and sometimes difficult discussions.

Inter-faith sessions are being held and managed by Faith Matters staff across Pakistan to help contribute to constructive dialogue, improve mutual understanding between Christian and Muslim students and counter extremist ideologies that try and isolate communities based on faith. These events consist of group discussions on identity and nationality and the importance of social cohesion. The participants at the session are given a chance to voice their opinions with regards to interfaith dialogue, any discrimination that they may have endured and how communities and individuals from different faiths can work and live together. Young people are presented with material to reflect on the similarities between the faiths and are given a chance to voice their suggestions on the issues. The group and staff conclude by focusing on the significance of shared values and shared ideas to help Pakistan progress and for the wellbeing and protection of its citizens.

See the images below: