Think Tank (4/2021)
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SRP Webinar Series on Regional Trends in Inter-Religious Relations
19 Aug 2021

On 19 August 2021, the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme conducted a webinar on “Regional Trends in Interreligious Relations”. During the session, Mr Muhammad Haziq Jani, Senior Analyst with the SRP Programme, gave a broad overview of interreligious relations developments in Asia to 54 participants from religious organisations, interfaith activism groups, and the public sector.

The presentation was the culmination of a year-long study of diverse reports on the state of interreligious relations and religious affairs in Asian societies. The theme of the study was “Religion, Conflict, Dialogue and Peacebuilding”. Issues reviewed included the extent of religious freedom in Northeast Asia and the Saffron Belt countries, Hindu and Buddhist nationalism in South and peninsular Southeast Asia, as well as Islamism in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Mr Haziq also highlighted how COVID-19 had exacerbated interreligious conflicts and tensions in Asia, overshadowing positive efforts by government and civil society groups to keep communities united in the face of the global public health and economic crisis. The webinar concluded with a discussion moderated by Ambassador Mohammad Alami Musa, Head of the SRP Programme. The discussion was led by three SRP Programme faculty members: Associate Professor Paul Hedges, Assistant Professor Rafal Stepien, and Assistant Professor Mohamed Ali. Participants were keen to know how negative interreligious trends in our region could have an impact on Singapore society, and whether religion could provide a positive influence despite worrying trends.

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