Church Promotes Muslim-Buddhist Dialogue in Order to Stop Violence

November 8, 2005

Author: Weena Kowitwanij

Source: Asia News

Krabi (AsiaNews) – The violence in southern Thailand is "political and not religious" in nature, and the government "must remember that Muslims and Buddhists live in peace with equal dignity", said the Toh-kru or Muslim teacher Suhthorn Simun during a conference entitled Dialogue of life with Muslims that was organised by the Episcopal Commission for Inter-religious and Cultural Dialogue in the southern province of Krabi.

In his presentation—The Muslim view towards other religions—, the scholar explained that "understanding is the most important thign for living together in a community that includes people of different religions".

"People in the village of Krabi are equally divided between Muslims and Buddhists, but they are able to live together. Mutual respect is the key element to their shared life".

The Toh-kru stressed that in "in the three southern provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala, [scene of separatist violence between Muslims and Buddhists] residents are disheartened because clashes are political in nature. The right thing to do involves solving the political issues and stop using religion as a pretext. Even though we have different faiths, we live well thanks to mutual understanding. We are created equal with the same human dignity."

Simun explained that in Muslim schools, "students are taught about goodness, respect for the brothers and sisters in other religions and love of country. We do not teach about the division of the motherland".