KARACHI: Religious scholars and political leaders on Wednesday issued and backed an edict, declaring that terrorism and violence being committed in the name of Islam was in violation of Islam; and hence haram.
The edict was part of a seven-point code of conduct unanimously approved at the Ulema-o-Mashaikh National Peace Convention held in Karachi.
Speakers said that rights of all Pakistanis living in the country were equal, whether they were Muslims or not, and that targeting anyone on the basis of religion or faction was a sheer violation of the constitution of Pakistan and Islamic teachings.
They said that denying the fundamental rights of every Pakistani – on the basis of religion or otherwise – was against the Islamic laws and the country’s constitution.
They agreed on a point that anyone found involved in violation of others’ rights should be dealt with according to the law.
The code of conduct says that terrorism and violence being committed in the country in the name of Islam is “a violation of Islam, and the leaderships of all religions and sects announce their disassociation with such acts”.
Moreover, it said that no prayer leader, cleric or speaker would debase or induce his followers to debase any holy prophet; companions, family members or wives of the Prophet [PBUH]; four caliphs and Imam Mehdi in his speech or sermon.
It also said that no Muslim sect would be declared non-Muslim and no Muslim or non-Muslim would be declared worthy of being killed unconstitutionally. “Apart from Azan and Arabic sermon, the use of loud speakers will be completely banned. Moreover, people belonging to all religions and sects will seek permission from [the] local administration before holding their gatherings,” read another point of the code.
It also said that publication and distribution of offensive and hateful books, literature and pamphlets would be stopped and there would be a complete ban on cassettes and online websites containing objectionable and hateful material. “Hateful and offensive slogans will also be avoided.”
It read that joint gatherings would be held on a public level to express solidarity with each other. In the last point of the code of conduct, it was declared that since non-Muslims also live in Pakistan along with Muslims, as per the Islamic shariah, it was the responsibility of the government and Muslims to protect the lives, properties, honour and worship places of non-Muslims. “The government should also take stern action against those who attack worship places, holy figures, lives and properties of non-Muslims.”
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Maulana Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi said that blood was being shed in the country in the name of religious divide.
He strongly condemned the recent attacks on worship places of non-Muslims in Sindh and demanded immediate arrest of culprits behind the incidents, urging the government to take them to task. “We have one agenda – how to bring peace – and our message is tolerance. Bloodshed of religious scholars and students was going on in Karachi. To stop the killing, it was high time for political leadership and ulema to come forward and take steps in resolving the matter.”
“It is often said that maulvi and madrassa are responsible [for religious hatred and divide]. Let me tell you that maulvis called this convention... We are not among those who do not act according to their statements. We do what we say,” he asserted.
Addressing the gathering, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) leader Dr Farooq Sattar said that a few people were hatching conspiracies against Pakistan and Islam. “To bring peace and harmony, we would have to be united against lawlessness.”
He stressed the need for stopping any act that was being implemented by force. “Whether cases of forced conversion to Islam or forced marriages of Hindu girls, we are against them,” the lawmaker said. He also called for stopping the misuse of the blasphemy law.
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