ASIATODAY.ID, JAKARTA – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN is encouraging cross-religious and cultural dialogue programs to promote cultural richness in the region.
“ASEAN needs to continue to strengthen interreligious and intercultural dialogue programs, as well as design initiatives to promote respect and dialogue between cultures,” said Deputy Secretary General for ASEAN Politics and Security, Matheus Michael Tene in an official statement in Jakarta, Tuesday (14/11/2023 ).
To answer that, the Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy Conference was held by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia together with the Leimena Institute in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Tene regrets various acts of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief which have recently become more frequent.
“The ASEAN region recognizes pluralism and has established racial equality and freedom of belief as constitutional legal rights. However, in recent years, the social order of pluralistic societies has been hit in many places,” he said.
For this reason, Tene emphasized the importance of encouraging dialogue and understanding between cultures in order to protect minorities and combat hate speech, and most importantly, uphold freedom of opinion and expression.
Meanwhile, Leimena Institute Executive Director Matius Ho said the cross-cultural religious literacy approach was in line with the ASEAN Community strategy to support the post-2025 vision towards ASEAN 2045.
According to him, the cross-cultural religious literacy program held in Indonesia has attracted the interest of other countries such as South Africa, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, the United States and Vietnam.
“Indeed, during the two years that this program has been running, we have received invitations to various foreign countries to introduce cross-cultural religious literacy. “They want to know how this program is implemented in Indonesia,” said Matius.
He stated that cross-cultural religious literacy invites people to respect each other’s diversity and uphold human dignity. The cross-cultural religious literacy program takes a practical approach to help the community, especially educators, to have competence in establishing relationships with people of different religions.
According to him, cross-cultural religious literacy goes beyond the meaning of tolerance because people are encouraged to have competence and be able to collaborate with those of different religions.
“When different people work together peacefully, then slowly mutual trust will build, and furthermore we have to collaborate. Sometimes, we just let someone we don’t like, but if we collaborate, it means we can reach people different,” said Matthew.
The International Conference on Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy was held on 13-14 November 2023 in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of World Human Rights Day which falls on 10 December, involving 30 prominent speakers from within and outside the country. (AT Network)
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