Peaceful coexistence and progress have become a prime development agenda in both Malaysia and Southeast Asian countries. When the multicultural environment with religious and ethnic diversity raises the need for mutual recognition, religious representatives and an international NGO held a conference to discuss the religious contribution to international peacebuilding.
On January 31, an international NGO under the UN ECOSOC called Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) and International Women’s Peace Group(IWPG) organized a “2018 HWPL&IWPG Malaysia Peace Forum” under the theme of “One Malaysia, One Asia, One World” at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. And this event was also co-hosted by Yayasan Salam Malaysia, University of Malaya, and Centre for Civilisational Dialogue (CCD).
“We cannot and should not take peace for granted, we have to work for it, we have to preserve it and keep it for the future generation,” emphasized Mr. Ghani Bin Ibrahim, Chairperson of HWPL Malaysia branch and Chief Executive of Yayasan Salam Malaysia. “From universities in Malaysia, students will discuss the international law for peace, which will be the basis of advocacy plan from the youth,” he added.
“We are forming a network of women peace committee leaders throughout the country to build awareness through community work and education for a peaceful, united and harmonious society,” said Ms. Woo Sow Pheng, Chairperson of IWPG Malaysia branch.
As a session of this forum, religious peace conference of interfaith dialogue was carried out with the topic of “World Peace through Fulfillment of Promises.” The representatives from Buddhism, Islamism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, and International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) participated in the session.
Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL, said “There is a saying ‘Heaven helps those who help themselves.’ Religious leaders should steel themselves to make this world a better place to live. To end wars and establish peace in our globe, everyone is required to be a messenger of peace.”
The interfaith dialogue called “World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office Meeting” is one of the HWPL peace initiatives which has been carried out in 126 countries with the approach to peacebuilding in religion based on comparative studies on scriptures to find the commonality of the spirit of peace in different religions.
The discussion and attention in this WARP Office meeting were given to forced conversion that occurred in South Korea and led to a death of a 25-year-old woman by her parents. According to the report suggested, she was kidnapped and confined in a pension and finally suffocated by her family.
“Just because of not registering under the certain denomination of vested interests, they interrupt the peace works of a religious person. Can we say these kinds of religious people are the ones who promote peace? There are no such sayings in the scripture that we should use violence nor encourage discrimination,” said Mr. SethuPathy MA Cumarasamy, Hon. Secretary of Sri Mahamariamman Temple. “Religious scriptures, such as the ones discussed during our WARP office meetings, are aimed to be solutions to problems within mankind, to act as a guidance,” he added.
At the end of the event, approximately 120 participants, including Malaysian religious representatives, had a pledge to work with HWPL on the role of religious leaders to cooperate on peace and to promote religious harmony for spreading a culture of peace.