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pakistan ulema council ask for ban\ on loudspekers in mosques

December 14, 2014

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Extremism is biggest threat to state, society, moot told
* Speakers demand ban on use of loudspeakers in mosques
By Ijaz Kakakhel
December 14, 2014
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ISLAMABAD: Speakers on Saturday said that intolerance and extremism was the biggest threat to the existence of the state and a civilised society and without tolerance, peace could not be ensured in any society.

The speakers expressed these views during a national conference titled “Peace and Tolerance”, organised by South Asia Partnership-Pakistan at a local hotel. “The presence of tolerance at the state and public level is needed more than ever before,” a speaker said. It was shared that the brunt of this trend had been born by the vulnerable sections of society including religious minorities.

Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said that not any particular section of society was responsible for the present state of affairs of intolerance, militancy and extremism, adding that the code of conduct prepared by the Ulema Council was not implemented, which prohibited the use of the loudspeakers in mosques.

“The qualification of imams is never taken into account while appointing them,” he said. Tahir Ashrafi said that in Sindh there was no issue of Hindu and Muslim but it was an issue of rich and poor. “The exploiter takes the shelter under the name of Islam,” he added.

Commenting on the protection of religious minorities, the PUC chairman said that public administration and law enforcement agencies were not playing their due rule in the incidents of mob attacks on religious minorities. He demanded the abolition of Islamic Ideology Council.

Tahir Ashrafi said that the superior courts should play more proactive role in order to stop the incidents of forced conversions. He asked the government to regulate the Friday congregations. He suggested that gap between religious entities and other civil society organisations should be minimized, adding that spreading of “Daish” was imminent in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Executive Director Karamat Ali said that intolerance was not present in society but successive governments with the help of feudal class created such conditions which led to the present state of affairs.

He said that conflicts between the South Asian countries were a big reason for extremism and intolerance in Pakistan and other neighboring states. “The financial resources need to be transferred towards education and improving social security system. It would help eliminating intolerance and extremism from society,” he added.

Khursheed Nadeem said that the education system was dividing the people of Pakistan. “The state should come up with clear stance on the various conflicts present in society,” he added.

Charles Amjad Ali raised two important questions about the characteristics and rights of the citizenship. He said that the word citizen had a concept of exclusion in itself since it had been historically used only for the people living in the city and not in the countryside, adding that Pakistan was created on the name of protecting the rights of religious minorities that were Muslims of the subcontinent.

Advocate Salman Raja said that no child could be forced to learn religious education other than of his or her own faith according to the constitution of Pakistan. He said that violence in society was prevalent due to elements who wanted to impose their faith on other people.

Dr AH Nayyer said that the use of loudspeakers was the biggest source of extremism and intolerance in society. “Media is equally responsible for spreading hatred among the masses against the religious minorities,” he added.

He said that in most of the alleged blasphemy incidents the mosques were used to instigate the violence and ignoring this fact would not be a right approach. He said that the religious education should not be a part of public education and be imparted separately.

Professor Mahrdad from Bihai community, while sharing his views, said that humans were not created to spread hatred, extremism and tolerance. “The religious scholars should work towards changing behaviors of people which can lead to tolerance,” he added. Pandit Channa Laal said that local curriculum was spreading hatred and intolerance among different religions, adding that the misconceptions about Hindus were rampant in society.

Speaking on the occasion, Irfan Mufti said that the religious minorities were not on the priority list of political parties and parliamentarians. “Their representatives hesitate while raising the issues of religious minorities in the Pakistan. There are several discriminatory laws against religious minorities that are generally used for their persecution,” he added.

The national conference unanimously passed the resolution with following recommendations. “Considering the dire need of peace and tolerance in Pakistan and believing in universal freedoms and human rights, we the participants of this national conference demand: The use of loudspeakers in the mosques and public meetings must be strongly checked and the available laws must be invoked. Education system needs to be overhauled and it must entertain the requirements of pluralistic society.

Religious education should not be a part of public education but arranged separately. The constitutional guarantee of equal citizenship must be implemented in true spirit. The Supreme Court should take notice of forced conversions of girls. The commonalities of different religions should be promoted instead of differences and the sectarian-based organisations should be banned.”

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