PRESS RELEASE – 30 Sept 2015
Buddhist-Muslim Forum urge ASEAN Ministers to have Inter-Faith Dialogue to defeat Religious Extremism
KUALA LUMPUR, 30 September ; THE INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON BUDDHIST-MUSLIM RELATIONS (BMF) is making a clarion call to Asean Ministers to take proactive measures to stop, prevent and avoid extremism and radicalism in the name of religion.
Several recent conflicts have flared up in the region, most notably affecting the Rohingiyas and other ethnic minority communities in Myanmar, as well as the inter-ethnic friction in southern Thailand.
Some of these conflicts have spilled over into other ASEAN countries including Indonesia and Malaysia.
The Forum urges the ASEAN Ministers to strengthen Inter Faith relations and not allow the use of religion to cause dissent among the communities in Asean.
Earlier this year, in March, the Forum held a landmark Summit Meeting of Buddhist and Muslim leaders in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
This high level meeting of leaders from South Asia and South East Asian nations deliberated to articulate their shared visions and commitments for intra and inter-national peace and harmony.
The notable outcome of this Summit is the “Yogyakarta Statement”, which serves as the guiding principle for the leaders of these nations in overcoming extremism and advancing peace with justice in their respective countries.
The core message of the Yogyakarta Statement has a high degree of relevance to the meeting of ASEAN Ministers this Friday, 2 October, which will discuss The Rise of Radicalization and Violent Extremism affecting ASEAN nations.
The Forum’s secretary, K.V.Soon, said when Buddhism and Islam is used to fuel prejudice and incite discrimination and violence, this results in causing social unrest which would retard the progress of these ASEAN nations.
This year is a crucial milestone in ASEAN as it is the year when Asean realises the formation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC). Any prospect for economic progress is critically dependent on a peaceful state of the nation.
“The Buddhist and Muslim population comprise about 80 per cent of the ASEAN community and conflicts fuelled by extremism and radicalism could potentially destabilize the entire ASEAN community.
“Therefore, we want to reaffirm that Islam and Buddhism are religions of peace, mercy
and compassion committed to justice for all humankind. For this reason, we pledge to counter extremist religious interpretations and work towards peace and harmony.”
About the BMF
The International Forum on Buddhist-Muslim Relations (BMF) was established on 16th June 2013 in Bangkok by these religious leaders from South and South East Asian countries.
The BMF is a coalition lead by its core members, comprising of Religions for Peace (RfP), International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Persyarikatan Muhammadiyah (PM) and works in collaboration with multiple other governmental and non-governmental organization to advance peace and justice through shared values and commitment.