PETALING JAYA: Asean leaders are urged to take proactive measures to prevent religion from being used to cause dissent among the communities in the region.
The International Forum on Buddhist-Muslim relations (BMF) said in a statement that recent conflicts such as the Rohingya issue in Myannmar and the inter-ethnic friction in southern Thailand had flared up in the region.
"Some of these conflicts spilled over into Asean countries, including Indonesia and Malaysia.
“So we urge the ministers of Asean to strengthen interfaith relations and not allow the use of religion to cause dissent among communities in Asean,” BMF secretary K.V Soon (pic) said in the statement.
Soon said when Buddhism and Islam were used to fuel prejudice and incite discrimination, it resulted in social unrest. This would retard the progress of Asean nations, he added.
He said this year was an important year for Asean as it will realise the formation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
“Any prospect for economic progress is critically dependent on a peaceful state of the nation.
“The Buddhist and Muslim population comprise about 80% of the Asean community so conflicts fuelled by extremism and radicalism could potentially destabilize the entire community,” he said adding that Buddhism and Islam are religion of peace.
A special Asean Ministerial meeting is to be held on Oct 2 to discuss the rise of radicalisation and violent extremism affecting Asean.
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