Interfaith Dialogue on: Peace & Sustainable Development

Provincial seminar on “Peace and Sustainable Development” was conducted on 29th June 2018 at Kampong Chhnang town to open dialogue between religious group in this province to be close and understand each other with their acceptance. The dialogues was engage Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Baddhist Mahayana who are the major religion in the province to participated with total 152 participated (41 ladies). The program was join cooperate from the Department of Cult and Religion in Kampong Chhnang province with the harmonium participated from Chief Sangkat and vice chair of the DoCR whom gave the opening speech.

Welcoming the participants and introduce of the ACT work and how Interfaith work history is working so far by the ACT’s Executive Director with the topic on “Peace, Extremist faiths, Accountability, and Sustainable Development” were presented to participants to understand about peace and conflict, extremist faith and how we can avoid the violence with this extremist faith, social accountable from all parts in the society, and Sustainable development is partner and same way to peace building in development of the country mean no one hurt behind after the development.

Interfaith dialogues were presented by each faith leader from Buddhist: Ven: Nove Sophan, Christian: Ptr. Ros Hichor, Muslim: Mr. Man Math, and Mr. Eng Sovannara, Buddhist Mahayana (KovE) present their religious relate to gods teaching and relate to the natural resources management  that facilitated by Ms. Chanthea the project manager on Interfaith.  Group discussion was split religious group by their religion to seek for faith engage in peace and environment and presented by the groups:

Buddhist group contribute to peace and environment they engage in take care of the environment through the humanitarian program, provide opportunities to educate people to behave well, solidarity, reduce violence, leaving debauchery. The challenges: disagreement in the committee of each temple leaders, domestic violence, and Social issues and security issues, and conflict in a family of different religions. Suggestion: make more chance to disseminate of Buddhist education content widely, engage in faith and practice proper religious discipline, do not inspire and create other images that can ruin religion.

Christian group contribute to peace and environment: joint promote the community to stop violence, good communication with religion and people of different faiths, counselling to youth and children for peace in mental, teach communities to be hygienic, bring children and youth to clean the environment, tree planting and toilets. The challenge have: losing intimacy in families of different beliefs, discrimination, the hate speech and blasphemy,- Suggestion to Christians be patient, forgive, keep your faith strong, sharing to neighbours good dead, legal facilitates to open the chapel for worship, and please be an inter-religious harmony workshop continue in province, all religion good cooperation to be peace in community, and may each family not deprive their children of the freedom to respect other religions.

Muslim groups contribute with peace and environment: educate to people in own religious to love and share to people from different religion, love natural resources, participate in blood donation and distribution of gifts to the poor, join planting trees and clean the city. – The challenge has; members are less likely to practice their beliefs, less in respect for state and religious laws; there is criticism from member around and discrimination even in and out of religion, and lose confidence in education in their religion. Suggestion to people in their religions respects the principles of law and morality to avoid discrimination, and loving in tolerant in the same communities.

Buddhist Mahayana group contribute with peace and environment, encourage people to be mercy and all eight virtues; gratitude, love for brothers, honest, virtue, justice, cleanness, morality, and accept their wrong deed (embarrassment). Encourage people to understand the importance of eat vegetarianism that brings people to a sense of humour and reduces their appetite, and understanding the law of Karma. For environment they had contributing to protecting animals, and explain everyone to the environment, if there are many clergy, there is certainly a great deal of planting, which makes many green plants to increase oxygen. Challenge at first, there was criticism from people around, and feel the desire to quit.  Suggestion to people to be faithful in hold on to the will of action.

At the evaluation the participants expressed their interest with their expression  in participated in such dialogue to show other faith about their religion and build their understanding with other faiths as they use to misunderstandings and past miss behavior. 95% of participants enjoy and suggest the same program continue to different faith to build their relationship in this province.

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