Rawalpindi-The first national conference titled “Interfaith Dialogue in the 21st Century” was organised by the Department of Islamic Studies at Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU), with the collaboration of Paigham e Pakistan on Wednesday.

The conference aimed at bringing better understanding of the variant religious communities so that followers of every belief system are able to better appreciate the spiritual truths and strive for practical action, informed a spokesperson.

In the opening ceremony of the conference, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan was the chief guest. He admired the efforts of FJWU to arrange a platform for social awareness in the society regarding interfaith dialogue. He also said that one learns from birth till death, education is the basic element, and a nation’s future depends on its youth. Those who want to secure their future should apply as much energy to raising their children as they devote to other issues. A nation that fails its youth, that abandons them to foreign cultural influences, jeopardises their identity and is subject to cultural and political weakness. The guest of honour was Prof Mehrdad Yousuf. He hoped this conference would encourage understanding, respect, and cooperation among people of all faiths for the well-being of our communities and peace in the country. He said that we are lacking in tarbiat and there’s no word in English for tarbiat. He further said that education is important but grooming is vital.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Samina Amin Qadir congratulated the Islamic department on organising the conference. She said that we do not own our country that is why we do not resolve such issues. Paigham e Pakistan is doing a wonderful job in promoting the culture of interfaith harmony, she said.

Earlier, Dr Shahzadi Pakeeza, the conference coordinator from Department of Islamic Studies welcomed all the distinguished guests and speakers of the national conference. She gave the basic introduction regarding conference. She also explained how to investigate the role of the interfaith dialogue in the country today and analyse how we can make such dialogues more effective to create social awareness in the society. The guest speakers of the conference were Dr Muhsina Munir, Professor, Department of Islamic Studies Lahore College for Women University, Rawalpindi, Dr. Arshad Munir, Associate Professor, Department of Islamic Studies University of Gujrat, Gujrat, Dr. Shah Mohiyuddin Hashmi Dean/ Chairman, Department of Islamic Thought and Culture Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, Dr. Zia Ur Rehman Assistant Professor, Department of Islamic Studies Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf Sitara e Imtiaz (Retired) Rector, St Mary’s College, Dr. Kalyan Singh Assistant Professor GC University, Lahore and Dr. Seema Farzad.

In the conference, 64 presenters from various universities collaborated and made the conference a success. The day ended with distribution of souvenirs and a group photo of all guest speakers, chief guest, and participants in the conference.