Thursday, December 1, 2011

Swat Pakistan- Students depict peace and pluralism

Artful learning: Students depict peace, pluralism through art


With an aim of exploring the concepts of peace and pluralism, students of various institutions from the area turned into artists for a day. Engaged in activities like creating cards, handkerchiefs, fabrics and hand paintings, they thoughtfully conveyed the message of non-violence and harmony.

Organised by the Peace Foundation Development in collaboration with Save the Children on Wednesday, “A Peace Day was celebrated in 60 educational institutions of the area”.

Zainab Fazal, a ninth grader from Government Girls’ High School Mingora told The Express Tribune that she and other students knew the importance of peace and valued it. “We will all strive for stability in the region and that should be the only day forward,” she said.

Art here served as medium for the students to express themselves without fear of consequences. The young artists were successful in giving words to their feelings on the issue.

Muhammad Asim, a student at the Government High School Haji Baba who stood third in the competition, said, “I participated in this activity so that I could help other people understand peace through the world of colours.” His piece depicted religious tolerance towards other religions.

Activities mainly focused on altering violent behaviour patterns and reducing the risk of young children falling prey to extremist ideologies. Some 300 students were also trained.

“It is really important to highlight the importance of peace in schools along with the regular syllabus,” said District Executive Education Officer Sultan Mahmood. “The training was beneficial in helping us realise how to educate students on peace and avoiding violence,” he added.

Mahmood was of the view that promoting peace-driven activities for students were as important as studying the Quran and theology subjects since they helped in understanding its underlying message. “I appreciate such positive activities held by educational institutes and expect fruitful results from them,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2011.

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.