Action Plan

Background

We the Muslims around the world and our Faith Islam are being projected and portrayed as the source of extremism, militancy and terrorism. Though it is absolutely wrong to believe but somehow the perception has gone that way. In such a scenario we are left with the following option:

·   Subscribe to the conspiracy theory, take the escapist option, get into blame game and allow the status quo to maintain.

·   Accept the challenge, go in self introspection and take necessary corrective measures.

We have taken the second option and adopt the following strategy.

Highlights:

1.     Initiating interfaith dialogue with religious and spiritual leadership belonging to major world faiths.

2.     Organizing Seminars, Conferences and Conclaves at the local, Regional, National and International levels.

3.     Institution of State, National and International Peace, Tolerance and Harmony Awards.

4.     Establishing an International Institute of Studying World Religions.

5.     Building the first HARMONY COMPOUND in India.

Details of Implementation

(Item 1 & 2)

In the last three years of our establishment to initiate Interfaith Dialogue in between the Religious and Spiritual leadership  belonging to Baha’i Faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikh Religion and Zoroastrianism we have organized the following events;

1.     National Interfaith Harmony Conference in New Delhi on August 6, 2005

Subject

“Concept of Peace, Tolerance and Harmony in World Religions”

Inaugural address: Former President of India Late Shri K. R. Narayanan

Presidential address: Dr. Karan Singh, President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Member Rajya Sabha

Keynote address: His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji

Participating Indian Religious leaders:

·     Baha’i  Faith                       Mrs. Farida Vahedi

·     Buddhism                           His Holiness the Dalai Lama

·     Christianity                         Dr. Anil Ceuto, Archibishop of Delhi

·     Hinduism                            Swami Dayananda Saraswati

·     Islam                                   Maulana Waheeduddin Khan

·     Jainism                               Acharya Shri Mahapraggya JI

·     Judaism                              Abraham Benjamin

·     Sikh Religion                     Jathedar Singh Sahib Gyani Manjit Singh

·     Zoroastrianism                   Dr. Mobed Rooyintan Peshotan Peer

 

 

Participating International Religious Leaders

 

·        Dharma Master Hsin Tao, Founder Museum of World Religionss

·        Rev. Bawa Jain, Secretary General, World Council of Religious Leaders

·        Father Felix Machado, VATICAN

 

 

2.     National Series of Interfaith Dialogue /A three conference series

 

Subject

“The concept of Peaceful Co-Existence in World religions”

First Conference was held on January 31 at India International Centre, Max Meuller Marg New Delhi. Representatives from Baha’i Faith, Sikh Religion and Christianity Mr. Shatrughun Jiwnani, Dr. M. D.Thomas and Sardar Tralochan Singh, Chairman, National Minorities Commission were the key speakers. Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of mines and fertilizers was the chief guest and Swami Agnivesh chaired the proceedings. Mr. Hamid Hussain, a senior civil servant was the guest speaker and he spoke on Islamic perspective of the subject.

Second Conference of the series was held on May 13 in New Delhi. This time representatives from Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism were invited to put forth their respective viewpoint on the subject. The conference was inaugurated by President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations Dr. Karan Singh and the Former Prime Minister of India Shri Inder Kumar Gujral chaired the proceedings and released the book, titled, “ I an Indian Muslim” authored by DR. Khwaja Iftikhar Ahmed, Founder President of IFHFI. The venue was India International Centre, Max Meuller Marg. New Delhi. Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj, chief, world Nirankari Mission and Hazrat Alhaj Syed Sultan Shah Baba Qadri Chishti, an internationally acclaimed practicing Sufi of the highest order blessed the audience.

Third and the final conference of the series was again held in India International Centre in which representatives from Islam, Judaism and Zoroastrianism were invited and they put forth their respective views on the subject. 

3.     South Asia Interfaith Harmony Conclave-2007 (April 21-22, 2007)

Subject

“Role of Religion and Spirituality in promoting universal human values”

          Inaugural address: Dr. Manmohan Singh, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India

          Keynote address:    Dr. Karan Singh, President ICCR

          Welcome address:   Shrimati Sheila Dikshit, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi

          Valedictory Address: Dr. Kamal Hossain, Former Foreign Minister of Bangladesh

           Guest of Honour: His Excellency Halil Acunci, Ambassador of Turkey in India

Participating Religious Leaders from India

·        Baha’i Faith:          Mrs. Zena Sorabjee

·        Buddhism                       Lama Doboom Tulku

·        Christianity                      His Eminence DR. Cardinal Telesphore Toppo

