Let all revealed religions embrace each other
POPE Francis and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque Sheikh Ahmad AlTayyeb met at Vatican City on Monday calling upon the faithful of all religions to show a common commitment to peace in the world. While bidding each other adieu with an embrace, the two religious figures of Islam and Christianity gave an important message of unity and interfaith harmony - the one that is vital for peaceful coexistence.
To achieve that objective, dialogue and greater interaction amongst the scholars and followers of different religions is very important in order to remove all the misunderstandings and apprehensions against each other. Therefore, the meeting between Francis and the grand Imam of Al-Azhar — the prestigious Muslim centre of learning — is a welcome and important development and this dialogue process should not stop here rather continue with much more vigour and vitality while expanding its scope also by including the scholars of other religions. Given the multidimensional challenges faced by the world today, it has become imperative for followers of all religions to come closer and interact as through dialogue and table talk enmity, antagonistic thinking and any crisis even severe in nature can be changed towards peace. In fact, all the revealed texts including Holy Qur’an and Bible preach the message of love, brotherhood and peaceful co-existence but there are certain vested interests who misinterpret the divine message to achieve their ulterior motives. The sordid designs of these elements can only be foiled, if the faithful of the religions better understand the true teachings of their religion, which put emphasis only on respect for humanity. We also need to respect religious sensibilities of each and every religion to forge harmony in the society. We say so as in the past the holy personalities of Islam as well as the Holy Qur’an were desecrated in the name of freedom of expression in the West, which greatly hurt the sentiments of Muslim population. Those despicable incidents were in fact an attempt to create a divide amongst the people and civilizations. We expect the religious figures of Christianity and Judaism to come forward and take steps that such incidents do not recur in future besides they also need to engage greatly with Muslims in order to build on convergences for peaceful coexistence.
KASHMIR is normal in the sense that there are no stonethrowing incidents. Militancy, too, is on its last leg. Yet, the valley is seething with discontent. You can taste it once you land there. It is difficult to ascribe a single reason. Many factors are responsible for it. The most important one is the general feeling that India is all over, while Kashmir had given its control only over three subjects: Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications. The complaint is justified because it is for a unit to surrender as much sovereignty as it likes. The federation cannot usurp more subjects on its own. But New Delhi has precisely done that. This is what came in the way of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Shiekh Abdullah, who were close friends. Sheikh spent 12 years in confinement. Nehru realized his mistake and had Sheikh to stay at the Prime Minister’s house to make amends.
A similar problem plagues relations between New Delhi and Srinagar. How does a chief minister stay in the good book of the Centre and give the valley a feeling of independent identity? This is the thinking that worries the political parties of the state all the time. Those who consider Kashmir India’s unalienable part want to undo Article 370, which gives a special status to Kashmir, are betraying the constitution on the one
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