BANGKOK, Thailand � A two-day strategic workshop which ended here today has issued a six- point ‘Joint Bangkok Statement’ to promote better inter and intra-religious dialogue in South and Southeast Asia.

The workshop was a joint initiative of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), Interreligious Council of Thailand, Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies-Mahidol University and Fatoni University.

A mix of religious and civil society leaders, policy makers and government representatives attended the workshop to identify the challenges facing religious communities across the two regions, and they agreed to pursue the points contained in the joint statement.

“Encourage inter-religious and faith-based organisations as well as religious and traditional leaders to promote greater inter and intra-religious dialogue for peaceful coexistence, harmony and development in South and Southeast Asia,” says the statement.

The statement also calls for development of a broader range of capacity-building activities including awareness raising and training programmes to promote skills building in inter and intra-religious dialogue, conflict resolution, mediation and policy advocacy.

It wants the government and agencies to mainstream curriculum design, content development and educational practices and put in place mechanisms that promote inter-faith coexistence and multicultural understanding.

The fourth point of the joint statement calls on the participants to advocate and positively contribute towards the establishment and strengthening of policies at local, national and regional reconciliations.

The fifth point urges the sharing of best practices for enhancing inter-faith coexistence, while the last point calls for enhanced partnership among inter-religious and faith-based organisations, and the leaders with the policy makers in the region.

It is acknowledged that although there are distinct religious differences, the challenges facing countries across the regions are broadly similar.

It cites some of the common challenges as misunderstanding or distorted understanding of religion, the politicisation of religion, rise of extremism and radicalisation, the irresponsible use of media and social media in how religion is perceived in society, and socio-economic inequity and marginalisation.


Post Author: