US embassy hosts discussion on religion, politics, media

Institute of Religion and Civic Values

KARACHI: The founder and CEO of US-based non-profit organisation, Institute of Religion and Civic Values, Shabbir Mansuri presented his theory of ‘Ismailea Nishat Paradigm,’ focusing on the viewpoint that Muslims, Jews and Christians all were indeed the progeny of divine messenger, Hazrat Ismail (AS).

Mansuri talked about the paradigm at a media roundtable discussion entitled ‘Religion, Media and Politics in United States,’ hosted by the US Consulate General in Karachi at a local hotel Saturday evening.Speaking on the occasion, Mansuri said that although in post 9/11 scenario, anti-Muslim sentiments and behaviour prevailed at public squares however in policy making forums and intellectual mediums, there was a very balanced vision for Islam and Muslims.

He was of the view that to present itself as inclusive, instead of adopting an exclusive identity was need of the hour for Muslims. He said that he intended to promote ‘Ismailia Neshat Paradigm’ which suggested that believers of all divine religions including Muslims, Jews and Christians should come close, pursuing the historical reality that prophets in which Muslims, Christians and Jews trust were progeny of the divine messenger, Hazrat Ismail (AS). To him, this was a divine design and the only way following which all faithful could live with harmony and tolerance.

To a question, he said that historical realities of prolonged religious wars were the core reasons behind conflicts between different religions.Mansuri said that there was no anti-Muslim policy in the US. He presented several examples in which state forces and authorities saved Muslims in the US. He added that though some people including politicians, society representatives and religious clerics gave provoking statements in context of 9/11 tragedy, separate viewpoints prevail in all segments even in same school of thoughts. He further said that institutional laws were also present to protect individuals’ rights, adding that there were several examples of an individual being faced with religious discrimination winning lawsuits of millions of dollars.

He said that people in the US were moving towards Islam, adding that presenting an example that at a religious institute, 500 seminaries were willing to read about Islam before further studies to become a religious cleric. He termed the situation as a shift in the society and stressed the need for a shift among Muslim community for other religions as he claimed that as per divine design Muslims are responsible to believe in all the prophets, while others including Christians and Jews are not supposed to accept others.

Responding to a question about the viewpoint that Muslims were being suppressed in the US and institutions with massive investments were active in converting Muslims into Christians, he said that like other religions, various Christian religious organisations were busy attracting people towards Christianity.He also talked about misperceptions about religions particularly Islam and presented an example of textbook of 6th grade, in which wrong information about Islam and other religions were provided. He said that he noted the fault in the book of his son, took notice and managed to draw the attention of authorities and finally the issue was resolved.

Earlier US Consulate Karachi Public Affairs Officer Amanda Caldwell introduced Mansuri and said that the consulate invited Mansuri to provide local media persons and an independent scholar from the US to discuss the topic so as to get information and share view points. – Dailytimes