Youth network in Peshawar encourages religious harmony

By Danish Yousafzai


Ishtiaq Ahmad, a trainer with Khwendo Kor, lectures on religious harmony and peace to members of District Social Harmony Network November 18 in Peshawar during an interactive training workshop. [Danish Yousafzai]

PESHAWAR -- With Pakistan long affected by religious strife, Khwendo Kor (KK), a non-profit welfare organisation working for the betterment of Pashtun society, hosts workshops in Peshawar to promote religious harmony and tolerance.

KK, or "Sisters' Home", organises training workshops and seminars to bring together young members of different religions, including Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs, to develop an environment of brotherhood and camaraderie.

"We learned what is conflict and how to solve it. The experts taught us that we can avoid religious conflicts through good behaviour and communication," Shamoon Masih, a local resident from the Christian community, told Pakistan Forward.

"We have built strong bonds with Muslims; we share joy and sweet moments with each other," he said. "This is brotherhood and religious harmony. This is what we learned here."

The Bible directs everyone to take good care of neighbours and to spread love, he added.

Promoting peace

In addition to other initiatives, KK has formed a network of youth from various religious backgrounds working to protect the rights of minorities and to promote religious harmony and peace in society.

"With the support of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government, religious scholars and minority members, we established the District Social Harmony Network (DSHN) to empower minorities and to advance societal peace," Subhan Ali, a KK project co-ordinator, told Pakistan Forward.

"The goal of the network is to train and educate youth across different communities to work together for a better and peaceful future," he explained.

For now, DSHN is active only in Peshawar, KP's provincial capital, with plans to expand to other parts of Pakistan.

"KK provides education to youth from different religions and helps them develop a peaceful and healthy community," Ali said.

Youth from the Hindu, Christian and Sikh communities are active participants in the network, he noted.

DSHN identifies the issues and problems of minorities and advances them to concerned officials, Ali said, adding that the network also suggests potential solutions to authorities for quick action.

Peace, social cohesion and religious tolerance are the main themes of KK training workshops, he added.

Spreading happiness

Manmeet Kaur, a Sikh from Peshawar and a DSHN member, told Pakistan Forward that she values the role women play in promoting peace and harmony in any society.

"An educated mother leads to a civilised generation," she said. "If we want to spread love, peace and interfaith harmony in our society, then we must train our females because they are the first school for our children."

She praised KK's training workshops, adding that they are in line with her religious beliefs, which teach brotherhood and good relations with those belonging to other faiths.

"Be positive, and try to associate your happiness with others," Kaur noted. "I think this the best way to spread happiness and avoid conflicts."

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