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Updates: IRCRA initiative APWA is active now.. . .

Projects & Programs

1. Sectarian and Interfaith reconciliation in Pakistan

Sectarian strife especially between Sunni and Shias is a bigger challenge for the security and stability of Pakistan since long. Pakistan has witnessed violence and bloodshed instigated by sectarian differences and hatred on religious grounds. IRCRA has engaged thousands of religious leaders, mosque imams, madrasah teachers and interfaith leaders through its awareness raising and capacity building programs during the last 9 years.


🥇 IRCRA Efforts and IMPACT Towards Sectarian Reconciliation


  • 1. Trainings of religious leaders and madrasah teachers on non-violent resolution of conflicts.
  • 2. Developing a cadre of Imams and religious leaders towards building resilience against extremist rhetoric.
  • 3. Developing and publishing the Narrative of Sectarian Reconciliation and disseminating it widely through media, social media and public and expert gatherings, talks, workshops and seminars.
  • 4. Networking and trust-building between diverse sects & faith leaders.
  • 5. Established platforms of diverse local religious leaders in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to resolve sectarian and faith based conflicts.



2. Religious Media Training to Counter Hate Speech and Hate Literature

More than a thousand religious journals and magazines are published in Pakistan by madrasas and other religious groups and parties. About 500 of these journals are published on almost regular basis. IRCRA organized media training workshops for the editors and writers of these journals to sensitize and train them for constructive contributions for the betterment of society and reconciliatory ideas.


These workshops brought the participants from diverse sectarian magazines and equipped them with knowledge and skills to counter hate speech and hate literature. The trained participants conducted set of follow up activities to amplify and promote peaceful coexistence including peace dialogues and writing many articles. These follow up activities spread the message to thousands of people and positively influence their opinion.


The editorial teams of religious media publications were trained and engaged positively, to have an obvious change in the perception and behavior of religious media editors, writers and influencers towards other religions and sects. The religious media actors positively changed their views and perceptions about other religions, sects that is visible in their writing and speeches.


🥇 Features of Training Workshops for religious media


  • 1. Sessions on Elimination of negative propaganda through peace messaging
  • Raising public awareness about peace, harmony, health literacy and other social issues.
  • 2. Publication of articles promoting peace and tolerance in society.
  • 3. IRCRA had also compiled a compendium of religious journals and analyzed their content.


🥇 Outcomes/results of the religious media training:


  • 1. Improved knowledge-base and policy input, or recommendations on issues of vital significance for creating awareness among Media in Countering Hate Material and Promotion of Peace.
  • 2. Strengthened tradition of starting a dialogue on sensitive topics regarding hate content subject, discussing sectarianism in a society like Pakistan’s, which lacks the basic values of dialogue and argument among different institutions and groups.
  • 3. Improved understanding and ability of media (editors, writers, reporters & researchers), civil society actors and policymakers to make such platforms in a particular format to start creating awareness campaigns on such topics.
  • 4. Enhanced interaction among representatives of different segments of society and improved opportunity to remove mutually held misperceptions.


🤠 Participants’ quotes


“I hereby also pledge that I will try my best to play my part to raise awareness among community members of my area. I would like to urge that each one of us contribute in advocating dialogue and promoting peace.” (Mr. Iqbal Shah Haidri)


3. Shaping peace together campaign on Social Media

International Research Council for Religious Affairs (IRCRA) initiated to disseminate peace messages through social media platform to observe the international day of peace. The purpose of the project was to disseminate the message “shaping peace together” on the occasion of international day of peace on 21st of September. This initiative includes posters developments, video recordings of renowned speakers with peace and harmony messages, sharing of global courses offered by USIP, free of cost. #Peacedaychallenge was used while sharing the posts on social media.

Poster 1

Poster 2



4. Citizen Protection and Restoration of Humanitarian Dialogue

International Research Council for Religious Affairs (IRCRA) in partnership with Geneva Call and with the financial support of European Union (EU) initiated the two year project titled “Restoration of Humanitarian Dialogue in North West Pakistan & within the Region” in selected three districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including in Peshawar, Khyber and Mohmand.




