The Responsibility of Religions for Peace in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
Center for Peace-building and Reconciliation, Sri Lanka
Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thero
Director of the Walpola Rahula Institute for Buddhist Studies
Dr. Al Haj U Aye Lwin
Chief Convener, The Islamic Centre of Myanmar,
Founder and Core Member, Religions for Peace, Myanmar
President, Religions for Peace, Myanmar
Head of Asia Programme,
German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
Religious communities are increasingly being mobilized for religious and armed conflicts across Asia. Majoritarian religious nationalism has especially taken root in ethnically diverse countries such as Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The origins of such movements often date back to colonial times and indicate a weak statehood with non-consolidated political systems. Religious leaders are generally not interested in seeing religions used for political purposes. They are, however, increasingly called upon by the international community and ngos to engage in dialogue and reconciliation efforts and assume a bigger role in diffusing conflicts.
Our event will focus on the role of religion especially in the conflicts in Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Our aim is to unravel the opaque dynamic of actors involved in the conflicts and to explain their goals for instigating inter-religious violence. We will discuss how religions are being utilized for ideological and political ends, and how they can respond to this. We will explore how religious communities can help contain extremism and which opportunities and obstacles they face in reaching out to the public and defusing conflicts.
The event will be held in English.