Faith-based vigilantism not acceptable: Maulana Binori
PR – Sukkur: Renowned religious scholar of the Jamia Binoria, Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Yousaf Binori, said that vigilantism on the basis of faith is unacceptable. Neither the Islamic Shariah nor the legal system allow an individual citizen to become vigilante and punish someone. Pakistan’s legal system has detailed provisions to tackle crimes of various natures. If someone is accused of blasphemy, there are specific laws that deal with such cases. It is not an individual person’s responsibility to punish a suspected blasphemer, Maulana Binori said while addressing participants of a workshop on interfaith harmony on March 16 in Sukkur. He also underlined the state’s duty to protect the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan. The fundamental rights of the citizens are protected by the Constitution, and the state must ensure that people enjoy their rights, he added. During the workshop, Maulana Ahmed Binori also discussed the religious diversity in Pakistan, and why appreciating that diversity is crucial for peace and stability in the society.
Similarly, other speakers also addressed the workshop and highlighted the need for democracy, rule of law, and interfaith harmony in Pakistan. Noted security analyst, Muhammad Amir Rana, said that religious extremism is a continuing issue in the country, and the best way to address that is to educate the young generations about the values of citizenship and rule of law. He spoke on the topic of ‘A good citizen is the best Pakistani’, and explained why relations among citizens should be regulated by law rather than faith. He said respecting the fundamental rights of the people is prerequisite for peace and social cohesion. He also urged the youth to acquaint themselves with basic rights as provided in the constitution because the public itself is the best guardian of public interest. Likewise, veteran journalist, Sohail Sangi, talked about the prevailing class structure in the society, and how the class-based system reinforced monopoly of the privileged over national resources. He also discussed the genesis of the Pakistani class system which according to him started taking shape under colonialism.
During the workshop, senior investigative journalists Azaz Syed and Sabookh Syed also expressed their views on questions around interfaith harmony and peace. Sabookh Syed shed light on interfaith relations in the context of the torching of a Hindu shrine in Karak in recent past. Syed had filmed a documentary on the incident, containing eyewitness accounts of what actually triggered the mob violence. He said it was unfortunate that religion was often manipulated for private interests, and at times such acts lead to mob violence. He stressed on the need for individuals to exercise common sense and caution while responding to incidents involving religion or faith. A session of the workshop also discussed basic freedoms, democracy, and the right to know law in Pakistan. Azaz Syed spoke at length about the right to know law, and urged the participants to exercise their right and get information about public entities.
The youth were also taught how to balance and regulate their everyday emotions for long-term success in education, career, and life in general. Former civil servant and researcher, Ahmed Ali, said emotional intelligence is as significant as mental intelligence for people in general and the youth in particular. According to him, acts of religious vigilantism in Pakistan are cases of emotional failures where people fail to manage their anger and take law into their hands. The youth need to understand how their emotions dictate their behaviors and actions, he said. The two-day workshop was part of the ongoing series of countrywide workshops on the theme of interfaith harmony and diversity being organized by the Islamabad-based think tank, Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS). The workshops engage university students in a variety of topics relating to interfaith relations and religious and cultural diversity in Pakistan.
Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS)
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