Short reflection on the course of Interreligious Dialogue

Short reflection on the course of Interreligious Dialogue

by Br. Paul Won Keun ho, FMS

I asked myself “What have I learned from the course? Or what has changed in me?” First of all, I have learned more about the Muslim and the Christian relationship in terms of the Interrelgious dialogue. In Korea, we have very small numbers of the Muslim and we seldom hear about the news about them. It seems the conflict between the Christian and the Muslim is not our problem. That’s why, in the beginning of the course, I felt some distance or some kind of indifference about the conversation. However, as the Fr. Bagus taught us well and the participants from the other country shared their experiences with the Muslim, I have gained more knowledge and realized how serious this issue in the world and in Asia. The most interesting lessons for me are the last two sessions about Louis Massignon and ‘common word between us and you’. Maybe the information was new to me. I really appreciate the efforts of Louis Massignon and the Muslim scholars. I felt they really tried to understand other religions and to make an initiative to start the conversation.

Secondly, I would like to share the impact of the course on me. At the beginning, I was quite negative on the Interreligious Dialogue. I felt it seems those dialogues were already old fashioned or theologians were not interested on this topic anymore. Maybe it was because of my little knowledge. Through the course, I have learned more knowledge and new trends on the Interreligious Dialogue, then I become more positive about it. Especially when I learned about the other side of effort in the previous session, I become aware of those group of people from the Muslim who have tried their best to make an initiative on Interreligious dialogue. I am happy with this kind of movement from both side of the Catholic and the Muslim. Fr. Bagus also presented an example of those who see negatively in this document and I also felt they have some truths which I need to think about. However, I am more curious about the positive side and the efforts on Interreligious dialogue.

This course will end next week. There were times I felt bored and so tired to concentrate on the lecture of Fr. Bagus because of the late class hour and my insufficient English skills. However, as it is close to the end, I feel that I become more curious and also more interested in the topic and the classmates and of course our beloved teacher, Fr. Bagus. If there is a chance, I would like to see them in person. Thank you Fr. Bagus and the staff of this course. I am very thankful for giving me this opportunity of learning experience. Thank you very much.

The Military Coup and People’s Uprising in Myanmar, and How Asian Religions can Support and Promote Solidarity Interreligiously

Webinar The Military Coup and People’s Uprising in Myanmar, and How Asian Religions can Support and Promote Solidarity Interreligiously

Organised by ALL Forum, NCCP, LAMIN

On the 26th of March 2021, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum, NCCP in Philippines, and RTRC in Thailand jointly organized an immediate online webinar to consider how we as followers of religions together can support and have solidarity with the Myanmar people. This webinar was organised on the Zoom platform and was also streamed live on YouTube.

For this webinar we had two actors; one is a well-known Buddhist activist monk Ven. Bhikkhu Mandalar Zan and another Ko Htwe a Lay Activist and Project Manager of Lay Mission Institute from Myanmar to share vivid stories about the current situation there and discuss how peace-loving religions in Asia could unite and support.

Bhikkhu Mandalar expressed the situation in Myanmar and the active of role Buddhist monks in the civil disobedience movement and concluded with the immediate help required for the Myanmar people. Following Bhikkhu’s presentation Ko Htwe elaborated on the responses of Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Hindus Religious Institutions in Myanmar and also the Catholic, Diocesean, Religious Sisters, Catholic Media and Lay responses to the military coup in Myanmar. He concluded with many points on how we can help Myanmar. Subsequently the Discussion panel consisting of Rev. Irma Mepico Assistant Program Coordinator of the Christian Unity and Ecumenical Relations (CUER) -NCCP, Philippines; Prof. Francis Lee / Executive director of JusPeace, Korea; Fr. Vinai Boonlue, SJ/ Head of Euro Burma Office Foundation; Shared their critical views and opinions enriching the discussion during the webinar.

Participants from 7 countries namely Pakistan, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines and South Korea joined in this webinar and took back valuable input after experiencing the presentations, Panel discussions as well as the open discussion.

The webinar concluded with a plan to draft an interreligious joint statement addressed to the FABC to motivate the CBCM to join with the other religious institutions of Myanmar and actively participate in the protests against the military coup.

Webinar The Military Coup and People’s Uprising in Myanmar, and How Asian Religions can Support & Promote Solidarity Interreligiously

An Urgent Webinar:
The Military Coup and People’s Uprising in Myanmar, and How Asian Religions can Support and Promote Solidarity interreligiously?

On February 1, 2021, the Myanmar’s military staged a coup that detained several high-ranking government officials, including Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint on the same day. General Min Aung Hlaing refused to recognize the election results held on the 8th of November, 2020, calling it a fraudulent election and took power hours before the new National Assembly opened and declared a state of national emergency.

Myanmar, which had been ruled by the military regime for a long time had transferred its military power to a civilian regime through elections in 2015. The country which had just begun to take a step towards democracy is now in danger of returning to a military dictatorship once again. In response, Myanmar’s people have taken to the streets again despite the horrible and harrowing memory of thousands of people massacred in the “8888 Uprising,” which was a huge resistance against the military rule on the 8th of August, 1988. More than a month into the present coup, the situation in Myanmar is getting worse, with the number of deaths and injuries increasing as the military crackdown intensifies.

In Myanmar, where the majority of the people are Buddhists, the Catholic Church, being a minority religion, lacks a strong influence; but earnestly hopes for solidarity of Catholic churches in Asia and the world for that matter.

Therefore, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum, NCCP in Philippines, and RTRC in Thailand are jointly organizing an immediate online webinar to consider how we as followers of religions together can support and have solidarity with the Myanmar people. For this webinar we will invite two actors; one is a well-known Buddhist activist monk from Myanmar and a Diocesan Priest from Thailand situated near the Myanmar border to share vivid stories about the current situation there and discuss how peace-loving religions in Asia could unite and support.

Schedule: March 26, 2021 (Friday) 7:00-9:00 pm Philippine time
● Flow:

  1. Presentation by both the Presenters
  2. Discussion – after presentations by both the Presenters the talk is open for the online participants.
  3. Audience in online zoom and in real-time YouTube broadcasting if possible.

● Presenters:

  1. “Military coup and Buddhist response – more solidarity is needed!” -Ven. Bhikkhu Mandalar Zan / mandalarzan@gmail.com
  2. Religious response to the military coup in Myanmar-Ko Htwe/ Project Manager of Lay Mission Institute, Myanmer

● Discussion Panel:

  1. Ms. Norma Gonos / Director of Apo Governance and Indigenous Leadership Academy, Philippines
  2. Rev. Irma Mepico / Assistant Program Coordinator of the Christian Unity and Ecumenical Relations
    (CUER) -NCCP, Philippines
  3. Prof. Francis Lee / Executive director of JusPeace, Korea
  4. Fr. Vinai Boonlue, SJ/ Head of Euro Burma Office Foundation

Jointly Organized by ALL Forum, NCCP, RTRC

Join this webinar