MULTAN-To bring communities closer and promote inter-faith harmony, the Islamic Research Centre (IRC) of Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) is going to hold an international conference in collaboration with World Council of Religions, disclosed Dr Abdul Qudoos Sohaib, Director of the IRC.

“It will be a two-day moot and it is likely to take place in March 2017. We’ve started contacting religious leaders, researchers and leaders of different communities from across the world,” he added while talking to The Nation on Saturday.

He pointed out that growing gap among communities, majority’s increasing strain with minorities and prevailing law and order situation made Pakistan the most suitable place to conduct this activity. “We want to bring all on one table. We want to end strain and disseminate a message to the whole world that we all are part of one big community,” he added. He noted that all minorities enjoyed equal rights in the state of Madina during the time of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the conference would also tell the world that the minorities in Pakistan were equal members of society. “We want to tell the world that Pakistan is not an epicentre of extremism but a beautiful blend of all ethnicities and religions, where minorities have every liberty to practice their religion and make progress,” he asserted.

Giving details of initiatives launched by the IRC, he said that besides conferences and other activities, the students were encouraged to conduct research on topics promoting religious harmony. “Our student Irfan Wahid is currently doing his PhD. research on Muslim Christian Relations in Multan. It’s a review of social relations between both communities in light of Islamic teachings,” he further explained. He disclosed that the IRC had already conducted two international conferences on inter-faith harmony and connectivity of communities in 2014 and 2016. He added that the 2016 moot was chaired by the Vice Chancellor of BZU Prof Dr Tahir Ameen and delegates from different communities including Sikhs, Christians and clerics from Islamic seminaries participated in it.

To a query, he said that no NGO was capable of taking up the big task of bringing communities closes since the people suspected their intent. He added that he joined Universal Peace Federation in UK in 2008 while he was doing his post-doctoral research in Glasgow. “I was given the Ambassador of Peace award by the federation in recognition of my efforts for bringing the communities closer,” he said.