This data was last updated on 17 October 2014.
Type of Organization: Interfaith
Constructive Practices: Promotion of Inter-Religious Dialogue, Press Relations, Information Dissemination
Mission: According to IRO's website, the organization's aim is to "work together to promote inter-religious understanding, peace and goodwill in Singapore." The IRO strives to "recognize the secular nature of Singapore, promote cohesion within their society, respect each other's freedom of religion [as we grow] our common space while respecting our diversity." Finally, IRO also intends to "foster inter-religious communications" in order to "ensure that religion will not be abused to create conflict and disharmony in Singapore."
History: IRO was established in 1949 as a result of an interfaith reception that was organized to welcome His Eminence Maulana Shah Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddiqui Al Qadiri, a renowned itinerant Muslim missionary from India who was well respected by peoples of different faiths in the then Crown Colony of Singapore. During the inception of this organization, Maulana Shah Muhammad stated, "the task of the religious leaders [is] to let the followers of each and every religion know the teachings of other religions, so that a spirit of fellowship might be created among them and so that they could all work together to spread the accepted moral principles and to fight the common evils."
Programs and Events: IRO plays a crucial role in maintaining the religious harmony in multi-racial Singapore. Among IRO's earliest projects was an attempt was to quell the racial violence between the Malay and Chinese communities in 1964. During this period, IRO held meetings with various religious leaders in order to urge restraint. Currently, IRO organizes events such as conferences on issues dealing with religious harmony. They also publish resources for fostering interfaith harmony in Singapore. They participate in Singapore’s National Day celebrations by organizing interfaith prayers and events to celebrate that day. The organization regularly participates in charity work to help the needy. In 1999, postage stamps in three different denominations commemorating 50 years of IRO’s achievements were issued by Singapore’s postal service. All of IRO's programs and publications can be found on its richly informative website. Of particular note, the website offers profiles of the various religious traditions in Singapore: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Baha'i.