AIGARH: To mark the bicentenary celebrations of the birth of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 2017, Aligarh Muslim University has opened Centre for Interfaith Understanding to foster a culture of liberal views and tolerance. The centre was inaugurated on Republic Day at Sir Syed Academy in the university.
Addressing the guests, vice-chancellor Lt Gen (Retd) Zameer Uddin Shah said that this was a step in the right direction towards fulfill Sir Syed’s dream of making society more tolerant and liberal. “AMU should take the initiative to promote interfaith dialogue. This centre will examine the commonality of all religion to encourage understanding between all major religions,” Shah said.
On the occasion, suggestions from AMU alumni and teachers were taken on activities at the centre and how it could evolve over time. The people present gave their views on having literature from all religions, teaching a Sufi course, reciting works of Kabir and Tulsidas as well as inviting people from all faiths to deliver lectures and papers.
Delivering a lecture on the need for the inter-faith centre, Masoodul Hasan, former chairman of the department of English said, “Sir Syed Ahmad Khan believed in having an ethical and pragmatic approach, and one of the main pursuits of his was to bring together distanced communities, respecting tenets of each other’s faiths.” He pointed out that Khan wrote Tab’eenul Kalam, an important work on comparative religion in the post-1857 era.
Abid Raza Bedar, former director, Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna said the best way to celebrate the birth bicentenary of the AMU founder is to have a centre for creating interfaith understanding among Indian religions. “This is the beginning. A platform has been created and it will mature with the passage of time,” said Rahat Abrar, PRO of the university.
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