No room for ‘forced conversion’ or marriage in Islam, Constitution: Minister Abdul Shakoor

ISLAMABAD, Jan 31 (APP): Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor on Tuesday said there was no room for forced conversion or marriage in Islam and the Constitution.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Religion Change, Problems, Debates and Reality organized by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, here at a local hotel, he said there was a difference between voluntary and forced conversion as the “time has come to clear misconceptions about this particular word – forced conversion”.

The minister said in the past, there had been a lot of negative propaganda regarding forced conversion against Pakistan around the world, adding that a number of people belonging to all religions gathered under one roof to understand each other view points and positions.

He said, there was a dire need to respect all religions to save the society from division adding that through religious cohesion, extremist attitudes could also be addressed in proper manners.

He proposed the participants to avoid extremist behavior towards each other as there was no discrimination from all aspects in the society.

“Allah Almighty in Quran has always addressed the entire humanity, therefore all human beings are equal but we have to prove ourselves superior to others through our character,” Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Abdul Shakoor said.

Special Representative of the Prime Minister on Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, Council of Islamic Ideology Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz, and representatives of different religions expressed their views in the moot.

Sardar Rameshan Singh Arora, Dr Sonu Khangrani, Qari Mohammad Younis, Faqir Shiva Kichchi, Bhaiya Ram Anjum, Haroon Sarap Dayal, Advocate Bhim Singh Chand, Surinder Valsai, Afshan Tahseen Bajwa, Pir Ayub Jan Sirhandi and Abdul Haq Mian Mittho also addressed the occasion.

A number of new convert to Islam men and women were also invited who were accused of forced conversion. Abdul Waris Gul, Ayesha, Saba Kamran, Khansa Abdullah, Chanda Ahmed, Imtiaz Sheikh, Sheikh Hamdan Khalili and Obaidullah Sindhi were among them.

They denied the impression that someone forced them rather held they consciously abandoned their old religions after being inspired by Islamic teachings.

They also said the scholars who made them accepted Islam did not force them but made them believe through several questions.

The speakers praised this unique effort of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony and proposed actions against those elements who were defaming Pakistan on the pretext of false accusations of forced conversion.