A conference themed, ‘Celebrating diversity in the Muslim World’ was held on June 15 at India International Centre, New Delhi.
Inspired, encouraged and sponsored by His Holiness Dalai Lama, the conference was organised and arranged by Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam and Anjuman-Imamia, Leh.
His Holiness Dalai Lama was the chief guest and Dr. Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Former Vice President of India participated as a guest of honour.
Some leading scholars and leaders of Sunni, Shia and Bohra Muslim communities participated in the one day conference and spoke on the occasion. Besides, Tsewang Thinles President, Ladakh Buddhist Association, Rinchen Angmo, President LBA Women wing and Deachen Chamga, President Christian community also took part.
The conference started with the recitation of verses from the Quran followed with English translation by Hafiz Ghulam Mohammad, Imam, Jama Masjid Leh.
Addressing the audience, His Holiness Dalia Lama urged to cultivate love and compassion, both of which gives true meaning to life. He said, ‘Seven billion people living on the planet prefers different religion, speak different languages and practice diverse culture and traditions. Our planet is facing acute problems and we should be concerned as we all are responsible. Most of the problems are the creation of us. Human being has been blessed with a wonderful brain but it has been misused occasionally. Man has made horrible weapons, which have created disaster in this world.”
Laying emphasis on Shia and Sunni Muslims, Dalai Lama said, “Remain united and manifest your unity to the world”.
He expressed satisfaction that Shia and Sunni Muslim live harmoniously in Ladakh and did not see any rift between them during his visits in Ladakh. His Holiness expressed his desire to convey the message of love and goodwill to the Islamic world.
Dalai Lama described the current situation in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan as unfortunate, where Muslims are killing their own brothers violating the teachings of Islam. Many children are losing their lives and immensely suffer from starvation, miseries and for want of medication.
In the context of diversity, Dalai Lama said, “There are differences among various Buddhist sects also but the difference should not cause fear, hatred and hostility. Tolerance and compromise are essential and best option. We are natural animals and happiness is a key factor for our survival. Everyone wants happiness. Love and compassion are prerequisites for happiness. I am a Buddhist I love all mankind irrespective of caste creed and religion”.
Dalai Lama underlined the importance of education based on moral values for children from the nursery level.
Former Vice president, Dr. Mohd. Hamid Ansari stressed on unity. He said, “Diversity has its own beauty and it is a desirable concept. Diversity is found in everything including plants. We should seek unity in diversity. One can see the scenario of unity in diversity on the eve of Haj and during the pilgrimage of shrines of Ajmer Sharif and Nizam-ud Din Aulia.
Bohra Scholar Abdul Qadir Nooruddin said, “The fundamental teachings of all religion are same, we should seek common grounds and share common values.”
Shia scholar and a senior member of the All India muslim personnel law board Maulana Kalbi Jawad Naqvi said, “The present-day majority of Muslims are not true followers of Islam. God has created human beings to serve mankind and to maintain peace in the world but we indulge in bloodshed and wrong doings.”
Maulana Mahmood Madani, Former MP and leader of the Jamiat Ulama i Hind highlighted sufi traditions of Islam. He said, “Islam was introduced and propagated in India by Sufi saints, not rulers and gave the message of universal brotherhood. Stating his visit to Ladakh, he praised Ladakhis for their simplicity, sincerity and beauty of the land.
Dr. Mohammad Hussain Mukhtari, Iranian scholar and Vice-chancellor said,” It is mandatory on Muslims to maintain peace and forge unity among all people irrespective of religion and recognize the faith of the followers of all religions.”
He added that the diversity is a fact and it is imperative to accept the diversity.
Earlier welcoming the chief guest and others, Dr. Abdul Qayum, President, Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam said, “The idea of convening this conference on celebrating diversity in the Muslim world is suggested, encouraged and monitored by the HH the Dalai Lama its intents are to make conscious people on the importance of harmony and to strengthen inter-community and intra -community harmony and unity.
Ashraf Ali Barcha, President Anjuman Imamia, Leh said, “The conference is intended as a small step in swimming against the trend of divergence of present troubled times. We have to cultivate harmony among ourselves first. Then, we can give message of peace and harmony to the people of our country and to the world. In this context, we will always seek the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
On this occasion, Siddiq Wahid, Former VC of Islamia University Awantipora, Kashmir said, “The Muslims of Ladakh are a miniscule ethnic, cultural and linguistic group in the demographic reen of the Muslims of India and the world. And from our perch in Ladakh, our internal quarrel seems minor in comparison to our sense of intra shared culture, a blessing that is something unnoticed even by ourselves. This conference is an effort to build awareness about it amongst ourselves in Ladakh and to initiate a dialogue on the importance of recognizing it amongst Muslims in our state and the country.”
In the second session, Farah Naqvi, feminist writer and activist, Seema Mustafa , a senior journalist and the chief editor of The Citizen, Dr, Ali Khan Mehmud Abas, Scholar and Mehmud ur Rashid, a columnist and opinion editor of Kashmir largest daily ‘Greater Kashmir’ spoke to the audience followed by a question-answer session.