The Candid Eye

March 17, 2010

Sufi teachings can counter extremism: Zardari

President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday called for focussing attention on teachings of peace, love and tolerance of the Sufi saints so as to counter extremism and the militant mindset.

Addressing an International Conference on Sufism and Peace arranged by Pakistan Academy of Letters at the Aiwan-i-Sadr, President Zardari said Sufism had a crucial role to play in mankind’s struggle for a peaceful world.

Asif Zardari

Around 80 delegates from 30 countries and 250 from Pakistan are participating in the conference.The president said the most important issue of the present era was peace — peace in the country as well as peace outside the borders.

President Zardari said extremism and militancy were a mindset, created to defeat a rival ideology in the region and the extremists were encouraged to use religion as the basis of their ideology.

He said the entire free world was responsible for its creation decades ago. But, unfortunately, no attention was paid to this aspect once the objectives were fulfilled and the militants were abandoned to their fate. “It is these very militants who have come to haunt all of us.”

He said the entire philosophy of Sufism revolved around purification of the soul and creating an environment where humanity was not threatened by few individuals trying to impose their narrow versions of religion upon a vast majority.

“No religion, whether Islam or Christianity, preached extremism and militancy,” he added. He described terrorists as enemies of Pakistan and Islam and of peace in the region.

“Pakistan will never bow before terror and will never allow the extremists to advance their murderous agenda within the country and the region,” he added.

He said Pakistan was home to great Sufi saints who dedicated their lives to promotion of peace and harmony and the vast majority of people believed in peace and universal brotherhood as enshrined in the teaching of holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

He urged the gathering to play its part in making the world a better place to live. He said the conference showed Pakistan’s commitment to the cause of peace and the deep bond of its people to the forces of love, harmony and brotherhood, which was the message of Sufis.

The president also commended the services of Chairman PAL Fakhar Zaman for arranging the conference.The PAL chief in his address highlighted the importance of men of letters in using their pens for establishing peace in the world.

Peter Curman, a Swedish writer, urged the writers to play their role as ambassadors of peace and make efforts for developing mutual harmony amongst the people across the world.

Prof Dr Hugh van Skyhawk spoke on divine love and message of peace, the role of poetry and courage among the Sufis to rid the world of the ills that afflict it.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Education Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali spoke on the role of Sufi saints in the subcontinent that brought a sea-change in the minds and lives of people with the divine message of ‘Tasawwaf’ based on love.—APP

Source: The Dawn

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