The world community is celebrating the International Day of Peace on September 21, 2011 today. The Day marks the humanity’s relentless struggle for the establishment of a peaceful, harmonious and just world order. The observance of this Day with traditional fervour across the continents, cultures and geographical boundaries reflects the shared stakes, opportunities and threats faced by the humanity without any discrimination of caste, creed, colour, race and religion. Hence the pursuit of peace becomes a shared goal warranting collective response and dedication. By holding seminars, workshops and other educative programs, the communities, on this day, highlight the importance of peace for socio-economic development and, by doing so, they also pay tribute to the individuals and organizations, which are working hard, day in and day out, to reduce differences and build bridges.
It was in 1981 that the UN General Assembly decided to celebrate the World Peace Day in a resolution sponsored by the United Kingdom devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace. The theme of 2011 namely “Peace and Democracy: Make your voice heard” also calls for concerted actions and employment of partnership approach to strengthen the ideals of peace and harmony in a world torn apart by wars, conflicts, wave of terrorism and extremism, bloodshed, civil strife, instability and chaos.
The right way to commemorate this auspicious day is to reflect on the challenges the world peace is faced with and come up with innovative and creative solutions to make this world a better place for our succeeding generations. The most immediate threats to global peace emanate from religious extremism, radicalism as well as from the menaces of poverty, denial of democratic and political rights and yawning gap between haves and have-nots. Developing a true understanding of nature and interplay of these threats constitutes the first necessary step towards eradicating them.
The goal of peace can be advanced through collaborative approach, which is inclusive and participatory in nature. The fight against extremism and radicalism is basically a battle between ideas, hearts and minds. The tendency to single out people on the basis of their religion, ethnicity, colour and race must end. The adoption of dialogue, accommodation and respect for dissent lays the necessary foundation to empower communities and people to join their forces for the shared wellbeing of humanity. It also means that investments need to be made in areas of fighting poverty, hunger, unemployment, building human resources, enhancing people’s access to education and justice, reducing gender disparities and population growth, ending violence, and putting in place sustainable structures to spearhead dialogue among followers of different cultures and religions. The use of hard power offers little prospect for enduring peace.
Minhaj-ul-Quran International has been engaged in a struggle for establishment of peace in the world since last three decades across the globe. It has initiated practical struggle to expose those extremist and bigoted elements who invoke the fair name of Islam to justify their heinous actions. The hundreds of educational centres, colleges, schools and university are busy imparting education of moderation, tolerance, love and accommodation. It has also put in place a sustainable mechanism to launch interfaith dialogue not only in Pakistan but also across the world with a view to building bridges and bringing people closer. The youths and women happen to be centre of special attention of MQI in this regard.
While celebrating the World Peace Day, we must make a vow to leave no stone unturned to make this world a place worth living. It calls for redoubling of our efforts. Failure in this context is not an option any more.