First published in The Nation (Pakistan), 6 November 2009

Islamabad (PPI) – The Tehrik-e-Akhuwat-e-Islami (TAI) has decided to establish an Interfaith Education Center (IEC) to curb the menace of terrorism.

This was announced by the TAI Chairman, Allama Inayat Ali Shakir while talking to newsmen here at his residence on Thursday.

Ulema belonging to different schools of thought were present on the occasion.

Giving details of the IEC project, Allama Inayat Ali Shakir said the Centre would work to promote interfaith harmony and to eliminate terrorism, extremism and sectarianism. He said ulema and students of the different religions would be invited to share their views while visiting the IEC. He said that the basic aim of setting up the IEC is to eliminate terrorism by promoting interfaith harmony. He said the IEC would provide a platform to leaders of all religions and sects to arrange dialogues and have constant coordination with each other. He said the services of Muslim and Christian leaders would be hired for the IEC.

As for programmes, he said that three-month basic training courses would be arranged where the preachers of different religions would deliver lectures to highlight the importance of interfaith harmony and peace.

He said that the IEC would offer lectures to female seminary and university students for two days per week. An open dialogue would be arranged for a single day each week with all welcome to participate in the open dialogue. After the dialogue, there would be a question-answer hour and every participant would be free to ask questions from the preachers, he added. He said in the IEC, all faiths could celebrate their respective religious festivities while everyone would participate in the celebrations. The TAI Chairman said that a library would be set up in the IEC where books and literature on various religions would be made available, while videos, CDs, reports and lectures by religious leaders would also be available. The Interfaith Education Centre would also launch its own website and videos, lectures and clippings of interfaith dialogue would be available to visitors to the site, he added. He said the IEC would make contacts with the religious leaders living in backward and far-flung parts of the country to give them the message of interfaith harmony.