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Indonesian Muslim group organizing interfaith event against extremism




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).

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Interfaith group provides Christmas meals to Myanmar’s poor




For the poor children and families from the Irrawaddy riverside in Mandalay, where people live in temporary tents, one good meal is a special Christmas gift. An interfaith group of woman comprised of Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus reached out to Mandalay’s poor on Dec. 20 to provide meals as a way of conveying the Christmas message of joy.

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Vietnam: Church and Civil Society respond to draft law on religion


Vietnamese CatholicsA group of 27 civil society organizations have called on Vietnam to edit a controversial draft law on religion, saying it is wide open to abuse. Lawmakers in Vietnam are expected to pass a new law on religion that religious leaders and rights monitors have long warned will likely worsen oppression.

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Myanmar: UNICEF hails joint interfaith declaration seeking tolerance



In the light of upcoming elections in Myanmar and amid reports of rising religious intolerance, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Wednesday welcomed a joint statement by the leaders of four main religious groups in the country calling for tolerance and respect of religious freedom as essential conditions for every child to grow and develop to their full potential.

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Myanmar: Anti-Muslim Buddhist Group Gains Political Clout




“There should be lawmakers in parliament who are reliable for the country,” Ashin Tilawkar Biwonsa said in an interview. ”There might be some people, especially Muslims, who are working on weakening Buddhism, so we need strong people for our religion.”

Read more…Myanmar: Anti-Muslim Buddhist Group Gains Political Clout

Vietnam moves closer to passing restrictive religion bill


Church VietnamVietnam is moving closer to passing a restrictive law on religion, Christian groups have warned. The country’s most powerful political organ, the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, discussed the bill Aug. 14 with few signs major amendments would be made before passing next year, said the religious freedom advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

Read more…Vietnam moves closer to passing restrictive religion bill