In this issue, we highlight the story of Nadeem Abbas, a prominent Shia religious leader and Ph.D. scholar who graduated from the PEF Interfaith program. He recently shared with us his feedback about the workshops and the impact it had on him.
“Previously, I used to serve my community and sect only since I was completely oblivious to the significance of inter and intra faith harmony. However, when I attended the PEF Interfaith Training workshop, my first interaction was with Hindu and Christian leaders. This workshop was designed to help us go beyond our comfort zone and to get to know each other on a personal level. During this entire process, we became well acquainted with each other’s religions and the values that were deeply embedded in our respective faiths. This activity enabled us to develop strong relationships”.
Following the workshop, Abbas invited the Jamia Salafia students, who represent the Salafi school of thought, to his own madrasah, Jamia tul Kausar in Islamabad, which is only walking distance away. He also became good friends with people from that madrasah and exchanged gifts with them as a gesture of good will, as well as to promote the message of peace, harmony and friendship. The workshops are an opportunity for leaders to meet each other for the first time in the hopes of building interfaith relationships and networking in the future. In one occasion, Abbas invited a Hindu leader to attend a peace conference in his area. During the conference, the Hindu leader delivered a memorable speech on the true journey of Imam Hussain’s life—which surprised the community. They respected the Hindu leader for acknowledging and appreciating Imam Hussain’s exemplary life.
His efforts did not end there. Many renowned TV news and media channels in Pakistan, such as Geo, Hadi, Roz and Hidayat, have invited him to speak on pressing religious issues. He’s also written several articles centered on peace, education and humanity by using examples from the history of Islam.
“Rather than working for one particular school of thought, I want my initiative to work for all of humanity,”
said Abbas as he reflected on his personal transformation.
Following is a list of articles written and published by him in the newspapers Shia News and Islam Times.
- “Take care of the oppressed people in your neighborhood”
- “Core objective of Hazrat Imam Hussain movement to sustain Islam and promote humanity”
- “Value of teacher (nation builder) for students”
- “Counter narrative is more essential than military operation (Zarb-e-Azab)”
- “Murder of humanity”
- “Killing of a Teacher (nation builder)”
- “Attack on Church a cruelty, lynching a human being another cruelty”