Global Congress on World Religions begins at Jamia

January 17th, 2009 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) A three day Global Congress on World Religions in the Aftermath of 9/11, organised by Jamia Millia Islamia in an attempt to promote harmony between the followers of different religions, began here Saturday. Speaking at the inauguration, chief guest the Dalai Lama criticised the targeting of a particular community after 9/11.

“Just because some mischievous elements of a particular religion have dome something wrong, the whole community following that religion should not be blamed,” he said, and stressed the role of inter-religious dialogue to promote religious harmony.

“Love, compassion and forgiveness are the basic inherent elements in every religion. We need to have inter-religious dialogue to have better understanding of different religions and create harmony and peace in this world,” he said.

Mushirul Hasan, vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, spoke about the misconceptions about Islam promoting violence and clarified it was a religion that speaks of peace and coexistence.

“Islam talks of peace more than anything else. Contrary to the thought of Islam having been spread through sword, it was spread through Sufism, which talked of co-existence,” he said.

Sufism is the mystical dimension of Islam; in medieval times, it was a major movement, which attracted people from all walks of life.

I.H. Azad Faruqi, director of Centre for Comparative Religions and Civilisations in Jamia Millia Islamia and one of the organisers of the event, said that such events along with promoting religious coexistence would bring out the real traditions of Jamia, which were maligned by incidents such as the police shootout with suspected terrorists in nearby Batla House.

“After the Batla House incidents, a wrong image of Jamia was projected. Such events would help bring out the real traditions of Jamia which is of service to humanity, tolerance and coexistence,” Faruqi told IANS.

Two students of the university, Mohd Shakeel and Zia-ur-Rehman, were arrested by Delhi police for their alleged involvement in the Sep 13 serial blasts in the capital. These arrests took place after the Batla House shootout Sep 19 in which two suspected terrorists, linked to the blasts, were gunned down.

Talking of the conference, Arshad Alam, a faculty member in the centre for Noam Chomsky studies, told IANS: “It is an effort of the Jamia community to promote communal harmony through better understanding of different religions.”

Students of different universities, who participated in the event in the M.A. Ansari auditorium of the university, said they felt elated after hearing the Dalai Lama.

“It is good to hear people like Dalai Lama, who have been trying to spread the message of peace, non-violence and harmony in this world which seems to be ridden with blood in most of its parts,” Sabina Khan, 23, a student of Jamia, told IANS.

“I am doing research on Hindu mythology and I feel that all the religions address the same question of achieving the best for human life, social harmony and service to humanity. In a pluralistic society like India, such events help in developing a better understanding of different religions and cultures,” Abhisheka, 30, a research scholar in Jawaharlal Nehru University, who attended the conference, told IANS.

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