You may have heard of Super Savari Express as a unique touring service that promotes Pakistan’s cultural heritage and architectural richness through bus tours, enjoyed by children and adults alike. But they are now taking their vision forward by showcasing religious diversity in the country through one-of-a-kind diversity tours, which showcase Pakistan’s various social and religious communities.
How do they do this? Recently, Super Savari Express took students (predominantly Muslims) from Aptech University on a customized tour of Karachi, in hopes of raising awareness and encouraging tolerance between individuals of different faiths.
A city as diverse as Karachi, is literally a melting pot of different communities and cultures, but often times, due to a lack of knowledge or exposure and the irrational fear of the other perpetuated by fanatics we misinterpret people who are different than us. In a city that is majority Muslim there isn’t much exposure about other faiths. We know they’re there, without knowing exactly what they are like. The diversity tour aims to educate people comfortably sitting on their preconditioned stereotypes, by challenging them with knowledge and facts to encourage community building. Ahead you’ll find how 7 Muslims who had never stepped foot inside a church or a Hindu temple reacted to these religious sights!
“On the tour we were first taken to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, it was my first time ever being inside a Church, and I found the whole experience very interesting. I learnt a lot about the Church through the descriptive information provided by our tour guide. I really enjoyed learning about the Church, and gained a lot of insight about Christianity. Despite being a Muslim I had never once been to Memon Masjid and through this tour I was able to visit that as well. Our next stop is a Hindu temple. I am looking forward to learning more about that as well.” – Muhammad Ahmer Khan, 17 years old
“On this tour, all the knowledge I previously possessed about churches and mosques were challenged. I learnt how old these institutions are and what they represent in more detail. I found the whole experience to be very eye-opening and informative. Something I haven’t experienced in my 24 years of life.” – Jibran Kiramat, 24 years old
“As a Muslim I had never stepped foot inside a Church, until today. I learnt alot about Christianity, what the Bible teaches and the symbolic representations behind the cross. I was also shown how they pray. As Muslims we prostrate (sajdah) as a form of worship while they kneel on their knees and pray. Next on our journey we’re making our way to a temple and just like what happened at the church, InshAllah I am certain my preconceived misconceptions will be replaced with knowledge on what Hinduism truly represents.” – Mubashir, 19 years old
“We grow up being fed certain stereotypes about the Hindu and Christian communities in Pakistan, but today I learnt how far from the truth they really are. Through this tour and the exposure it allowed me to gain, I learnt how similar all of us are. We are all equal in Pakistan. These people are very hospitable and treat everyone with respect, and it’s up to every individual how we treat them in return. I believe we should highlight the different communities in Pakistan more, as well as its cultural heritage sites like Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa to showcase the cultural diversity Pakistan possesses.” – Zaki Mohammad, 22 years old
“Today we visited three different places – A church, a mosque and a Hindu temple. Through this I gained meaningful insight on the ideology behind different religions. I learnt that just as we believe in Islam, that there is one God and He spreads his work amongst angels, Hinduism adopts a similar ideology. They believe there is one God who spreads his duties and beliefs amongst different God’s, who represent different ideologies.” – Hira, 24 years old
“Today I learnt that despite what religion you believe in, belief is truly what sustains you. Even though I live in Karachi, I had never before visited a church or a temple before. All my previous confusions regarding the inner workings of these religions were cleared out today. I really enjoyed this experience and it’s something I will hold very close to my heart as it’s changed my view of people around us completely.” – Ibrahim Raza, 19 years old
“I learnt something I should have learnt ages ago. I learnt that regardless of what religion you belong to, we should respect all of them the same. We are all Pakistani, and are all equal in that regard and deserve equal opportunity. It’s what my religion (Islam) preaches as well.” – Owais Ahmed, 18 years old
“We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. No matter what your colour, caste or creed. You are a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations.” – Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Our take away: The founder of our nation built this country with the basic principle of tolerance and equality in mind. Overtime it’s safe to say we have lost sight of this on many accounts, but if there is one thing this diversity tour taught us, it’s that it’s vital (and really not difficult) to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Befriend someone outside your community and take a walk in their shoes, even if it’s only for a few hours. What you’ll learn is, we are more alike than different, have more love in our hearts than hate – and above everything else, we are all human, and deserve to be treated as such.