Ideological diversity should be respected, says CII chief
Thursday, July 30, 2009
By Rasheed Khalid
Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Dr Khalid Masud has said that there should be culture of pluralism in Pakistan and ideological diversity should be respected.
He stated this while addressing the concluding session of the two-day seminar on ‘De-radicalisation and engagement of youth in Pakistan’ organised by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) here on Wednesday.
The CII chief said that youth are very significant for any country, which constitutes 45 per cent of population in Pakistan. He said that 2002 Youth Policy was paternalistic, as it saw youth, as object and not agents of change. He said that there is disconnect between parents and youth and both need mutual discussions.
He said that there is wide divide in Pakistan and the religious elements resist change and continue to have the same attitude, as they had in Mughal period. He said that modernity, reform and rational thinking were associated with colonialism, and are dubbed as westernised. He said that religious literacy in educated class is very low and the ambiguities were left to religious political parties to play them for power games.
Speaking on the occasion journalist, Imtiaz Gul, said that media cannot function in isolation and cannot alone de-radicalise society though it can help if other sections are also playing their due role.
He said that many popular anchors do not follow set pattern and agenda-driven debates adding that multiple influences keep them off professionalism. He lamented that major part of debates in media was polemical rather than educative thus inciting them instead of prompting them into critical analysis.
Ruhanas Harun from Malaysia said that Kuala Lumpur found a practical solution in politics of accommodation and co-option based on sharing political power and negotiations, and if that did not work, then confrontation. She said that the government banned radical religious groups, but not non-violent outfits. She said that there are no sects in Malaysia, as you have to be a Sunni Muslim if you are a Malaysian.
Abu Zayad Muhammad from Bangladesh said that 56 million people live under poverty line, unemployment is high, there is poor governance and frequent military interventions in politics coupled with Bangladesh lacking freedom, democracy and political spaces provide conductive ground for radicalism. He said that ‘Wahabism’ from the Middle East is lately gaining ground otherwise local Muslims were Sunnis and believed in Sufism, which preached love and peace.
Social activist, Rubina Saigol said that civil society is deeply rooted in the structure of class and tries to create consensus in society. She said that the concept had never been understood in Pakistan. She said that we needed equitable distribution of economic resources for a viable society.
National Defence University Dean Dr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema said that more debate is required to analyse the roles of media and civil society. He said that situation of information revolution in the country is stabilising and with the passage of time, media will start playing constructive and productive role in running the society.
Sameh Abdallah of Egyptian daily Al-Ahram said that Anwaar-as-Sadat had no support amongst socialists and ‘Nasserites’ so he lifted restrictions from Islamic Brotherhood. Islamists later killed him. He said that a ‘fatwa’ from imprisoned Islamists denouncing violence started de-radicalisation in Egypt.
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