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FIrst IRF Religious Freedom Roundtable Held in Lahore

Interfaith leaders, human rights activists, lawyers, and civil society join the IRF Roundtable Chair for Pakistan in Lahore

LAHORE, PUNJAB, PAKISTAN, January 9, 2023 / -- The first ever IRF Roundtable was help in the historic city of Lahore, Punjab on January 7th, 2023. The Roundtable was hosted at the Peace Center which has become a haven for peacemakers and interfaith leaders. IRF Roundtable chair for Pakistan, Ms. Anila Ali, and Wagma Feroze, IRF co-chair Peshawar, Zain Malik, IRF co-chair Lahore, were given a warm welcome by Father James Channan OP and his team at the Peace Center.

The IRF Roundtable was attended by Pandit Baghat Lal Khokhar, Hindu faith leader, Sardar Bisan Singh from the Sikh community, Munawar Jan from the Bahaii community, and ulemas, Mufti Ashiq Hussain, Allama Asghar Arif Chisti, Allam Kazim Raza Naqvi, Allam Zubair Abid, Pir Mudassir Hussain Shah, all hailing from different schools of thought, including Barelvi, Deobandi, Sufi, and Shia community. Istiaq Chaudhry, Head of the Supreme Human Rights Council of Pakistan, Dr. Sadia Omer, Ms. Fauzia Ameer, Sister Jennifer, and many other women activists & human rights activists participated. Additionally, IRF Roundtable was also attended by members of political parties, including PML N and PTI.

Father James Channan and Reverend Marcus Fida, Mr. Ishtiaq Chaudhry held important discussions with Ms. Ali and IRF team.

"What Father James and the Christian leaders are doing reminds me of what we did in America after 9/11. We built bridges of love and interfaith harmony which not only strengthened us as Muslims and it strengthened America. His work in resolving issues that could potentially be used to create religious divides is supremely important. I commend the Muslim clerics who are joining his work to build interfaith and intrareligious harmony."

Ms. Ali thanked the participants and shared her desire to increase exchange between faith leaders in Pakistan and America and the West.

"By having exchanges of idea, best practices we will build a coalition of global leaders who will stand up for the unity and protection of all people of faith. Like, Allama Kazim Raza Naqvi said, we must revive the message peace of Issa Alay Salam," added Ms. Ali.

Earlier in the morning, Ms. Ali and the IRF Roundtable Pakistan team met with esteemed Maulana Syed Abdul Qadir Azad in Lahore.

IRf Roundtables are sponsored by the American Muslim and Multifiath Women's Empowerment Council, a non-profit organization run by Pakistani American and interfaith women to promote women's voices , build bridges with faith communities, promote religious freedom and women's rights in Islam.

Anila Ali
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