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Symposium held on promoting interfaith understanding in AMU

ALIGARH (September 12, 2018): The Centre for Inter-Faith Understanding, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) organised a symposium and discussion on "Ways to promote Inter-faith Understanding". Swami Shri Hari Prasad of Vishnu Mohan Foundation, Chennai was the chief guest while AMU Pro Vice Chancellor Prof M H Beg presided over the function.

Addressing the symposium, Swami Shri HariPrasad, an eminent faith leader and scholar, said that all religions talk about same fundamental values and no religion teaches hatred. "What is harmful to you, do not do to others, should be the guiding principle in life" said the faith leader. He said it does not matter how and whom one prays, one should be honest and practice non violence.

Shri Prasad said that Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was a great proponent of Hindu-Muslim unity.

Citing recent events of communal amity during Kerala floods, where Hindus opened the door of temples for Muslim brothers for prayer, Swami HariPrasad said "my Guru taught me to spread love and peace and we should celebrate our differences" instead of fighting on distinctions.

"People should come together and indulge in dialogue so that inter-faith relations are strengthened in society", emphasized Swami HariPrasad.

Presiding over the function, AMU Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor M H Beg said Islam teaches us to respect all religions. "On several occasions, the holy prophet stressed we should follow middle path and there is no place for extremism".

Prof Beg pointed out that pluralism is the law of nature, there are so many colours, so many flowers and so many trees etc. Likewise, we should co-exist with our differences, in complete harmony.

Describing the establishment of Centre for Interfaith Understanding as a big step in line with Sir Syed's Aligarh Movement, Prof Beg said Sir Syed strongly vouched for peaceful co-existence of Hindus and Muslims.

Earlier, Prof A R Kidwai (Director, K A Nizami Centre for Quranic Studies) introduced the theme of the symposium. Talking about oriental studies and writings about Islam and Muslims by Western scholars, Prof Kidwai said that modern Orientalists have written about commonalities between Quran and Bible which is a positive change in  their outlook. He said Sir Syed was a great reformer and he wrote more than fifty articles about social evils in Hindu society and called for reforms.

Prof Saud Alam Qasmi (Department of Sunni Theology) said that Inter-faith Understanding started with Prophet Mohammad as he had peace treaty with Jews and others on several occasions. He said that Al Biruni learnt Sanskrit and Vedas and wrote about Hindu religion and society. Cultural exchange and understanding happens only this way, he added.

He further said that Sir Syed learnt Hebrew and wrote interpretation of Bible to explore commonalities between Christianity and Islam.

Welcoming the guests, Prof Syed Ali Mohmmad Naqvi, Director of the Centre said that AMU always stood for Inter-Faith understanding and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the first ambassador and champion of Inter-Faith movement in India. None of us can live in peace if there is an atmosphere of mistrust and hate in society, said Prof Naqvi. He emphasized the need for Inter-Faith understanding and peaceful co-existence.

Dr Mohammad Shahid, Deputy Director, Sir Syed Academy proposed the vote of thanks. Dr Shariq Aqeel conducted the programme. A panel discussion was also organised in which Prof Asmar Beg, Prof Shakil Samdani, Prof Amanullah, Prof Masood, Prof Latif Kazmi, Dr Mohibbul Haq, Prof Rashid Shaz, Dr Kausar Fatima, Mr Naresh Sharma and Mr Surendara Kumar expressed their views and emphasized the need for dialogue and communication. (PRO AMU)