Engaging Pakistani Interfaith Communities
To raise a more tolerant and peace-building generation, efforts should be made to initiate a positive interaction among youth of different religions.
The primary step should be to involve them in understanding the importance of interfaith harmony in Pakistan so that they can appreciate their relations with fellow citizens of other religions.
Engaging Pakistani Interfaith Communities (EPIC), a project of FACES Pakistan in collaboration with the Embassy of Netherlands, aims to achieve the objective of promoting interfaith harmony, peaceful co-existence and acceptance among people belonging to different faiths. Being the advocate of peace and interfaith harmony through youth, under this project FACES Pakistan is planning to hold interfaith seminars and competitions in different educational institutions of Lahore. EPIC hopes to engage both students and teachers to initiate a positive exchange of dialogue for religious tolerance in their immediate surroundings. The project also involves a larger public by organizing Street Theatres with youth in their communities. Such activity will create awareness and appreciation in the audience about the significance of religious diversity around them. Most importantly, EPIC utilizes the force of social media to spread the messages and positive actions taken by youth for peaceful co-existence and acceptance of religious communities in Pakistan.
Statistics Speak for Themselves
no. street theatre
Pakistan provides home to people from diverse cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Such variation has become responsible for misunderstandings and conflicts among different groups be it sectarian violence among Muslims throughout country, the language riots, or the continuous violence against non-Muslims. Most of the violence among religious communities is caused by misconceptions about other faiths. Over the years, promotion of exclusive and sectarian interpretations of religion especially among youth by religious leaders has driven conflicts, threatening stability and peace in the country. These people distort the teachings of other religions as they lack the knowledge and background of their religious beliefs and practices. Even our regular education system supports biased and incorrect opinions about the religions being followed by minority in Pakistan. Such syllabus develops discriminatory foundation of the children towards non-Muslims and their belief which becomes more problematic in later years of their lives. Such fundamental ideas can only be changed if everyone gets to know other religions and starts understanding the true consequences of their radical actions. Considering the loss of $4.5 billion in the fiscal year 2014-2015 due to war against terror, Pakistan has to take some serious long term steps to reduce fundamentalism in the region. With more than 27% population of age group 15-29, youth can play a major role in changing mid-sets towards discrimination against religious minorities in Pakistan.