Increasing Religious Understanding and Respect an Urgent Requirement: British Dy. High Commissioner Andrew McAllister
By Syed Khaled Shahbaaz
Hyderabad: “The Indian Constitution does not conflict with the Islamic Jurisprudence. There are equal rights to every religion in the Indian constitution”, said Mr. A.K.Khan, Advisor – Minority Welfare Department, Government of Telangana State.
Speaking as the Chief Guest during a conference on “Empowering Young Global Citizens” organized as part of bilateral programme by the British Deputy High Commission at Hotel Park Hyatt in Hyderabadon Thursday (9th February), Mr. Khan said, ‘Minorities in particular have special priorities in the Constitution.’ But education and skills must be the primary means of embracing opportunities, he added.
Organized as part of bilateral engagements in Hyderabad by the British High Commission and Islamic research seminary Al Mahadul Aali Al Islami, the conference marked conclusion of a series of workshops with the partnership of MS Education Academy and social welfare organization ‘Rubaroo’aimed at empowering the Muslim youth and help them develop essential skills to effect positive change in their lives.
In his welcome address, British Dy. High Commissioner in Hyderabad Andrew McAllister said the purpose of this conference was “to tackle the concerns of individuals and communities affected by discrimination. The objective was to offer a constructive alternative, of empowered civic engagement, to the siren calls of cynics or those who play on division to plant extremist ideology.”
The Dy. High Commissioner emphasized at “building friendships across religious divides” and ‘creating trust that’s important to resolve local disputes, overcome suspicion and defeat intolerance.”
Speaking on the occasion, Syed Omer Jaleel, Secretary – Minority Welfare Department, Government of Telangana assured to promote the project at school level, and ensuring that the curriculum and other teaching materials developed at the justconcluded workshops a part of academic curriculum at school level.
The program was followed by a panel discussion on “Empowerment of Muslim youth” with Ms. Anjum Babukhan, Director Springfields School; Father Packiam Samuel, Director, Henry Martin Institute and an Islamic Scholar. Dr. Sita Murthy of Silver Oaks School also participated.
Earlier, a handbook titled ‘Young Muslim and Global Citizen’ was released and made available as open source material to be downloaded and adopted by other institutions. Founder-Director MS Education Academy Mohammed Lateef Khan, Dy. Director Syed Misbahuddin, Chairman – Minority Commission Abid Rasool Khan, Director Rubaroo Neha Swian, Zafar Javeed, General Secretary – FTAPMEI, Asad Mirza, Media Advisor – British High Commission, New Delhi and heads of various educational institutions were also present on this occasion.
Mr. Mirza said that “the curriculum and other study material developed by Rubaroo will be used in other outreach activities of the High Commission in other cities. He further stressed the need to inculcate understanding of other religions amongst school going kids as they are at an age at which whatever they learn now will stick with them in the future also, besides shaping their personality.”
[Syed Khaled Shahbaaz is a techie-turned-journalist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or +91-9652828710]