July 2020
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A. Sajid: Multiculturalism and the European Union

As a chairman of the European Union Task Force for Intercultural Dialogue, I have been working very closely with the 27 countries of the European Union during the past three to four years. I can confirm that the European Union has achieved three major things in the past:

First and foremost, it has become an economic union among different nations who in the past century were archenemies, fighting each other tooth and nail. But in past 60 years or so, the European Union has shown that where there are differences, a solution can be found among fighting parties who are motivated to do so.

Apart from an economic union, they rose above their political differences and brought together various parties on a political level around a vision for the future. A new paradigm or new direction — that is where our world, society, and Europe are going. They applied the principles of cooperation, partnership, and working together. This has not been completely achieved in terms of cementing one united state, but there has been progress in that direction. I’m sure in our lifetime that will be achieved, and a foundation has been laid for it.

Third and most importantly is a moral dimension, to which I and people like you and many others are contributing. People, God’s creation, have a potential to create something in this world. The missing dimension in our daily life — politically or economically — is the moral dimension.

Interfaith has become a popular word. Twenty years ago nobody was talking about it, but it has become a catchphrase of this decade. Since this is the Year of Intercultural Dialogue in Europe, promoting morality and interfaith work — the spiritual dimension — will strengthen our economic and political dimensions.

It is good to see different faith communities coming together to communicate and learn from each other, building cooperation and partnership on many levels. But I dislike the weakness of the word "tolerance." We need to accept and recognize each other as we are. Diversity among human beings is God-given, not our creation. Different colors, different languages, different cultures, different nations, different tribes, different countries exist as a fact of life. God commands us to recognize, appreciate, and value this diversity and work to resolve these differences amicably, humanely, without violence, and without any force. That is what is required of this movement towards interfaith cooperation.  

The prerequisite is that we must move from engaging in wishful thinking about peaceful coexistence to working together for commonality. The differences will not vanish in a day. Let’s not deal with our differences, but let us devote our energy as a positive force toward building the world that we want to see.

Working as one human race, as one family under the guidance of one God, will lead us to the future that we all long for.

Let’s try not only to tolerate each other but also to accept each other. The Global Peace Festival brings millions of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds together because we all are one human race. We all are one family, and we need to respect each other’s diversity in the vision of God Almighty, which is that we resolve our difficulties and differences amicably. The festival brings hope and joy to the people who come together so that they can appreciate, value, and learn from each other, and start working together for the common good.

I’m the father of five beautiful children and three grandchildren. The Festival brings my family hope and joy; it also motivates us to work together for lasting peace internally in our hearts and externally in our neighborhoods to bring cohesive and everlasting peace.

Youth is the future, and the Global Peace Festival concentrates on the future generation. The Global Peace Festival is motivating young people to serve others. If we can motivate young people to care for others and serve others above themselves, selflessly, then something can be achieved in our lifetime.