EXPRESS TRIBUNE – RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM EXAMINED
Published: Express Tribune – September 19, 2011
By Aroosa Shaukat
Dr Zaheer says blind following discourages intellectual discourse.
LAHORE: The sixteenth lecture of the seminar series, Tracing the Roots of Religious Extremism, at the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS), was delivered by Dr Khalid Zaheer, a religious scholar who has been a teacher for more than 20 years. Dr Zaheer started his talk by describing religious terrorism as a subset of religious extremism. Highlighting the key factors leading up to religious extremism, he identified Taqleed (blind following) as a mechanism to discourage intellectual discourse on religious issues.
According to Dr Zaheer, blind following ultimately creates an environment where an inquisitive approach towards religion is discouraged and frowned upon.
“The endeavour to achieve religious understanding is to attain truth. This course in turn leads to faith and contentment that comes from believing in something that is true,” Dr Zaheer said.
The lectures, delivered in Urdu, have been recorded and efforts are underway to make them available online on the IPSS website. The lectures broadly cover religious extremism in curriculum, growing intolerance in society, rise of jihad and the concept of state in Islam. Talking about the objective of holding these seminars, IPSS chairperson Saeeda Diep said in the wake of religious extremism taking its toll on Pakistani society, there was a dire need to address the issue by trying to understand the dynamics of religious extremism.