International Sufi Conference in Kashmir Promotes Peace and Interfaith Understanding

The Voice for Peace and Justice, a Non-Governmental Organization, orchestrated the second International Conference titled “Towards the Transformation: The Sufi Message of Brotherhood, Harmony, and Peace” at the Khaliqa Town Square Conference Hall in Duderhama, Ganderbal, Kashmir. This significant gathering, the second of its kind in Jammu and Kashmir, India, convened scholars and religious experts from over sixteen countries, fostering a vibrant mosaic of cultures and beliefs.

Farooq Ganderbali, the esteemed Social Activist and organizer serving as President of Voice for Peace and Justice, set the conference’s tone, emphasizing its pivotal role as a beacon of peace and brotherhood in the Kashmir Valley. With the aim to dispel misconceptions surrounding radicalism and to reaffirm Kashmir’s enduring Sufi heritage, renowned for its message of tolerance and inclusivity.

A notable feature of the conference was the diverse assembly of religious scholars representing various faiths, including Sikhism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism. This inclusive approach underscored Kashmir’s cultural richness and pluralistic ethos, with Kashmiri Pandits also participating, symbolizing the region’s unity amidst diversity.

The distinguished chief guests, Sheikh Esref Efendi, Global Peace Ambassador of Turkey, and Syeed Javed Ali Naqashbandi, Director of Darbar Ahli Sunnet Delhi, underscored the pivotal role of interfaith dialogue in fostering enduring peace and understanding.

Satish Mahaldar, a prominent Kashmiri Pandit, expressed optimism regarding the conference’s potential to promote harmony, while Islamic scholars from nine countries, including Germany, Turkey, and France, stressed the importance of multiculturalism and tolerance in today’s global landscape.

The conference culminated with speakers and religious leaders charting a course for peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies. Shaheryar Majid, President of JKYDF, highlighted the significance of multiculturalism in nurturing peace, while Mr. Chinshu, a Buddhist law student, underscored the historical legacy of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir in promoting interfaith tolerance.

Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, Prof Manzoor Tantary, Advocate Mohd Altaf, and Advocate Jatinder Singh also made valuable contributions, advocating for peace and inclusivity in the region.

Participants from diverse countries and religious backgrounds pledged to collectively combat extremism, radicalism, terrorism, and narco-terrorism while working towards peace and the revival of Sufism worldwide, especially in the terrorism-affected Jammu and Kashmir. Participants also lauded the successive Indian governments for ensuring religious freedom for all faiths, including Islam, contrasting it with neighboring Islamic countries where minority communities face persecution.

The International Sufi Conference serves as a testament to the concerted efforts to promote peace, harmony, and cultural exchange in Jammu and Kashmir. It illuminates the region’s rich history of interfaith tolerance and inclusivity, offering hope for a more united and peaceful future.

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