With the Karnataka assembly election campaign picking up, an inter-religious faith conclave was organised here last evening.
It was attended by spiritual leaders, politicians and intelligentsia. The aim of the conclave was to foster and promote the spirit of patriotism, communal harmony and national integration among citizens. Its focus was to make a call to all sections of society not to exploit religious sentiments for political capital or advantage in the run-up to the election.
The conclave unanimously pledged that only through education and skill development can fraternity be promoted among religions and people could become immune to political rhetoric.
The conclave was organised under the banner of Ilm-o-Hunar, an organisation that seeks to educate and skill develop underprivileged sections of society.
Noted Islamic scholar and Chairman of the Ilm-o-Hunar Foundation Mufti Manzoor Ziayee said ueday, "A nation-wide movement is being launched from Bengaluru today which is called 'Ilm-o-Hunar' (education and skills). Every religion wants the development of India. We need education and development of skills to take the country forward. Only education and skill development can alter the prevailing vitiated political atmosphere. I exhort people to overcome the power of hatred and not to vote in the name of religion or caste."
Jain Dharm-Guru Acharya Lokesh Mani said "Why can't leaders of different faiths work together? We need to visit every state where elections are taking place to dispel the atmosphere of hatred among societies on the basis or religion, caste and community. We should work like a bridge to make amend of this negative attitude and put stop of polarization in the country. This can only achieved through education and awareness."
Maulana Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, an Imam, called upon religious leaders to work towards communal amity.
He said, "Leaders of different religions and sects are assembled here in Bangalore is very encouraging and significant development. Our religious faiths can be different but everyone is equal and citizen of India. The group of interfaith religious leaders is a brigade which will work like fire brigade which will extinguish hatred based on religion."
Mahila Empowerment Party President Dr. Nowhera Shaikh said, "Humanity is the only religion...we must respect the spirit of Indian Constitution which calls upon being secular. If a Muslim fights on the name of its religion Islam he is communal, if a Hindu fights on the basis of Hinduism, he is also communal. Those who believe in humanity is real secular. We must keep in mind before making up our mind."
Poet and Aam Aadami Party leader Kumar Vishwash said that "I am lucky to get a chance to participate in an amazing summit which is very relevant in terms of country's prevailing atmosphere where leaders from different religious faiths, intellectuals, educationists, policymakers and politicians assembled to talk about imparting education and skill development to the youths aims at communal harmony is a welcome start. This is the need of the hour."
The other religious leaders attending the event included Dr Acharya Lokesh Mani, President Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti, Acharya Pramod Kishnam, President, Bhartia Sant Smiti, Paramjit Singh Chandhok, Member Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Mamgement Committee, Father Michael, St Peace Mumbai, Congress leader and former Union Railways Minister C K Jafar Sharif, Congress leader and cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin and AIMIM leader and MLA Waris Pathan.