ISLAMABAD: Speakers at an international conference on Thursday stressed that Islam was the religion of peace and those propagating hatred, violence and extremism in the society had nothing to do with the religion.“Holy Quran is the central religious text of Islam and the fountainhead of entire learning. It is a material and spiritual guide for individuals and the community, all classes of people living in any place or time and for the entire life of man. While all religions call for love, peace, tolerance, freedom of belief and mutual understanding, some extremists commit acts of violence in the name of Islam and consider it a religious obligation. This is entirely against the teachings of Islam as commanded by the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Islam stands for peace, harmony and tolerance. It does not preach hatred or condones acts of violence. Unfortunately, the message of Islam has been distorted by the enemies of Islam,” the speakers maintained at the event titled ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan Narrative About an Ideal Society’ organised as part of two-day ‘International Quran Conference’ at the University of Gujrat. The conference is the largest event of its kind in Pakistan. Besides the main theme of the conference, sub-themes include: ‘Quran and Universe’, ‘Quran and Society’, ‘Quran and Politics’, ‘Quran and Prophets’, ‘Human Welfare Concept of Quran’, ‘Women Rights and Quran’, ‘Quran’s Concept of Preaching’, ‘Quran and Minorities’, ‘Quran and Media’, ‘Sufism and Quran’, ‘Quran and Knowledge’, ‘Quran and Psychology’, ‘Quran and Moral Values’, ‘Quran and Sociology’, ‘Quran and History’, ‘Quran and Children’ and ‘Quran and Research’.Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood, Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz and Punjab Minister for Auqaf Syed Saeed ul Hassan were invited to the conference as special guests. Former Inspector General National Highways & Motorway Police Zulfiqar Ahmed Cheema, Council of Islamic Ideology Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz, former chairperson of the Department of Islamic Studies, University of the Punjab, Dr Shabbir Ahmad Mansoori, former IGP Sarmad Saeed Khan, Punjab Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin and Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ali Shah were the guests of honour. Among the international delegates were: Dr Abdullah al-Ahsan, Professor of Comparative Civilization, Department of Political Science and International Relations Istanbul Sehir University, Turkey; Dr Khairi Mahyuddin, Faculty of Leadership and Management, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia; Dr Lloyd Ridgeon, Reader in Islamic Studies, University of Glasgow; Dr Martin Mahmud Kellner, Institute for Islamic Theology, University Osnabruck Germany; Dr Noor Mohammad Osmani, Department of Qur’an and Sunnah Studies, IRKH International Islamic University Malaysia; Dr Nuhu Yaqub, Dean School of Postgraduate Studies, Nile University of Nigeria Abuja; Dr Rebecca Gould, Professor Islamic World and Comparative Literature, College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham; Dr Sirajo Muhammad Sokoto, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sokoto State University, Nigeria; and Shaykh Ahmad Dabbagh, Principal of UK Academy of Islamic Sciences, Director of Wiselife Academy Manchester, UK.The objective of the conference was to propagate the message of peace and tranquility in the light of Quranic teachings. For the conference, about 150 abstracts from all over Pakistan were received, out of which 70 were considered suitable to be presented at the event. Well-known international speakers from 10 countries participated in the conference. Addressing on the occasion, the speakers also hailed the Paigham-e-Pakistan narrative launched by the government of Pakistan earlier this year, which, according to them, is a milestone as well as a historical success that could easily be extended and adopted by the whole world, particularly the Muslim world, to disseminate the message of peace and stability and eliminate extremism, terrorism and sectarianism.They said the terrorist organizations were brainwashing the Muslim youth and leading them astray by misinterpreting the teachings of Islam. “Those who do not comprehend Islam and those who have an interest in distorting the truth about Islam have been trying to make terrorism synonymous to Islam. Several extremist groups have used terrorism to implement their own agenda, issues or beliefs. None of them represent Islam. Attacks on civilians around the world by such groups cannot be justified by any religion. It is strongly condemned in all religions including Islam as explained by the Holy Quran,” they maintained, and called for unity as well as collective measures to counter the growing radical narratives since extremism posed the greatest threat to the peace and stability, social harmony and economic and social development of the country.Published in Daily Times, November 9th 2018.