PEF’s Interfaith Training Workshops for faith leaders are helping religious leadership to overcome the greatest challenge of disinclination towards listening to others and seeing from others’ point of view. These training workshops are designed keeping this core principle in mind that people usually want to interpret others’ beliefs, often misleadingly without letting others dispel our stereotypical myths about their faith with firsthand knowledge.
In this success story of another key Muslim religious leader, it becomes clearer that if religious leadership is strategically engaged in safer interfaith setting and provided with the chances of listening to their counterparts in other religious traditions, can overcome their stereotypical views and biases they usually foster about followers of other faiths.
One of the top religious leaders from Kohat KPK, who is well-versed in Islamic theology, scriptural language and Islamic law. He is also the writer of Tafseer of the Quran (exegesis) in Pashtu language. Before attending PEF interfaith workshop for rreligious leaders, he had concerns about interfaith gatherings as he said that “this kind of workshop should be arranged only for Muslim scholars so that they can discuss minority rights.”
After attending the workshop and interacting with non-Muslim religious leaders his views changed. Now he believes that: “It is not necessary that every Muslim is going to be a good human. Good or bad people could be found in every religion. We can’t judge a religion by the yardstick of one man’s deed. I have come to realize that we should not reject others’ view for the sake of unfriendliness.”
After the workshop he expressed his realizations that one cannot be truly religious if one fosters hatred against a fellow human being. While expressing his views on the documentary, he said, “The video was very useful as it relates to my own story. It makes us aware of the power of pulpit. Religious leaders can make this world a hell with violent ideas or paradise with peace. If we are irresponsible and irreligious, we will tilt towards violence. If we are religious and responsible human beings, we will make the pulpit as fountain of peace”.