  1. 1. Increase awareness and knowledge of communities, local authorities, and fighting forces about international humanitarian norms.
  2. 2. Foster collaboration and safe space for communities, local authorities, and fighting forces through engagement in constructive dialogue on matters of humanitarian concern, using safe channels.
  3. 3. Promote a culture of peaceful interchange in northwest Pakistan’s communities, local authorities, and fighting forces by encouraging them to act as actors of change and by enforcing humanitarian norms.

5. Afghan Pakistan Women Association (APWA)

IRCRA established the Af-Pak Women’s Association (APWA) to foster leadership among Afghan women and girls displaced by the recent situation in Afghanistan. IRCRA sponsored a one-day seminar with displaced Afghan women and girls to address their challenges in the host country. Mr. Israr Madani, president of IRCRA, informed the audience on the organization’s efforts to build links between Afghan and Pakistani citizens.


During the conversation, displaced Afghan women urged Pakistani civil society organisations to help them achieve socio-economic stability in the host country. They stated that Afghan women and girls in refugee camps had limited access to school and little opportunities to further their education. As a result of being displaced from their homes, the women face a variety of health issues, including despair. Scholarships for Afghan female students who desire to continue their studies are also in high demand. 



6. Supporting Democratic Transition in the Muslim World (July 01, 2020 - June 30, 2021)

International Research Council for Religious Affairs (IRCRA) in collaboration with the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and with the financial support of National Endowment for Democracy (NED) successfully completed the project titled; “Engaging Religious Media, Academia and Muslim Democrats on Islam and Democracy” to support democratic transition in the Muslim World. IRCRA successfully managed to educate & increased the understanding of the participants on democracy and democratic principles and engaged more than the targeted number of participants from religious media, editors, academia and social activities under different activities.


IRCRA established a group of prominent people working in their respective fields to strengthen democratic narratives, particularly on tolerance and pluralism. The overall positive impact of the follow-up activities included publications, videos being produced, interactive dialogue sessions in comminutes regarding democratic values and processes.


🥇 The project has the following outcomes:


  • 1. Development of a Research Report highlighting anti-democratic discourse & trends in religious publications/selected magazines. Completed in earlier third quarter.
  • 2. Development & Publishing of Narrative Booklet “Dialogues on Democracy”.
  • 3. Translation & Publishing of Pre-Designed Booklet “Islam & Democracy: An Alternate Narrative” in two languages “Pashto” & “English”.
  • 4. Conducted three (03) Capacity Building Workshops for Religious media and Academia.
  • 5. Development & Publishing of 1000 copies of Introductory brochure on understanding and transformation of Muslim Democrats and Exchange Program.


🥇 Follow up activities including:


  • 1. Interactive dialogues,
  • 2. Published 10 articles in religious magazines, social media, blogs etc.
  • 3. Conducted 10 interactive dialogues at community level
  • 4. Engaging Religious Media & Muslim Democrats On Islam And Democracy

7. Polio Eradication Through Religious Engagement

The polio reservoirs in Pakistan are geographically located in such parts that have substantial influence of religious scholars and are also security compromised. One common fact for a majority of these areas is that they have a wide subscription base for religious narrative and publications. Collaborating with UN-WHO, UNICEF and Pakistan’ Ministry of Health IRCRA had designed and run a successful campaign to eradicate polio from Pakistan through religious engagement. IRCRA’ campaign strategy included polio awareness seminars and workshops to counter anti polio vaccination propaganda, engagement of top-level religious leadership, capacity building workshpos with religious magazine editors’ writers, educators and development of modules to counter violent groups’ propaganda against polio vaccination.




  • Joint Declaration – at the end of each event declaring polio as a life-threatening illness and supporting polio eradication programs initiated by the government and supported by UNICEF and WHO.


  • Fatwa supporting vaccination (OPV) and routine immunization (RI)– 50 senior clerics, religious leaders/ scholars and institutions issued a ground breaking Fatwa (religious decree) in support of polio and routine immunization.


  • Pro OPV and RI Vaccination Book – IRCRA produced a 116-page book titled “Islamic Concept of Health and Disease” written by its president Muhammad Israr clarifying the Islamic perspective on child health, vaccination of preventable diseases like polio and importance of mother’s health. This helped break the myths and conspiracy theories about these issues. 50 thousand copies of the book were distributed at madrasahs, mosques and community centers across Pakistan.


  • Pro-vaccination Articles in religious magazines – More than 150 articles in support of polio/ RI were published in about 100 religious magazines with a huge subscriber base in Pakistan.