Inter-Faith Dialogue Important Way to Root Out Prejudices

January 2, 2007

Author: Asha Popatlal

Source: Channel News Asia

SINGAPORE: Inter-faith dialogue is an important way to root out prejudices in a multi-religious society, especially so now, when extremist groups are taking every opportunity to build hatred between different communities.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made these points at an inter-faith gathering.

As 10 religious group leaders stood together on one stage and said a joint prayer, their different colours also reflect a world where people of different religions now live side by side, making religious relations a pressing issue for many.

Now, while different religions may preach similar moral standards and values, there are distinct differences between them.

Mr Lee recognised that some people may not be comfortable with the idea of inter-faith dialogue and interaction, but he said we cannot afford to remain ignorant of each other, especially since extremist groups are using every chance to sow distrust and hatred between communities, especially between Muslims and non-Muslims.

"To root out the stereotypes and prejudices that form the fault-lines in a multi-religious society, it is crucial to have a process of dialogue and engagement. Such dialogue is not aimed at achieving agreement, but at building a relationship," said Mr Lee.