They called for interfaith harmony while addressing a seminar on ‘World Interfaith Harmony Week 2017’ arranged by the Parliament of the World’s Religion in Islamabad. The seminar was arranged in connection with the UN General Assembly resolution adopted on 20th October, 2010 to promote mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue to establish interfaith harmony.
The diplomats said that it was high time to use interfaith harmony as a power to work effectively to transform fear, anger and hatred into a positive human relationship.
Polish envoy Piotr Opalinski, in his remarks, said, “That every person has the right to manifest his religion or belief either individually or in community, with others and in public or private in worship, observance, practice and teaching without fear of intimidation, discrimination, violence or attack.”
He reiterated that freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental right of every human being. Deputy Head of the European Delegation, Marshal Anne, said that in line with universal human rights, the EU is committed to respecting, protecting and promoting freedom of religion or belief within their borders.
Charge d Affairs of Portugal Joao Paulo Sabido Costa said, “States have a duty to protect all persons within their jurisdiction from direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, whatever the reason advanced for such discrimination.”
Ambassador of Parliament of the World’s Religion Shamim said that limitations to this freedom have to be strictly interpreted. He said that minorities have been increasingly targeted in hate in the country.
The envoy said faiths do not bind in limits but allows social harmony and mutual tolerance for a better and progressive society. He urged that it is need of the day to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people from all faiths.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2017.