·        Hinduism                        His Holiness Swami Dayananda Saraswati

·        Islam                              Maulana Jamil Ahmed Ilyasi

·        Jainism                            Muni Sri Sumer Mal Ji

·        Judaism                          Rabbi Ezeikel Isaac Malekar

·        Sikh Religion                   Jathedar Singh Sahib Gyani Joginder Singh

·        Zoroastrinism                  Dastur Dr. Jamasp Asa

 

 

Participating South Asian Religious Leaders and Intellectuals

 

1.     Alia Nazeer, Revolutionery Association of Women in Afghanistan

2.     Major General (R) S. M. Ibrahim, Former Director General, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies

3.     Professor Dr. Syed Anwar Hussain, Department of History, Dhaka University

4.      Sardar Asef Ali Daula, Former Foreign Mimister of Pakistan

5.     Mr. Imran Khan, President, Tehreek-e-Insaf Party of Pakistan

6.     Maulana Syed Mohammad Abdul Khabir Azad, Shahi Imam, Jama Masjid, Lahore

7.     Dr. Enver Sajjad, An eminent Intellectual of Pakistan

8.     Mr. Farrukh Sohail Goindi, President, Founder for Democracy, Pakistan

9.     Mr. Farooq Tariq, Secretary General Labour Party of Pakistan

10. Rev. DR. Jehan Perera, Executive Director, National Peace Council of Sri Lanka

11. Venerable Professor Bellanwilla Wimalaratana, Chancellor, Sri Jayaverdenapura University, Sri Lanka

12. Rev, Dr. Father Cammilus Nihal Fernando, National Executive Director, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka

13. Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, United States of America

14. DR. Abidullah Ghazi, Executive Director, Iqra International Educational Foundation, Chicago, United States of America

15. Dr. Mrs. Tasnima Khatoon, Director, Iqra International Educational Foundation, Chicago, USA

16. Chief Rabbi David Rosen, President, Yje International Committee for Interreligious Consultations, Jerusalem, Israel

17. Ms. Priya Tandon, Representative Asia, American Jewish Committee

 

Sponsors

1.     Indian Council for Cultural Relations

2.     The Government of Delhi

3.     The Temple of Understanding (India)

4.     National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is

5.     Buddhist United Church / Ahimsa Trust

6.     Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India

7.     Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha

8.     All India Organization of Imams of Mosques

9.     Acharya Shri Mahapraggya Pravas Samiti

10.  Judah Hyam Synagogue

11.  Sri Akal Takhat Sahib

12.  Zarathusta Cultural Foundation/Delhi Parsi Anjuman/Parzor UNESCO Foundation

13.  Sikh Dharma International, Mexico, USA

14.  H. S. Manchanda Foundation Trust, Los Angeles, USA

15.  Iqra International Educational Foundation, Chicago, USA

16.  Indus Setu Global Foundation, Mumbai

17.  Anjuman Moiniya Fakhriya Chishtiya, Ajmer

18.   World Nirankari Mission


 

Item 3: Institution of Awards

INTERNATIONAL AWARDS

·        Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi International Award for Universal Peace, Tolerance and Harmony

·        Mahatama Gandhi International Award for Global Peace, Tolerance and Harmony

·        Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru International Award for Inter Continental Peace, Tolerance and Harmony

·        Baba Farid International Award for South Asia Peace, Tolerance and Harmony

NATIONAL AWARDS

·        H. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti National Award for Peace, Tolerance and Harmony

·        Mother Teresa National Award for Peace

·        Bahadur Shah Zafar National Award for Tolerance

·        Rajiv Gandhi National Award for Harmony

STATE AWARDS

·        H. Amir Khusro State Award for Peace, Tolerance and Harmony

·        Dara Shikoh State Award for Peace, Tolerance and Harmony

·        Maulana Abul Kalam Azad State Award for Peace, Tolerance and Harmony

·        Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar State Award for Peace, Tolerance and Harmony

·        Felicitations for special contribution in Global Interfaith movement

 

South Asia Interfaith Harmony Conclave 2007 was held on April 21-22 in Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Jawahar Bhawan New Delhi. Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh inaugurated the Conclave. Inter Faith Harmony Foundation of India (IFHFI) A forum for Interfaith and Inter civilization dialogue floated by Indian Muslims was the Organizer and DR. Khwaja Iftikhar Ahmed, Founder President IFHFI the Convener.

