From extremism to peace-building

04-01-17 PEF Client 0 comment

A PEF Interfaith graduate and a prominent religious scholar from Gujranwala, before his transformation used to see non-Muslim through biased a perspective. He actively participated in protests against the government and demanded wiping non-Muslims from the face of society. After attending PEF imam & interfaith leadership workshops for religious leaders, his views began to change. The PEF workshops helped him realize that his biases towards non-Muslims were result of keeping non-Muslims at arm’s length.

PEF alumni reveal that he was not a born peace-builder but a religious leader with extreme religious views. For the last three years, he is working as an interfaith dialogue practitioner and achieved position of respect by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.   He has established local network for peace builders and people from diverse socio-religious background are working as members of this network.

He has also initiated several peace building programs in his areas including seminars, workshops and rallies demanding equal rights of non-Muslim Pakistanis, he is not only working for interfaith peace building but also raising his voice for health and education for Christian community in his city. To serve non-Muslim members of human family, he has established a dispensary in Gujranwala which provides free medicine to poor and needy people of the area. Qazi Abdul Qadir Khamosh (MCFI President) and some other PEF graduates intervened in Francisabad, Gujranwala 2013 incident. This incident was erupted on personal dispute between Muslim and Christian individuals. The incident later on turned into violent religious issue.  PEF graduates put efforts to control more damages and reconcile this issue. They brought both communities together and made them realized the sensitivity of the issue.  Eventually they succeeded in settling a very sensitive issue.

PEF alumni have also started working in education sector with the help of charitable locals. He has managed to establish “Mohammadia Model School”. The school is providing education and training facilities to 250 children of marginalized, deprived and excluded families of Muslims and non-Muslims. As a role model for religious leader PEF present him at different forums. Local and national journals have also awarded him in recognition of his tremendous services in the area of peace building, health and education. For example Awami Mohabbat (Public Devotion), a group of publications in collaboration with Kindle Society, awarded him a shield in recognition of his noble services on the eve of their anniversary. Awami Mohabbat (Public Devotion) on February 2, 2014, published a full-page story who was awarded with a shield in recognition of his noble services in the field of interfaith peace building.

He also received an award in recognition of his work for peace in Lahore.  Anas Zaheer always acknowledged that it was due to his engagement with PEF which helped his climbed out of extreme views.   “I learnt interfaith peace building skills from PEF. It is the organization which filled me with love, compassion and empathy for my fellow human beings who don’t belong to my faith but they are members of human family like me”. In the end, he presented his road map for social change in his area:

  • Establishing vocational center in Gujranwala to generate employment opportunities for skilled women.
  • Setting up health dispensaries in different areas of the city to provide medicine to poor and needy people of the area.
  • Mobilization of local community for peace building to promote mutual peaceful coexistence.
  • Creating peace building programs to engage youth (male and female) in Gujranwala.

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