MIRPUR (AJK) - While acknowledging the significance of interfaith dialogues and understanding, AJK President Sardar Masood said that the awareness of differences and commonalities among civilizations can positively contribute to the peaceful resolution of international conflicts.

The president made these comments during a meeting with Professor Dr Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, who called on the president at Jammu and Kashmir House.

During the meeting, Dr Akbar Ahmed, former high commissioner of Pakistan to the UK, also presented his latest book titled ‘Journey into Europe’ to the president. The latter appreciated Professor Akbar Ahmed’s contribution to interfaith harmony and promotion of understanding between the Islamic world and the West. Last year, Masood was invited to American University, Washington where he was received by Professor Akbar and presented with Professor Akbar’s previous research publications, ‘Muslims in America’ and ‘The Thistle and the Drone’’; the latter focuses on the misperceptions of the ongoing war on terror as war on Muslim tribal societies.

His latest book ‘Journey into Europe’ is the fourth of a quartet of studies and has been aptly accompanied by a documentary film of the same name. The interdisciplinary book is a research on urgent issues pertaining immigration, Islamophobia, identity and the rise of right-wing parties, all the while also presenting the solutions to these issues.

The AJK president lauded Professor Ahmed’s efforts in building bridges between different faiths and cultures and appreciated the fact that he was internationally known as an ambassador of peace focusing on strengthening linkages between various civilizations. He said that the world had turned a deaf ear to the conflicts taking place in the Muslim World, be it Syria, Yemen, Palestine or Kashmir. He added that Islamophobia is a reality that has to be tackled with rationale. The president said, “Through modern education and exposure we can fight common misconceptions related to the Muslim world and civilisation.”

Speaking on the peace and security situation in the subcontinent, the president said that till this day India has not accepted the partition of the Subcontinent, neither has it acknowledged the issue of Kashmir as a conflict. He said that being nuclear states, the two neighbours need to work out their differences, especially addressing the pertinent issue of Kashmir.

He also invited Professor Akbar to visit Azad Kashmir, interact with the intelligentsia and address the students and academicians at the public sector universities in AJK.