While addressing the galaxy of religious and spiritual leaders, people of eminence in public life, diplomats, academicians and distinguished delegates from South Asian region Dr. Khwaja Iftikhar Ahmed, Convener of the Conclave formally launched the following two projects:

·        Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi International Institute of Studying World Religions.

·        Harmony Compound, First Common Place of Worship on Earth

 

Item 4: Establishing International Institute of Studying World Religions

 

·     The Institute will be named after great Sufi and Philosopher Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi. Its major highlights are:

·      Initially it will be raised as a deemed university but gradually it will be developed as a full-fledged International university.

·      It will be evolved as a Global Centre of Interfaith Dialogue and Understanding.

·      It will promote interfaith dialogue among the Religious, Spiritual and Intellectual leadership of all the religious communities.

·      It will promote spiritualism as a unifying link amongst humanity.

·      It will provide ample opportunity, facilities and infra structure for comparative studies/research in religion and spirituality.

·      It will offer diploma, undergraduate, graduate, post graduate and other advanced courses on individual religions, comparative study disciplines and specialization in identified fields.

·      It will develop a universal course on spirituality and to work for its introduction in School curriculum in all countries of the world.

·      The Institute will house a separate section for the study of Rumi’s thought and philosophy.

·      The Institute will be fully residential and Student population will be drawn from all over the world and all efforts will be made to have adequate representation of all faiths.

·      The Institute shall closely coordinate its total programming with United Nations and other nationally and internationally reputed centers of comparative religion and dialogue centers.

·      The Institute will set up chairs after the names of prominent world personalities and institutions whose contribution in any walk of public life shall be found extraordinary.

·      It will be developed as a joint venture of the global family.

·     The Institute will be set up in an area of 500 acres of land.

·     The funds for the project will be welcome from all over the world.

 

ITEM 5: HARMONY COMPOUND

This project is the initiative of Indian Muslims and it has been taken by their representative Interfaith voice, Inter Faith Harmony Foundation of India. India is most ideally placed to undertake this project. We are a multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-lingual society. Our real treasure is the composite cultural ethos and common historical heritage.

Indian Muslims are most ideally placed to undertake this noble cause because in a secular and democratic India we the proud citizens of this land of Sufis, Saints and great spiritual souls enjoy the benefit of grooming in a cosmopolitan environment which in a natural course inculcates amongst us all a sense of equity, equality, mutual tolerance, respect for all shades of opinion, traditions and thoughts. Besides India is also a home to all the major world religions and each one of them is flourishing here. We reject coercive and compulsive methods and modes of dictation and indoctrination in any walk of life, be it religion, society or governance. We are a free society in which freedom of thought, expression and belief naturally comes to us all.

This initiative is the first of its kind in the history of human civilization and is the crying need of the hour. When the humanity is literally dying for peace and harmony and when all of us are tired of violence and extremism in all its forms and manifestations it now becomes almost mandatory for the world community to initiate a process of healing and conciliation, a process with which everybody can identify him irrespective of what his/her affinities are. In order to realize this noble goal we need to pronounce:

·      Let us first recognize the fundamental right of every individual to believe in and practice the faith of one’s own choice.

·      We must together express and demonstrate our firm belief in having and cultivating an atmosphere of liberty and freedom in the global society

·      We must nurture an atmosphere filled with compassion, love and harmony.

·      Let there be no room for mutual hatred and animosity.

·      Let us establish a “No Hostility Zone” by refraining from making such   pronouncements which offend the religious sentiments of others.

Item 6: Establishing an International Institute of Understanding World Religions.

 

Aims and Objectives:

1.     To develop the first Common Place of Worship on this Planet

2.     To nurture the culture of universal peace, tolerance and harmony

3.     To encourage activities and avenues of promoting interreligious harmony

4.     To strengthen the belief in the philosophy of Universal Peaceful Co-existence

5.     To preach and propagate that difference in Faith is not a cause of conflict and discord.

6.     To promote equal respect for all Religions, Holy Scriptures and Modes of Worship, Traditions, Rituals and Customs.

The fundamental question arises how to achieve and realize such an ideal state of mind, spirit and thought. Apparently it looks impossible and too much a target to achieve. But we in Inter Faith Harmony Foundation of India believe and assert that this is not only absolutely possible but attainable too. What is required a revisiting the conscience and the follow up action.

God has created man for love, compassion, sacrifice and devotion but it is the man who for factors like personal greed, animosity, vested interest and a lust for one upmanship indulges in all kinds of, “Tricks and Traits”. This is high time to reverse this trend and channelize the human energy towards necessary transformation. We need to build up a strong case for taking high moral ground.

