Mowahid Urges US Students to Reject ‘Hate Talk’

Washington, DC: Although the post 9/11 world has presented unique perils, it also is a challenge and opportunity for the youth to stand up and make a difference. This was stated by Mowahid Hussain Shah, Minister and Special Assistant to the Chief Minister, Punjab, during his keynote remarks at a packed forum at American University, Washington, DC, which was presided over by Professor Akbar S. Ahmed, who heads the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University. Prior to his talk, Mowahid was presented with a tasbih by Muhammed Cetin, who is one of the leading lights of Turkey’s Gulten Sufi movement.
Mowahid’s remarks were followed by an animated questions and answer period, which encompassed three hours. Mowahid said that it is difficult to visualize peace arrangements taking hold when one party to the Middle East dispute – Israel – escapes Congressional, media, and think-tank scrutiny. He said that despite enormous diversity in America, there is tremendous political conformism, especially so on the Israeli-Palestinian question.
Its consequent outcome, continued Mowahid, is that there is caricaturing of Muslims as the ‘Other’. Not surprisingly, ‘hate talk’ has permeated the political discourse about the Muslim world. All of this, he added, is roiling tensions which imperil global harmony. In this connection, Mowahid emphasized that the Muslim youth in the West have no option but to step up to the plate and play an active part. Muslim political cultures have to rejuvenate the pristine Islamic values of Ilm and Teqva, which have formed the cornerstone of Islam’s universal appeal, he continued.
Mowahid stressed the need for greater outreach by listening more, understanding more, and through meet-and-greet sessions. He said the US is good in celebrating differences. Sometimes, Mowahid concluded, there is a need to be reminded of the bonds of human similarity.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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