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Interfaith Programs

Muslims Support Interreligious Peace Council in Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand - The Committee for the Establishment of an Interreligious Peace Council in Thailand met with Imam Prasarn Srichareon, representative of Imam Aziz Pitakkhumpol, Sheikh of Thailand, on May 31 at the National Administration Center of Islamic Affairs in order to consult about the proposal to establish an Interreligious Peace Council in Thailand. The Sheikh, or Chularajamontri as he is called in Thailand, is the highest leader of Muslims in Thailand. The members of the committee included the representative of the director of the Office of National Buddhism, the President of Namtareesakhat Sikhs, and a Catholic leader.

Dr. Lek Thaveetermsakul, Secretary General of UPF-Thailand, gave a brief report about the proposal for an Interreligious Peace Council in Thailand, and Imam Prasan, representing the Chalarajamontri who has been ill, expressed his idea that this council would transcend the distinctions between the five main religions in Thailand and would need government cooperation

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In the past, the government tried to set up a committee for interreligious dialogue, but it never succeeded because of lack of continuity and sincerity in support of religions.  Even government officials, military officers, and security organizations still sometimes misunderstand Islam in Thailand, he said. The goal of Islam is peace and to live together with other religions in peace as well, so Muslims agree with and support the project to establish an interreligious peace council. However, it will not be easy to bring it into existence and there will be many obstacles to be faced. "Please persevere, be strong, and stand firm," he advised the committee. Moreover, he cautioned about the need to learn, be circumspect, and be careful, especially in areas where rituals and doctrine differ among religions. He talked about the need to understand and respect such differences but cooperate and work together on moral and ethical teachings to promote goodness and peace.

Mr. Anek Sanamchai, representing the director of of Office of National Buddhism, said that as a government organization under the Office of the Prime Minister, the Office of National Buddhism is ready to cooperate with the government in order to make such an Interreligious Council become an independent public organization under the support of the government.

Mr. Prasert Sriguruwal, President of Namtareesangkat Sikhism, expressed his agreement and a desire to see different religions working for peace. The government should support this effort, and he agreed that Buddhism should lead other religions in this initiative.

After that there was much discussion in support of the establishment of a council. Then lunch of halal food prepared by the Sheikh Islamic Office was served. After that the committee visited the office of the Sheikh, the Central Committee of Islam of Thailand, the Holy Mosque, and the grand conference hall of Islam.

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