The International Day of Tolerance & Insaaniat

November 16, 2013
It’s tragic that on the International Day of Tolerance (November 16), Pakistan is dealing with the aftermath of sectarian violence. In a region that has a brilliant history of Sufi poetry (Bulleh Shah) and that has produced individuals like Abdul-Sattar Edhi, time and time again, we have seen the darkness that ensues because people forget what it means to be human – to love unconditionally – and instead spew divisive nonsense that only hurts all of us.

Zehra Batool and I began a series of letters to each other in January, to try to understand more of what it meant to be a Shia or Sunni in Pakistan:

What we need is more discourse, more tolerance and more love. Please ASK questions instead of inventing theories about “the other.”

I wanted to wait before I launched the project, so to speak. But every day the monster of hate only seems to be growing, so the time is now. The narrative that ensues about Pakistan the world over seems to be that we’re a bunch of angry young men and women, with no sense of direction. That is far from the truth, and I want us who believe in the power of healing amongst communities to raise our voices for love. Have more things like #PakistanforAll, an interfaith mosques ( – build an environment where we respect and learn from our differences. After all, it is diversity that makes this world so beautiful.


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