02/09/2013, 00.00
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For Pakistani Christians and Muslims, youth can promote peace and change in the country

by Shafique Khokhar
The government should capitalise on the potential of future generations, an interfaith seminar suggests in Faisalabad. School is a key venue to promote harmony and dialogue. Ignorance and lack of education sow hatred and divisions.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - The Government of Pakistan ought to capitalise on the potential of young people to promote peace and transform the country politically, socially and economically, this according to the participants in an Islamic-Christian seminar titled the 'Role of youth in promoting peace', organised at the end of January in Faisalabad (Punjab) by Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM) in cooperation with the Christian Study Centre (CSC), the Pakistan Girl Guide Association (PGGA) and the Peace and Human Development (PHD) Foundation.

Speaking at the event, CSC project manager Fahmida Saleem noted that "people need to respect, embrace and celebrate diversity among communities rather than reject them". This is important "in order to develop a real culture of peace and tolerance."

PHD Foundation director Suneel Malik agrees. Young peace must be "agents of peace", involved in "positive change".

For PGGA coordinator and AWAM president Amna Eshan, "ignorance and the lack of education" play an "essential role" in sowing interfaith disharmony, a view shared by AWAM director Nazia Sardar who believes that school curriculum "must be purged of the biased material that make it a source of hatred and confessional divisions".

School, she insists, must instead be a privileged place where we can "promote peace, human rights, harmony and tolerance among various religious and ethnic groups."

"Islam and Christianity share various points," said Tahir Iqbal, director of the Lyallpur Development Organisation, a Pakistani NGO that promotes peace, tolerance, harmony and human rights protection.

"People," he explained, "should develop a spirit of dialogue and harmony, removing misunderstandings between faiths." 


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