Singapore Soka Association Engages in Interfaith Dialogues
On February 6, 2010, Singapore Soka Association (SSA) youth members attended an interfaith forum titled "Religious Boundaries and Common Space," organized by the Tampines West Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC), held at the Tampines West Community Club.
Attendees included Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, staff from Jamiyah Home for the Aged, members of Darul Ghufran Mosque, students and educators from schools in Tampines West as well as 70 SSA youth.
Laurence Wee Yoke Thong, executive director of Presbyterian Community Services, and Muhammad Saiful Alam Shah, executive officer from the Office of Mufti, shared Christian and Muslim perspectives. As a spokesperson from the Buddhist community, SSA Young Men's Leader Tan Wei Lan discussed the Buddhist principle of respect for the dignity of life and his conviction that actions based on this principle will engender a constructive platform for interfaith dialogues and exchanges.
On February 10, SSA representatives visited the Masjid Ba'alwi (Ba'alwi Mosque) to meet with Habib Syed Hassan Al-Attas, the imam and head of the mosque. The friendship visit was part of the Chinese New Year festivities. SSA General Director Ong Bon Chai presented Habib Hassan with a summary of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's 2010 Peace Proposal and a gift of mandarin oranges. Habib Hassan likewise presented two boxes of oranges to the SSA representatives and praised the organization for its activities that "aim at uncovering the strengths and abilities in each individual."
On February 11, SSA representatives met with Sister Theresa Seow, FDCC, chair of the Archdiocesan Council for Inter-religious and Ecumenical Dialogue. Sister Seow shared that "Intra-religious dialogue is sometimes even more challenging than inter-religious dialogue." The SSA members affirmed their determination to double their efforts to promote both inter- and intra-religious dialogues within their communities.
[Adapted from an article in the March 3, 2010, Issue No. 385 of the SSA Times, Singapore Soka Association; photo courtesy of SSA Times]