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UPF-Malaysia e-Newsletter

Panel Session at Interfaith Week

18 February 2012

Malaysia Interfaith Harmony 2012UPF Malaysia celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week on February 18 with a video screening of the search for spirituality in all religions, followed by an illuminating panel discussion on practical approaches to peace. Drawing a crowd of about 100 participants from various faith traditions, the event – held at a meeting hall in Kuala Lumpur -- highlighted the need for all religions to establish "Common Ground for the Common Good." The panel discussion, moderated by UPF Council member Datin Zam, featured a Christian church elder Joseph Thambiah and UPF Malaysia council member Encik Mahadi Mohamad. Earlier, in welcoming participants at the start of the event, UPF Malaysia President Tan Sri Devaki Krishnan explained that the World Interfaith Harmony Week was initiated by King Abdullah II of Jordan two years ago. After her speech, representatives of five religious traditions poured cups of water into a common bowl to symbolize their unity of hearts. Representing the Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh, and Hindu faiths in this Water of Peace ceremony were Mahadi Mohamad, UPF-Malaysia council member; Venerable Hemaloka of Buddhist Maha Vihara Brickfields; Pastor Maniam Muniandy of Grace Assembly Carey Island; Dr. Pall Singh of the Sikh faith; and Mr. S. Selvalingasivam of Malaysia Hindu Sangam. The event was supported by the Buddhist Maha Vihara, INSAF, Malaysia Hindu Sangam, Unificationism, and Women for Family Welfare Promotion of Selangor and the Federal Territory (Women's Federation for World Peace).

Image caption: Multi-religious dedication

Council members attend Korea ILC

21-25 January 2012

ILC Seoul, South KoreaUFP Malaysia Council members Mr Shanmugam Munusamy and Mr Ponnudurai Supramaniam participated in UPF International’s ILC held in Korea over the Chinese New Year holidays last January 21-25. The conference brought together 200 participants from 72 nations to consider possible roads to peace with particular focus on security issues related to Northeast Asia and the Korean peninsula. In several tightly debated sessions, experts from Russia, the United States, Japan, and South Korea considered the implications of current developments and pondered the relative effectiveness of “hard power” options (political, military, and economic) and “soft power” alternatives including citizen diplomacy, humanitarian, cultural, and even religious and interfaith responses to conflict. A highlight of the conference was a celebration of the second United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week, observed around the first week of February each year. Meeting in the Cheon Bok Goong, a modern interfaith sanctuary, representative religious leaders from nine faiths – Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, Sikhism, and Unificationism – offered prayers and lit candles in a spirit of reconciliation.

Image caption:  UFP Malaysia Council members Mr Shanmugam and Mr Ponnudurai participated in UPF’s ILC in Korea.

Malaysians Attend and Help Mindanao Events

29-31 March 2012

ILC in Mindanao, PhilippinesMalaysia sent three delegates and a team of volunteer workers for the International Leadership Conference (ILC) and Interfaith Peace Blessing 2012 in Mindanao, Philippines last March. A total of 250 Asian delegates participated in the ILC held in Davao, the principal city on the island of Mindanao, on March 29-30. Organized by the Universal Peace Federation and co-sponsored by the Mayor of Davao, it was themed "The Role of Interfaith Harmony and Good Governance in Peace and Development." The next day, March 31, UPF partnered with the Mindanao provincial government of Sultan Kudarat to hold the Interfaith Peace Blessing Festival at the provincial capital stadium. The largest gathering ever in that venue in the history in the province, news sources put the number of attendees at 20,000 while a source in the provincial government said the number was could be as high as 35,000. In addition,130 international guests from 28 nations – an unprecedented size – came as observers. Malaysian delegates at the twin events were Encik Mahadi Mohd, Pastor Maniam Muniandy,and Ven. Sri Saranankara Nayaka Thero. A team of Malaysian volunteer workers, led by UPF Malaysia secretary general Rev. Sam Yeoh, assisted in the events. Encik Mahadi and Pastor Maniam also received the Ambassador For Peace awards at the ILC. The festival changed the image of Mindanao. Instead of communal fighting based largely along religious lines, Mindanaoans of the Muslim, Christian and other faiths came together maintaining their separate religions and yet recommitting their marriage and family life jointly as "one family under God." Before the marriage ceremony, young people took a pledge of purity, promising to save sex until they were married. At the end of the peace festival, dignitaries signed the Mindanao Peace Initiative. In addition, UPF launched 37 chapters in Mindanao.

Image caption:  A commemorative photo of Dr.Kook Jin Moon with international delegates: Malaysian delegates are Mr.Mahadi Mohd.(far right), Pastor Maniam Muniandy (2nd from right) and Ven.Sri Saranankara Nayaka Thero (far right seated)