Themes and issues in research on interfaith and inter-religious dialogue in Malaysia

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Abstract

Malaysia is a multi-cultural melting pot with a blend of multi-racial and multi-religious population. Although Islam is the official religion of the country, the people are guaranteed freedom to practice any religion in peace and harmony. Respect for every believer to practise their faiths is enshrined in the Federal Constitution. Despite major differences in their beliefs and faith, Malaysian somehow managed to live harmoniously to a certain extent. This paper will discuss the relationship among different religious groups in the country and examine the challenges in the implementation of interfaith dialogue in Malaysia. The discussion is presented in four parts. The first part gives the background of Malaysia's multi-ethnic society. The second part revisits the concept of inter-faith and inter-religious relationship, exploring briefly on the history and development in Malaysia. In view of the increasing religious disputes invoked by a string of controversies affecting the already tense religious tension in the country, there is an urgent need to relook on the relevance of interfaith and interreligious dialogue in the plural society of Malaysia. Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Trustee of 1Malaysia Foundation emphasised that interfaith dialogue must continue to remain relevant in our multi-religious Malaysia, and genuine dialogue will lead to interfaith harmony. The third part highlights on the themes of the interfaith and inter-religious dialogue. It covers the issues related to the subject in discussion and examines the challenges in the application of the interfaith and inter-religious dialogue in Malaysia. They country needs credible interfaith mechanisms to enable different religions to interact intellectually and reinforce common values by discussing burning issues and perceivable obstacles to the promotion of peace and harmony through religious understanding and respect. The final chapter studies the way forward to address inter-religious discourse and its effect on national integration. It underscores the urgent need for a common platform that enables interfaith dialogue and mutual understanding. Points to be taken in mind when drafting programmes to promote interreligious understanding and harmony include the importance of ensuring that theological differences do not undermine the national goals of building a cohesive society. The fourth part concludes the paper with recommendations for considerations that may help improved and stabilised interfaith and interreligious relations in Malaysia.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1001-1009
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Natural and Applied Sciences
Volume6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 2012

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Malaysia
Research
religion
Religion
Trustees
Islam
Dissent and Disputes
Constitution and Bylaws
melting
History
history
Population

Keywords

  • Inter-religious dialogue
  • Interfaith
  • Issues
  • Malaysia
  • Research
  • Themes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Engineering(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Malaysia is a multi-cultural melting pot with a blend of multi-racial and multi-religious population. Although Islam is the official religion of the country, the people are guaranteed freedom to practice any religion in peace and harmony. Respect for every believer to practise their faiths is enshrined in the Federal Constitution. Despite major differences in their beliefs and faith, Malaysian somehow managed to live harmoniously to a certain extent. This paper will discuss the relationship among different religious groups in the country and examine the challenges in the implementation of interfaith dialogue in Malaysia. The discussion is presented in four parts. The first part gives the background of Malaysia's multi-ethnic society. The second part revisits the concept of inter-faith and inter-religious relationship, exploring briefly on the history and development in Malaysia. In view of the increasing religious disputes invoked by a string of controversies affecting the already tense religious tension in the country, there is an urgent need to relook on the relevance of interfaith and interreligious dialogue in the plural society of Malaysia. Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Trustee of 1Malaysia Foundation emphasised that interfaith dialogue must continue to remain relevant in our multi-religious Malaysia, and genuine dialogue will lead to interfaith harmony. The third part highlights on the themes of the interfaith and inter-religious dialogue. It covers the issues related to the subject in discussion and examines the challenges in the application of the interfaith and inter-religious dialogue in Malaysia. They country needs credible interfaith mechanisms to enable different religions to interact intellectually and reinforce common values by discussing burning issues and perceivable obstacles to the promotion of peace and harmony through religious understanding and respect. The final chapter studies the way forward to address inter-religious discourse and its effect on national integration. It underscores the urgent need for a common platform that enables interfaith dialogue and mutual understanding. Points to be taken in mind when drafting programmes to promote interreligious understanding and harmony include the importance of ensuring that theological differences do not undermine the national goals of building a cohesive society. The fourth part concludes the paper with recommendations for considerations that may help improved and stabilised interfaith and interreligious relations in Malaysia.",
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