Cleries` exchange with S. Arabia proposed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are negotiating an agreement for the exchange of preachers and clerics.

`We are working on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which Saudi ulema would visit Pakistan and our ulema could travel to the kingdom for religious purposes,` Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Muhammad Yousaf toldDawn after inaugurating a seminar on inter-faith harmony here on Wednesday.

According to an official of the International Islamic University, the Saudi authorities are also planning to set up a Pakistan-Saudi friendship centre at the institution.

The centre will focus on religious education.

Negotiations on the MoU for exchange of clerics were launched during the recent visit to the coun-try by Saudi Religious Affairs Minister Sheikh Saleh bin Abdul Aziz.

Next to come is Imam-i-Kaaba Sheikh Khalid al Ghamdi, who is arriving here on Thursday.

`I too came to know about the Imam-i-Kaaba`s visit just yesterday.

He is a respected figure and our doors remain open for him,` Mr Yousaf said in reply to a question.

Speaking at the conference, theminister stressed the need for religious harmony.

Dr Tughral Yamin, who heads the Centre for International Peace and Stability at the National University of Science and Technology, proposed that teachers should be trained to be neutral and unbiased in opinion, hate material purged from textbooks and the media and the syllabus designed in a manner that discouraged cliches.

Published in Dawn