Where is the answer? To my mind the human race has fought most for the supremacy of A religion over the Other. If a message of Equality and Universal Peaceful Co-existence is given to one and all through some method I believe the natural cause of conflict will go as its route disappear. Harmony comes and sustains forever.

The world is spending so much on the development of weapons of mass destruction; a mad race is on for stockpiling huge nuclear arsenals; those who have them they feel safe and those who do not, want to have them as deterrent for peace with neighbors; there is talk of clash of civilizations, some fools are talking of holy war between Christians, Jews and Muslims. In fact the world has taken itself to an all time low where money rules and morality is dying. What a pity?

Enough is enough. This is high time now for the world to spare some of its material resources for consolidating the principle of Universal Peaceful Co-existence by promoting in an unprecedented way inter faith harmony among the followers of all faiths or no faith  by building harmony Compounds around the world.

The first of its kind we have decided to build in India through Inter Faith Harmony Foundation of India, A forum for inter faith and inter civilization dialogue floated by Indian Muslims. Its formulation is as follows;

METHODOLOGY

·        Seeking formal consent of the religious and spiritual leadership belonging to major world faiths

·        Engagement of civil society, establishment, media and other Interfaith groups

·        Building public opinion in favour of a common place of worship

·        Approaching the  civil society, state or other viable segments in public life to procure 500 acres of land

·        Engagement of Eminent Architects to prepare the first design of the Institute and Harmony Compound

·        Formation of steering committee and sub committees to undertake the preparatory ground work

Steps taken so far

·        Consent from the following have already been received

1.     National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is of India (Baha’I Faith)

2.     Museum of World Religions and Dharamshala (Buddhism)

3.     Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (Christianity)

4.     Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, Apex body of Hindu Dharma (Hinduism)

5.     Edicts (Fatwas) from the Premier Institutions entitled to issue Fatwas of Bareilly, Deoband and Nadwa Schools of Thought (Islam)

6.     Acharya Sri Mahapraggya JI and Acharya Sri Vidyanand JI (Jainism)

7.     International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, AJC and Judah Hyam Synagogue, New Delhi

8.     Sri Akal Takhat Sahib, Sri Amritsar JI, The premier religious seat of Sikh Religion

9.     The Delhi Parsi Anjuman and PAZOR UNESCO Foundation

10.  The Art of Living Foundation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar JI

11.  Sikh Dharma International, Mexico, United States of America

12.  Adi Jagadguru Shankaracharya Shri Swaroopanand JI Maharaj, Dwarka Math

13.  Adi Jagadguru Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, Kanchi Math

Other vocal national and international supporters are:

1.     His Excellency The President of Maldives, Hon’ble Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

2.     His Excellency The Prime Minister of The Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, Hon’ble Khandu Wangchuk

3.     Hon’ble Governor of Gujarat Shri Nawal Kishore Sharma

4.     Hon’ble Governor of Haryana Shri A. R. Kidwai

5.     Hon’ble Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Lt. General(R) S. K. Sinha, PVSM

6.     Hon’ble Governor of Karnataka Shri T. N. Chaturvedi

7.     Hon’ble Governor of Mizoram Lt. General (R)  M. M. Lakhera, PVSM

8.     Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu Shri Surjit Singh Barnala

9.     Hon’ble Lt. Governor of Poducherry Shri Muut Mithi

10.  Hon’ble Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Shri Virbhadra Singh

11.  Hon’ble Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad

 Final Formulation

·        It will be built in 500 acres of land.

·        It will accommodate places of worship of Baha’i Faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikh Religion and Zoroastrianism.

·        The compound shall have a common entry to go to all the places of worship.

·        Sufficient space and distance will be kept between the places of worship of different Faiths for ensuring smooth flow of traffic and other logistics.

·        The compound will be developed as the most sacred place of common worship for the followers of all faiths.

·        This will be raised as the most wanted visiting Place of Religious Sanctity for the human civilization.

·        Millions of devotees of different faiths while visiting the compound will socially interact and thus develop a sense of goodwill for each other.

·        The eternal message of the compound is “ Let there be no compulsion in matters of religion and faith and Let there be equal respect for all Religions”

·        The compound’s message to humanity will be, “Love for All and Hatred for None”.

·        This project is the project of humanity and the Foundation will cultivate it in this very spirit.

“The compound will stand as a living legend of inter faith harmony till the Day of Judgment and find worldwide recognition and acclamation as an embodiment, perfecting the concept of global peace, tolerance and harmony.”