KAICIID Conference on Interreligious Dialogue tackles Muslim-Buddhist relations in South and South-East Asia

18 December 2017

In order to promote better understanding, cooperation and partnership between faith communities across South and South-East Asia, the Vienna-based International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) co-organized a meeting of religious and civil society leaders, academics, policy makers and intellectuals from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, in Bangkok, Thailand, 18 from 20 December 2017 to discuss how religious and cultural coexistence can be fostered.

The organizers of the meeting include in additon to KAICIID, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, with the support of the Southern Region Islamic Higher Education Foundation; Religions for Peace - Interreligious Council of Thailand; Mahidol University; and Fatoni University.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Safiullah Munsoor, KAICIID Director of Programmes emphasized the unique contribution of KAICIID to facilitate dialogue among religious leaders and policymakers

“The aim of this conference is to promote cooperation between followers of different religions and people of different cultures in South and Southeast Asia through an action plan to promotes the role of religious leaders in supporting peace by allowing them to set an example for interreligious cooperation, coexistence, and embracing diversity as an asset.”

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), H.E. Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen, said that the OIC is committed to promoting interfaith dialogue, peace building and conflict resolution, which are priority issues of the OIC Program of Action 2025 and integral components for fostering better understanding between peoples and cultures in promoting sustainable development and encouraging positive relationships between nations.

The Secretary General also emphasized the need to tackle the root causes of misunderstanding which lead to violence; to teach followers of religions to challenge those who promote fear and hatred, and to work together in preventing conflicts and rebuilding broken societies.

Dr. Eakpant Pindavanich from Mahidol University welcomed the participants in this Conference and emphasized the need for interfaith dialogue between religions. Dr. Ismail Lutfi Japakiya, President of Fatoni University and Dr. Safiullah Munsor, Director of Programmes at KAICIID also delivered statements in which they highlighted the context of organizing this Conference, their respective institutions’ contribution for the event, as well as outcome and future directions.

Seventy participants consisting of religious and civil society leaders, academics, policy makers and intellectuals from Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Malaysia participated in the Conference. Also, representatives from Foreign Ministry of Thailand and diplomatic missions from Europe and North America, including, Austria, Switzerland and Canada attended the Conference as observers.