Saba Trust Holds Third Annual World Interfaith Peace Conference



Glimpses of the Third Annual World Interfaith Peace Conference organized by the Saba Trust in Rawalpindi

Rawalpindi: Under the auspices of Saba Aslam Education and Welfare Trust (SAEWT) a World Interfaith Peace Conference was held in Rawalpindi. Third of its kind, the conference was sponsored by the Chairman and Founder of SAEWT, Mr. Saghir Aslam.
For the last fifty years, Mr. Aslam has been working in the field of welfare and education for the destitute and needy people. In 1957, he formed the first cosmopolitan club in his college days in Sacramento, CA, US. This club represented 25 countries, and its mission was to herald all faiths in their work towards humanity.
In his welcome address Mr. Saghir Aslam stressed that religion and human rights have a very close relationship, adding that all the religions of the world are the foremost advocates, promoters and defenders of human rights. He emphasized that the communities of all faiths should equally share the responsibilities of protecting the rights of others and promote peace and harmony.
Addressing the conference was the former Federal Minister, Rufin Julius who highlighted the role of religion in promoting love, peace and harmony in all faiths. He said that freedom of religion in the present era seemed greater and more urgent than ever before. He emphasized respect for all religions and their messengers. He asserted that this can only be achieved if we respect each other with the core of our hearts.
Ruffin Julius, went on to say; “Only knowledge of God is not enough but it must be reflected in our daily actions, in practical life. I thank God Almighty that Mr. Saghir Aslam is implementing God’s will practically on the earth according to his wishes. I thank that he does not restrict these beautiful programs to only his community but he invites all communities to participate. He visited Gujranwala and other remotest places. Just a friend from this conference indicated that Mr. Saghir went to Sakardu to help the poor people and set up computer labs and provided clothes. As I watched Saghir during lunch time, I was astonished to see that he was serving lunch to all communities. Saghir Aslam personally held camps at our Christian churches that distribute food, clothing, toys and other items. Before Easter and Christmas and throughout the year Saba Trust is doing a fantastic job in creating harmony and peace between all faiths, including Christians, who are the largest minority in Pakistan, and Saba Trust has done what many just talk about.”
Mr. J Salik, former Federal Minister in his thought-provoking speech mentioned a particular Islamic point of view. He gave examples of Prophet Mohammad’s life (peace be upon him) and stated that Islam unreservedly and categorically appeals and urges its followers to respect the rights and faiths of other human beings. Mr. J Salik observed, “I am thankful to Mr. Saghir who is an active man and bears the name of good character, and Islamic charity. He has worked hard in every field and every faith to help the poor people. He is providing education, clothes, toys, medicine and food to the needy. Whenever I contacted him on telephone, whether day or night, I saw him working 24 hours a day. I went to the US, and he was always available and in contact with me. He has a unique character that exudes compassion and action. He may not be listening, to what I am saying but his energy and hard work show his dedication. He does require much rest in life. He is bargaining with God Almighty and he will be rewarded by God. This is his honest mission and we should all implement this mission in our practical lives. Saghir has accomplished this in a complete and beautiful manner.”
Professor Mehrdad along with Sarosh Najmi and a number of their community members, including females, were present to represent The Bahai Community. Professor Mehrdad gave a brief introduction of his faith, and stated that “all faiths preach love, respect and peace and none of the religions teaches violence and hatred. In fact, religion is not a construction of the human mind, rather is a divine origin, supernatural or mysterious and its purpose is to provide an effective link between the world and God.”
Beside other speakers, Punnu Lal, Mukesh, Sat Ram Das and Aachar Ram represented the Hindu community and projected their point of view about attaining peaceful coexistence between all human beings irrespective of religion or faiths.
Hector Aleem, Chairman “Peace World Wide,” addressed the gathering and said that his organization is working on interfaith dialogue for the last ten years and has been represented at UNO, USA, Switzerland and many other countries. President, Father Jacob Joseph Doger and founder General Secretary, Pervaiz Sohail of Muttahidda Masehi were also present.
The forum stressed the need for closer relations between all faiths and felt that working with other faiths could dismantle the fear of the unknown and bring harmony, peace and love between all human beings. Junaid Swati, Director Diya Development Foundation,and Iqbal Ur Rehman, Country General Manager, National Commission for Human Development, also addressed the Third Interfaith Conference.
• Saba Trust works on interfaith issues throughout the year in an effort to better the lot of adherents of all faiths. It supports educational programs, holds conferences and distributes food, clothing and medicines among the needy irrespective of their religious creed. The Third Interfaith Conference which had a wide and diverse representation – Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Parsi, Buddhists, Bahis - was described a complete success by the participants. Harmony and mutual respect were its hallmarks.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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