On Saturday May 28, Pope Francis met with the president of the Republic of Singapore, marking 35 years of diplomatic relations between the Southeast Asian country and the Holy See, and the first ever state visit by a Singaporean president to a Pope.
Leaders of four major religions have vowed to unite and promote religious harmony as part of efforts to combat a sharp rise in religious extremism and militancy in Bangladesh. The pledge came at an interfaith conference organized by Bangladesh police in Dhaka on April 28. The gathering brought together about 1,500 people, mostly leaders from Muslim, Hindu, Christian and Buddhist communities.
On 28-29 March 2016, U Myint Swe, President of RfP Myanmar and Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Deputy Secretary General of RfP International, visited Sittwe, Rakhine State, Myanmar, the scene of major inter-communal violence between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in 2012. Further sporadic outbreaks since then have left scores dead and over 140,000 displaced.
Just two hours after the Jakarta blasts, about 30 religious and community leaders of the Braddell Heights’ Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle received information about what was happening on the ground there. They were also asked by the authorities to look out for reactions in their communities.
In 2014, Philip Coggan spent several months interviewing Cambodians about their beliefs. Largely this meant talking about the mixture of Buddhism and animism that makes up traditional Cambodian religion. He was struck by one thing that seems to be largely overlooked in the literature about Cambodia – the rapid growth of Christianity.
Pakistan civil society activists light candles outside the French consulate in Karachi on Nov. 15, as they condemned the deadly attacks in Paris. (Photo by AFP)
While the detention of eight suspected members of the group that calls itself the Islamic State in Malaysia on Jan. 22, following the deadly bomb attacks in Jakarta earlier this month, confirmed the arrival of the terrorist group in Southeast Asia, it had already been murderously active in the South Asian countries of Bangladesh and Pakistan.
As Singaporeans become more religious, there are concerns that some segments of society are becoming more distant from others. One strong antidote to this exclusive tendency, religious leaders said, lies in their followers reflecting on what their respective religions teach. This is crucial, they added yesterday at a conference on building inter-faith relations.
Religious leaders denounced the recent the violent eviction of hundreds of members of an illegal organization. On Jan. 19, a mob burned down nine houses belonging to members of the Fajar Nusantara Movement, known as Gafatar, in Moton Panjang village of Mempawah district in West Kalimantan province. Previously, local residents issued an ultimatum forcing all Gafatar members to leave the district
Indonesia’s largest Islamic movement is organising an interfaith gathering next week, in which some 10,000 people are expected to participate. Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), is organising a mass rally in the capital, Jakarta, on Jan. 17 as a way to fight religious extremism and terrorism, as well as promote pluralism as the true foundation of Indonesian society. NU will be joined by 13 other Islamic organisations, as well as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (Konferensi Waligereja Indonesia, KWI), various Protestant churches and the Supreme Council for the Confucian Religion in Indonesia (Majelis Tinggi Agama Konghucu Indonesia, MATAKIN).
For more than a decade now Christmas celebrations in Indonesia have been under tight security. As the holiday approaches in 2015, police and military begin to divide tasks as to who will provide security for which church.