Altaf Hamid Rao;
MIRPUR (AJK): The world-fame scholar Dr. Akbar Ahmed, Ibn-e-Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington and the Former High Commissioner of Pakistan to the United Kingdom and Ireland yesterday visited the state-run Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST), Mirpur.
Prof. Dr. Habib-ur-Rehman, Vice Chancellor of the MUST received him and had a brief meeting with him before his lecture. He received standing ovation on entering the seminar hall. The faculty members and students of the university warmly welcomed him.
The Director Students Affairs (DSA) introduced the speaker. He mentioned his achievements and contributions in promoting true image of Islam and addressing the questions about Islam and Muslim in the west. We are proud of him, as he served the nation in many capacities in Civil Service; as Ambassador of the country and now serving as Ambassador of Islam. His services brought good name to Pakistan, Islam and Muslim. The DSA of the university presented details of his achievements and contributions as Muslim Scholar and for interfaith harmony and promoting dialogue and real image of Islam.
Before lecture, the movie titled “Journey into Europe” was played; the participants viewed the movie with great interest. It is worth mentioning that Dr. Akbar Ahmed author of many books include his famous book on Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan. He is also producer of the famous film “Jinnah”. The Deans/ Directors/ Chairpersons/ Faculty members and large number of students of the university including the students of the Institute of Islamic Studies attended the lecture.
Prof. Dr. Habib-ur-Rehman, Vice Chancellor MUST welcomed Dr. Akbar Ahmed in the university and thanked him for sparing time for paying visit and delivering lecture on “Clash of Civilizations – Role of Muslims in the West”. He said person like Dr. Akbar Ahmed is a true representative of Islam and Muslim. He acknowledged his contribution on promoting real Islam and its teaching. He is indeed blessing for our society and the world at large as, he is working to promote true image and understanding about Islam and Muslims. Mentioning his contributions for promoting peace, harmony and true image of Islam and Muslims in the US and across Europe, the Vice Chancellor said that “Dr. Ahmed is indeed blessing and an asset to the world”. He observed that the faculty members and students of the university particularly, the students of the Institute of Islamic Studies listened the lecture with interest. He also observed pin drop silence in the hall throughout the lecture and termed the lecture as informative and important.
Addressing the participants of the seminar, Dr. Akbar Ahmed thanked the Vice Chancellor for extending warm welcome to him and organizing his lecture on Clash of Civilizations – Role of Muslims in the West particularly. He also thanked the President of Azad Jammu Kashmir / Chancellor of the university Sardar Masood Khan for extending invitation to him for visiting the university. He termed the opportunity as great and important for understanding and promoting immortal teaching of Islam. He showed serious concern on education system and its quality in the country. Reforms in the education system are badly needed. If we wish to progress, we must improve the system and the quality. The education budget in the Muslim world including Pakistan is too low; they cannot develop without increasing the budget. Muslim should believe in the importance of education; develop interest in research. We should make environment of the institutions conducive to learning and promote research. Muslim should contribute in the peace and welfare of humanity and become useful citizen of the global village. Humanity should be our foremost priority. Muslim should develop interest in education and research and spend more on it to regain the past glory we cherish even today. We should get lesson from past as it is gone no more valid and worried about future as it would come. He called upon faculty of the Institute of Islamic Studies to accept the challenge of building true image of Muslims and promote Islam as religion of peace and tranquility. He called upon students to think and practice Islam and promote the same. He emphasized the need of addressing the question being raised on Islam and Muslims throughout the world. Muslims should accept the challenge and tell the world about true Islam and its immortal teaching. Particularly, he urge the scholars to promote the human values of highest level and teaching of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Our Prophet always respected and care humanity and proved blessing for the mankind, he added. He quoted many saying of the Holy Prophet about respecting women and particularly non-muslims.
Our country’s youth should defend their religion and civilization, he emphasized. We need to promote dialogue and work for interfaith harmony. The university is best place to publish scholarly work on interfaith harmony. Quoting the example of Quaid-e-Azam, he called upon students to follow his teaching and learn how he achieved independence for the Muslims of the subcontinent with dignity and honour.
The faculty members and students actively participated in the Question-Answer Session. They acknowledged the services of Dr. Ahmed for promoting right image of Islam. The participants put up intelligent questions. The female students were very active in putting up questions and took keen interest in the lecture. He also urge the female faculty and students for actively engaging in promoting the real teaching of Islam and be careful about the propaganda about the Islam and Muslim. They should come forward, use social media that Muslims believe in peace and respect for each other’s point of view and independence of thought and opinion, he maintained.
Private Secretary to Hon’ble President of AJK Mr. Attiq-ur-Rehman also participated in the question/ answer session and quoted the Hon’ble Muhammad Masood Khan, President/ Chancellor of the University as saying that “I say it without any exaggeration that no one in Pakistan and in whole Muslim World matches the stature of Dr. Akbar Ahmed. He is such a learnt and incredible scholar that we feel proud of him.
At the end, Dr. Tahir Aslam, Director, Institute of Islamic Studies offered vote of thanks. He thanked Dr. Akbar Ahmed for his enlightened lecture and termed it as informative. The students must have enjoyed the lecture and learned many aspects of the issue and the challenges muslims have been facing across USA and Europe. He invited Dr. Akbar Ahmed for developing collaboration with the Institute.
Later, Dr. Akbar Ahmed attended the reception hosted in his honor by the university. During the reception, he discussed future collaboration between his university and the MUST including exchange of faculty and joint research products.