Islam never encourages forced conversion of followers of other religions: Abdul Shakoor

ISLAMABAD, Aug 10 (APP): Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor has said Islam is a religion that respects humanity.

He, in a message on the occasion of National Minorities Day, said according to the eternal teachings of Islam, there was no rule against the basic principles of humanity. Like the major sections of the society, the minorities also have full rights in this society as Pakistani citizens, which need to be highlighted, he added.

The minister said for this purpose, the government had officially declared August 11 as ‘Minorities Day’ to promote inter-faith harmony across the country and it had been celebrated to educate the future generations about its importance.

He said being an Islamic country, the government was fully committed to protecting the fundamental rights of the minorities living in it, which were guaranteed by the Constitution and the prevailing laws of the country.

He said the country will be on the path of prosperity by providing ample opportunities for inclusion of the minority communities in every sphere of life.

“Islam preaches the Oneness of Allah Almighty and it never encourages forced conversion of followers of other religions/beliefs.”

Abdul Shakoor said according to a fundamental principle of Islam “there is no coercion in Islam.”

Moreover, he said: “The Islamic state has nothing to do with the faith and worship of minorities. Shariah allows non-Muslims to freely practice their religion. The Muslim Ummah does not interfere in their belief and worship.”

The personal affairs of minorities are also determined according to law, Islamic law will not be imposed on them, the minister said, adding that minorities should get all the rights that an ideal society offered.

He said change always started by changing oneself. “Society will not change until our attitudes change. Society is made up of people, it has to change.”

He asked the nation to take a pledge on this day that “we will play our full role for peace and development in the society. We will establish a peaceful society by promoting the ideology of Quaid-i-Azam and Islamic teachings.”

“This day gives us an opportunity to spread the message of peace and harmony to people by promoting religious freedom. The world will have to believe that Pakistan is a peace-loving and minority-friendly country,” he maintained.