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Maulana Tariq Jameel and Agha Rahat Hussaini meet for Sunni Shia Muslim unity in Gilgit

The Tablighi Ijtama kicked off in Gilgit on Sunday. According to rough estimates, more than 300,000 people from all over the country are participating in it.
Published: June 11, 2013



GILGIT: The ongoing Tablighi Ijtima in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) has provided an opportunity to bring Sunni and Shia sects closer in a manner the region has never witnessed before.

On Monday, Maulana Tariq Jamil delivered a sermon in the central Shia mosque, preaching peace, tolerance and respect for each other’s beliefs. Jamil is a well-known Deobandi preacher whose religious activities took root in Raiwind, Lahore.

He is one of the few hundred scholars who reached Gilgit from various parts of Pakistan to participate in the Ijtima being held in Gilgit from June 9 to 11. Ijtima is a Sunni religious congregation held over a couple of days, where often hundreds of thousands gather to hear sermons. The one in Gilgit was organised under the banner of the Tablighi Jamaat.

“Differences in beliefs don’t mean people should kill each other, Islam doesn’t allow this,” said Jamil in a speech delivered at the Central Imamia Mosque in Gilgit. He had been invited there by Shia clerics in a move clearly intended to reflect tolerance at some level.

Members of the Masjid Board were also present at the occasion.

The board is a representative body of Shias and Sunnis which was formed after violence on the fractious lines of religion led to imposition of curfew in Gilgit during 2012.

“We are all Muslims therefore we will have to accept this reality (of religious differences). We are here to preach love and respect, and not hatred.” Jamil’s sermon lasted over 30 minutes and urged adherents of each sect to follow the golden principles laid down in the Quran and ahadith.

Top Shia scholar in G-B, Agha Rahat Hussaini reciprocated in a similar fashion, thanking Jamil for accepting his invitation and addressing the congregation at the imambargah.

“We are lucky to have you here among us and it’s a great pleasure listening to you,” said Rahat Hussaini. He hoped the Ijtima would promote peace and love among the residents of G-B.

In turn, Hussaini accepted Tariq Jamil’s invitation to participate in the Ijtima, saying he would be pleased to attend it.

If Hussaini makes it to the Ijtima, it would be the first time in the history of G-B that a Shia intellectual would have participated in a predominantly Sunni congregation.

Earlier on Sunday, two Shia lawmakers – Raziuddin Rizvi and Didar Ali – called on Tariq Jamil at the congregation and asked him to play a role in spreading peace in the region.

The Tablighi Ijtama kicked off in Gilgit on Sunday. According to rough estimates, more than 300,000 people from all over the country are participating in it.

“It’s a rare opportunity for top Sunni and Shia scholars to have demonstrated equally rare respect for each others’ beliefs,” said former advisor to the prime minister Maulana Attaullah Shahab. Shahab is also a senior Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl leader.

In an attempt to avert any untoward incidents, law enforcement agencies stepped up security in the city. However, the gesture of peace from both sects eased the otherwise tense atmosphere of the city in matters related to religion.

Gilgit straddles religious fault lines; back-to-back incidents of sectarian violence marred the region last year.  At least 70 people were killed and many more were injured in different parts of G-B.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2013


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Kristina Yn

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  • Of firsts: Shia delegation attends Tablighi Ijtima
    By Shabbir MirPublished: June 11, 2013
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    At least 70 people died in 2012 in G-B in sectarian violence. PHOTO: FILE
    GILGIT: Shia cleric Agha Rahat Hussaini and 200 adherents set an unforeseen precedent for religious tolerance as they attended a Deobandi scholar’s lecture in a Sunni congregation.
    The Tablighi Ijtima, which started on June 9 in Gilgit, is attended by hundreds of thousands from across the country and is held under the banner of the Tablighi Jamaat, a Sunni organisation. The sermon was delivered by Deobandi preacher Maulana Tariq Jamil.
    Hussaini, who is a top Shia cleric in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), was also accompanied by the general secretary of Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen. The invitation to attend the Ijtima had been extended by Jamil after he addressed a congregation at the Central Imamia mosque on the request of Shia clerics.
    The initiative to promote peace in a region clearly divided along bloody sectarian lines is being widely appreciated by all and is termed as a breakthrough to promote tolerance.
    The Shia delegation reached the Ijtima at approximately 9:30pm on Monday and remained seated there alongside thousands of Sunnis till Jamil ended his speech at about 12:15am.
    “Hats off to Agha Rahat, his team and Tariq Jamil for making the impossible possible,” said Amjad Hussain, a member of the G-B Council. “We couldn’t have imagined such a gesture from either side. This is real change that we are talking about.”
    Earlier in the sermon at the Central Imamia mosque on Monday, Jamil asked people to shun sectarian hatred, pointing out Islam does not allow killing each other over religious differences.
    He continued on similar themes as he addressed the audience at the Ijtimia on Tuesday. “I also request the people of G-B to become role models for the rest of the world.
    At least 70 people died in 2012 in G-B in sectarian violence. Sectarian rifts in Gilgit extend all the way to the upper echelons of religious ranks, where until quite recently clerics were issuing decrees against each other. The government ended up temporarily shutting down the central Sunni and Shia mosques and introduced a code of conduct for the nature and delivery of sermons.
    In May 2012, the G-B Assembly became the first assembly of Pakistan to enact such a code of conduct into a law; violating the code is a punishable offence for clerics.
    Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2013.

    Reader Comments (18)
    Jun 12, 2013 – 12:15PM
    Hats off to both parties for such action. Kudos to Shia Ulema Agha Rahat Hussaini and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen for attending and Mr. Tariq Jamil for extending the invitation. That’s what Pakistan and G.B requires, not hate and violence.

    Jun 12, 2013 – 12:35PM
    Gilgit i teaching us how to live together, well done Gilgit

    Jun 12, 2013 – 12:35PM
    Ground breaking, this effort should be commended. The fact should be highlighted that majority of the Muslims are not hate mongers over sectarian differences.

    Taseer Siddiqui
    Jun 12, 2013 – 2:17PM

    Long Live Shia Sunni Unity
    Jun 12, 2013 – 4:34PM
    Long Live Shia Sunni Unity
    May Allah unite all Shia and Sunni Muslims to work together for great cause. Ameen

    Asad Shairani
    Jun 12, 2013 – 2:27PM
    Good to see some sanity prevailing. Actions of Tariq Jamil, Agha Hussaini and others like them can effect millions instantly, good to see that they are finally putting their influence to good use.

    Jun 12, 2013 – 2:46PM
    I disagree with you, but I do not hate you.

    Not First
    Jun 12, 2013 – 3:01PM
    Dear ET,
    This is not the frist please note in Kohat Tableeghi Markaz many times Shia delegations come to listen to Maulana Tariq Jameel Sb whenever he is there……..
    I really love the Agenda of Tableeghi Jamaat …….love and empathy…….as it can be seen in all the lectures of Tableeghi ULema around the world not only Tariq Jameel………