November 2010

Doctrine Divides, Action Unites



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ICF Conducts School of Peace in Sri Lanka with YMCA
Max Ediger
Since 2006, Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) has conducted a 14-week School of Peace (SOP) almost annually in India. However, for staff members and volunteers of the YMCA in Asia, it is difficult to take part in such a long program. Thus, the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY), one of the two ICF project holders, initiated an abridged SOP that took place in Sri Lanka for three weeks beginning at the end of October. [Read more]

Reflecting on Cambodia’s National Day of Mourning
Emma Leslie
On the night of Nov. 22 at the conclusion of the three-day annual Water Festival, tragedy disrupted the mood of celebration in Phnom Penh as hundreds of people were crushed to death or injured by the panic that suddenly seized a large crowd of revelers that had gathered in the center of the capital. The author, an expatriate living in Cambodia since 1997, shares her thoughts and feelings, which were written on Nov. 25 three days after this fatal accident, about how this tragedy has affected the country and its people and, indeed, what it means for others around the world. [Read more]

Monks’ Ongoing Resistance against Burma’s Military Regime
Burma Partnership
During the Saffron Revolution in 2007, Buddhist monks were a leading force for change in Burma. This article, which was circulated on Oct. 26 prior to Burma’s first elections in 20 years on Nov. 7, explains how Buddhist monks continue to be a moral voice calling for respect for human rights and genuine democracy in the country. [Read more]

Philippines: A Broken and Lawless Nation—Killing in Front of Families
Asian Human Rights Commission
Hundreds of people have been extrajudicially killed in the Philippines since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became president in 2001. Unfortunately, under the new administration of President Benigno Aquino III that took office on June 30 this year, these human rights violations have not ceased as this article makes plain. In this statement, a regional human rights organization in Hong Kong notes the effect years of human rights violations have had on society in the Philippines, including the decay of its legal institutions. In retrospect, the article also raises the question, How many other countries in Asia have similar systems of justice or injustice? [Read more]

The Power of Education to Transform Stereotypes of the West
Inayah Rohmaniyah
The author, an academic in Indonesia, offers the experiences she has learned in her classroom about the transformation of attitudes of her Muslim students towards non-Muslims in Western societies. [Read more]

Tourism for Transformation in Sri Lanka
Commercial tourism today usually provides a fleeting understanding of the history and culture of a foreign country and commonly erects an invisible barrier between tourists and local people. Swetha Warna in Sri Lanka hopes to provide a different tourist experience for people—what it describes as “therapeutic pilgrim community tourism”—by bringing Sri Lanka’s people and visitors together. Tourists, first of all, can stay in people’s homes, and the purpose of the tour is to encounter Sri Lanka’s traditional food, natural healing methods and traditions, including extended visits to the sacred sites of the major faiths found in the country—Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Moreover, the money spent on Swetha Warna’s tours will assist local communities improve their livelihood. More information about this rare tourist experience is available at Swetha Warna’s web site at <>.

Traveling Moroccan Exhibition Displays Art for Peace
Hind Al-Subai Al-Idrisi
Art can have many purposes and meanings. This Moroccan author highlights the role that art can play in promoting peace by emphasizing the values of tolerance and respect for diversity that is reflected in the art of an exhibition traveling around the Middle East, values that have made possible the peaceful coexistence of Muslims, Jews and Christians in her homeland for centuries. [Read more]

The Golden Rule—An Introduction
Peter Schier
The author notes a common foundation on which the world’s faiths rest and that therefore binds people together regardless of other identities they possess. [Read more]

Interfaith Perspective Emphasized in Promoting Women as Peacemakers
At a recent conference in Indonesia—the Asia Women Peacemaker’s Conference: The Interfaith Perspective in Realizing the Role of Women Peacemakers in the Implementation of UNSCR 1325—the participants discussed the important role that women can play in working toward peace, especially in conflict and post-conflict contexts, and the significance of U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 as a means to achieve this aim. [Read more]