We will continue to preach peace, unity and tolerance say northeast religious scholars
KUNDUZ - In the northeastern region, religious leaders are countering violent extremism by preaching peace, tolerance and national unity.
During 2018, some religious scholars were advocates and agents of peace, participating in numerous UN-backed events including on television and radio programs rallying communities to join local peace efforts and development programmes.
Leading by example, a group of religious leaders from Badakhshan, Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar preached similar and consistent sermons of peace, unity and tolerance.
“They are still preaching peace in the mosques, on the radio, on television, everywhere,” said an official of the Kunduz Department of Hajj and Religious Affairs, Mawlawi Mohammad Yaqub Sabir.
“My colleagues and I want peace, we will continue preaching peace now and in the future,” Sabir, a religious scholar himself, told UNAMA in a recent interview in Kunduz.
Afghanistan’s religious scholars, known as Ulema, are respected community leaders often exerting influence on the decisions of individuals and communities. Their role in promoting peace and reconciliation has been widely recognized as essential.
Kunduz and surrounding provinces of Badakhshan, Takhar and Baghlan are among the most volatile in Afghanistan.
UNAMA regional office in Kunduz supported a series of peace-building initiatives in 2018 which were broadcast by local media to an estimated audience of 1 million across the region.
UNAMA continues to work with various institutions including religious leaders, provincial councils, community leaders, youth groups, women and local media stations to create platforms using radio, social media and television for Afghans to engage in local dialogues on pressing issues affecting their communities.