Afternoon Talk on Accepting Difference

“Efforts to engage and understand ‘the other’ (without compromising one’s own faith) is absolutely necessary in this fractured world. Peace is what all the great religions teach; but humankind, with all our worldly distractions and imperfections, has yet to achieve in our shared world. ”

 

Rumi Forum, an academic and cultural peaceful coexistence platform across Pakistan, hosted an exclusive afternoon talk by Dr. Amineh A. Hoti, Executive Director, Markaz-e-Ilm Center for Dialogue and Action on March 25, 2016 in Islamabad.

 

Welcoming the audience, Mr. Mustafa Yilmaz, Director Islamabad Chapter of Rumi Forum introduced the Rumi Forum and its activities since 2006 to foster academic and information exchange and promote peace and harmony.

 

Mr. Suat Erguvan, Executive President of Rumi Forum expressed that there are human universals that bind us transcendently and encourage us to stay in touch. He added, “In the words of Jalaluddin Rumi, each of us are like a pair of compasses. We drive our needles deep into our own faith and values constructively, and we turn around meeting everyone. Accepting people as they are is one of the essential and golden rules to peaceful coexistence.”

 

Dr. Amineh Hoti started her afternoon talk by a brief screening of the documentary “Sowing the Seeds of Peace”. The documentary eloquently explores the avenues of intercultural and interpersonal dialogue and how acceptance of various cultures may bring social and religious harmony. Dr. Amineh Hoti, as a key member of the research and film production team, provided her insights with a special focus on youth and the importance of accepting differences in the documentary.

 

Talking on theme of ‘Accepting Difference: Uncovering a Culture of Diversity”, Dr. Hoti expressed that the misconstruction or suspicion of ‘the other’ is one of the reasons which increases conflict, both in Pakistan and at the global level. She added, “The solution to this lies in educating ourselves about how to be peacemakers as well as peacekeepers. Through this, we can foster the promotion of mutual respect and transform mistrust of ‘the other’ into positivity and learn from and listening to the ‘the other’ (ilm), leading to respect and empathy (adb) and finally towards the humanity (insaniyaat) in others, irrespective of their ethnicity, faith, language, and culture.