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on the Republic Day 2016
Center for Interfaith Understanding: Monograph - 7
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile: 09411995154
Lt. General Zameeruddin Shah (Rtd.)
Assalam Alaikum. Jai Hind.
Pro-Vice Chancellor, Prof Tariq Ahmad, Prof. Masoodul Hasan,
Dr. Bedar, Ladies and gentlemen.
I accept the suggestion of Dr. Masoodul Hasan that the Center
should be called Center for Interfaith Understanding. I think it is a very
valuable suggestion. I think there is a lot in a name; and we accept it.
During this phase of intolerance, Muslims triggered by the axe of
certain intolerant adherents to the faith, ISIS and others, there is a growing
misunderstanding of what Islam stands for. Also, there seems to be a lack
of understanding amongst Muslims about other religions. Aligarh Muslim
University should initiate; we should be the leaders in this phase of
understanding other religions. That is why this Center is so very important.
There is a growing misunderstanding of what Islam stands for. We want to
initiate the process of interfaith dialogue. In these intolerant times, it is the
need of the hour.
I was born in a conservative family, but enlightened people. My
father spent many years in Afghanistan and UK. I was educated in an
Islamic Madrasa. Then I went to a Christian School, where I learned a lot
about Christianity; it too has good points. My father was posted at Ajmer.
We were there for 12 years; so I imbibed the Sufi tradition. I was posted in
a Wahabi country, Saudi Arabia; where I tried to understand what
Wahabism is all about: Puritanism they call it. I understood it well. I spent
my entire life with Hindu Troops. My Mentor was a Jew, General JFR
Jacob. I was his military secretary. I had made several visits to Israel. So I
understood the Jewish faith. What is being projected is the negative points
of various religions: Slow poison. Aligarh Muslim University must take
the lead, in understanding all faiths, and in correcting what Islam is all
about. It is the religion of peace; it is the religion of tolerance. Just study
the Jews. They were decimated all over Europe. But in Islamic countries
they were not ill -treated; they were given full protection.
Let us examine the commonalities and good points of all religions.
There are so many commonalities: except for calling Allah as
Ishwar, Khuda, Yesu or whatever you call him, what difference it makes,
he is the same, the Lord of the Universe. Let us accept that.
We have chosen this very auspicious day for the purpose of today’s
function. In fact Dr. Bedar pushed me: Vice-Chancellor, why not 26th
January itself. I straightaway felt it YES: I said yes. In view of the
importance of this interfaith understanding we have chosen this very very
important day, important to all of us, the Republic Day.
And: let me assure you we will do all we can to encourage interfaith
understanding, interfaith dialogue. We need to project the softer face of
Islam. We need to understand what other religions are all about. There is
good in all religions.
I would like to thank you for sparing your time to come to this very very
important function, thank you, God bless you.
Proposal, Implementation, Tasks ahead
The Proposal, to establish a University Center for
Interfaith Understanding, in the sacred memory of the great
Indian, was considered and discussed in the meeting of the Sir
Syed Bicentenary Organizing Committee on 25 August 2015.
The Committee decided to establish the Center as proposed.
Accordingly a Press Release from the Public Relations Office of
the University was issued on 27th August 2015, which reads: