Islamabad-At least 55 Christian leaders from all over the country visited the Islamic Research Institute  on Wednesday in an effort to promote interfaith harmony and peace in Pakistan.

The visit organized as part of the Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative of the government of Pakistan aimed at understanding the commonalities of two religions to disseminate the concept of an inclusive Islamic society in Pakistan. The visitors threw light on the role of the initiative in promoting interfaith harmony and peace in Pakistan. They said such visits were the best way to bring people from different religions and cultures together as well as bridge the gap between different religions. Maintaining that promoting interfaith harmony was a service to humanity, they hoped that the visit would go a long way in healing the fractured relations between Muslims and Christians in Pakistan.

Speakers said Islam and Christianity were two major religions embraced by more than half of the world’s population. “With such a significant share of the global population, relations between Muslims and Christians therefore have a huge impact on the state of religious harmony globally. Unfortunately, the world today continues to witness the rising trend of Muslim-Christian tensions and even conflicts that seriously affect the inter-religious relations,” they said, hoping that such gatherings would prove to be a milestone in displaying how harmony and solidarity could easily be fostered among different faiths in Pakistan.

The visiting dignitaries termed the gathering a joyous occasion that would help bring about interfaith harmony in the country. They also stressed the need for concerted moves to foster tolerance  among all religions in Pakistan since it was extremely necessary under the circumstances prevailing in the country for the last two decades. They said it was  time that different religions display greater tolerance towards one another in order to ensure peace in the country, adding that discussions on religious values and coexistence should be promoted through the inter-religious exchanges.

The speakers said peace and tolerance were the greatest strengths of the human being while misunderstandings and conflicts the biggest enemies. They said both Islam and Christianity were the religions of peace and love. “We need to be shields for each other in the times of tragedy and the cause of happiness for each other, rather than putting each other into trouble only because our religions are different. People need to be told why their neighbours are so important and respectable regardless of their religion, and the community needs to know it’s a community only as long as there’s harmony. The moment it’s gone, it’s no more a community, but a mob,” they maintained.