Somaiya Grounds in Sion is all set to host a ten-day International Islamic Peace Conference starting this Friday.
More than 30 Islamic scholars from around the world will present papers and hold discussions on various facets of Islam. The annual conference, an initiative started by Mumbai’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) three years ago, is expecting to attract more than three lakh people each day.
The theme of the conference is ‘Peace, the Solution for Humanity’, and aims to spread awareness and clear misconceptions about Islam. Stressing the importance of such peace initiatives, IRF’s research manager, Dr. Shoaib Sayyed, said, “Earlier, people would raise questions about the position of women in Islam. But today, the first question asked is about Islam and terrorism.”
The IRF has set up a large air-conditioned, makeshift auditorium at Somaiya Grounds for the two morning sessions, while the evening session will be in the open. The event will include an exhibition of Islamic art and international artistes performing Nasheed, a form of permissible Islamic music.
The biggest crowd puller in the past has been Dr. Zakir Naik, a globally renowned Islamic orator and IRF’s director. This year he will speak about women’s rights in the religion. According to the organizers, 25 per cent of the audience comprises non-Muslims. While Naik’s son Fariq Naik will speak on the misconceptions about Islam, other speeches will include ‘A Reflection of the World’s Disasters’, ‘Was Islam spread by the Sword?’ and ‘Is Islam compatible with the Modern Age’.
“We make sure to speak in a language of common terms that people from all religions can understand,” said Ather Khan, director of Islamic perspective at the Dubai-based Peace TV and one of the speakers.