Lahore: In a Panel Discussion, organized by the University of Okara, the academicians, senior journalists and Vice Chancellors of various universities discussed different aspects and causes of increasing anti-Islam sentiments in the western societies and stressed the need to conduct scientific research that could guide policy making to counter Islamophobia.
In his welcome note, the UO’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr Muhammad Zakria Zakar, argued that Islamophobia was no more a religious phenomenon, rather it had become a global political matter. Highlighting the causes of Islamophobia, he said, “The Islamophobia is trigged by the recession of pluralism, democratic norms and principals of equality”. The Chairman, Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC), Prof. Dr. Fazal Ahmed Khalid, in his keynote speech, told that Islamic countries were facing many hurdles at the global level and in order to overcome those, we needed to b united.Senior Journalist, Mujeeb Ur Rehman Shami, maintained that before we resort to counter Islamophobia, we needed to sort out our local and national issues.
Former Chairman PHEC, Dr Nizam U Din said that understanding extremist should have been the core point in order to counter Islamophobia.Senior analyst, Salman Ghani, told, “To count Islamophobia, we need to strengthen our education system first. “Moving towards the ideals of the western democracy is making us more fragile and disoriented. We should develop our discourses and narratives”, said the Vice Chancellor, Government College University Lahore, Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi.”The Pro Vice Chancellor of University of the Punjab, Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar, told, “We should establish digital libraries at every locality so that our youth could read more and participate in the global discourses actively”.The other speakers including Prof Dr Javaid Akram, Vice Chancellor University of Health Sciences, Prof Dr Shahid Munir, Vice Chancellor University of Jhang, Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha, Vice Chancellor University of Education, Prof Dr Muhammad Tufail, Vice Chancellor Ghazi University, Prof Dr Amir Ijaz, Vice Chancellor University of Engineering & Technology Multan, Prof Dr Zia Ul Qayyum, Vice Chancellor Allama Iqbal Open University, Prof Dr Rauf e Amaz, Former Vice Chancellor UE, Engr. Prof Dr Athar Mahboob, Vice Chancellor Islamia University Bahawalpur and Prof Dr Noshina Saleem, renowned religious scholar, Dr Raghib Naeemi and Director School of Communication Studies at Punjab University emphasized on taking this debate to all academic circles and publishing a white paper that could guide the policy making circles.