Myanmar Cardinal Bo Explains the Rohingya Situation

The Rohingya issue in Myanmar is complex and subject to many misinterpretations which must be better understood. This is at the heart of the message of Salesian Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon (Myanmar), which His Eminence has provided to ZENIT on June 16, 2018, and can be read in its entirety below.

Cardinal Bo made the speech recently in Melbourne, Australia, to Church leaders and political personnel.

Myanmar is emerging from decades of military rule after Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won the 2015 elections and has taken office.

The Muslim minority of the Rohingyas is considered by the UN to be one of the most persecuted. According to data from the Arakan Project, a humanitarian organization defending Rohingyas rights, since 2010, some 100,000 members of the minority have fled Burma (Myanmar) by sea. Violence between radical Buddhists and Rohingyas has left, since 2012, more than 200 dead and 140,000 displaced

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Indonesia: Expert Predicts ‘Terrorism Will Strengthen Moderate Islam’

Fr. Franz Magnis-Suseno, a Jesuit of German origin who now has Indonesian nationality has lived in Indonesia for 45 years. A scholar of Islam, he recently spoke with Aid to the Church in Need, the international papal charity, in the wake of the May 13, 2018 deadly church bombings in the city of Surabaya.

‘For us Christians, the task is clear: we have to build up trusting, positive relations with mainstream Indonesian Islam—which, incidentally, is something Muslims greatly appreciate’

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Religions for Peace Multi-religious Delegation’s Visit to Rakhine State

Representatives of Religions for Peace visited Sittwe and Maungdaw in the north of Rakhine State, Myanmar, where militant attacks in August 2017 triggered massive operations by the security personnel on the area’s Muslim communities and some 700,000 Muslims and hundreds of Hindus fled for Bangladesh. This region has also seen terrorist attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) accused of massacres of a 100 Hindus and attacks on other ethnic and religious minorities. While acknowledging the authorities’ duty to maintain law and order, the delegation expressed a concern that an excessive use of force could hamper the peace and reconciliation process.

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Pakistan: Christian and Muslim Leaders Say Stop Attacks against Minorities and Yes to Speedy Justice


A Christian Chapel adjacent a masjid at University of Faisalabad was recently opened and blessed by the Archbishop of Faisalabad. Muslim and Christian leaders attended the opening and spoke in support of harmony between Muslims and minority religions.

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International Conference on “Youth, Peace and Violent Extremism”.

International Conference on “Youth, Peace and Violent Extremism” is a gathering between 100 to 150 young people from around the globe to come together to share their experiences on how they are building resilience in their communities to prevent violent extremism. This conference will take place in Melaka, Malaysia 30 July – 3 August 2018.

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Indonesia: Unifying faiths in peace and harmony through dialogue

In a plenary discussion titled ”Light and Truth in Pluralistic Asia” held at the Asia Ecumenical Youth Assembly (AEYA) in Manado, Indonesia last Monday, religious leaders from different faiths shared perspectives. They agreed that continuous interfaith dialogue is key to better mutual understanding, tolerance and respect. And thus crucial for long term peace and stability.

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Indonesia and the Future of Islam

Currently, 62 percent of Muslims live in Asia. Another 32 percent live in Africa. Relatively few of the world’s Muslims actually live in the Middle East. Indonesia is by far the most populous Muslim-majority country on earth; its 202 million Muslims are more than the entire Middle East combined.

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Indonesian Muslims and Online Piety

At a recent Religions@Deakin seminar, Fatimah Huseina of the State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia presented on research about online piety and the issues around displaying one’s faith online, riya’. What follows is an overview of this work by Fatimah Huseina and Martin Slama.

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Bishop Gunnar Stålsett Visit to Myanmar

(3-8 March 2018 | Yangon & Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar) Bishop Gunnar Stålsett [Honorary President of RfP International] visited Myanmar on 3-8 March to advance confidence building among diverse actors for peace, justice and reconciliation. Bishop Stålsett engaged with various national actors to: discern what, if any, outside assistance could contribute to bringing essential parties together in a long-term cohesive and sustainable dialogue; better understand the religious, ethnic, cultural and political factors that are shaping the present situation; discern consensual and/or conflicting agendas among religious leaders and other civil society actors; assess what specifically can be done by national civil society and faith groups to overcome the political impasse on various levels; explore ways to improve the humanitarian situation through dialogue and common action; and explore alternative diplomatic and track 2 approaches.

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