UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE Southeast Asia & the Pacific Regional E-Newsletter

Selamat Pagi, Malaysian Interfaith Network (MIN) CC!

The Malaysian Interfaith Network is a pre-existing organization that was launched in February 15, 2003. Represented by different religious leaders, it aims to organize programs to get Malaysians to practice unity, peace and the common values of different religions in order to create a more harmonious and peaceful society in multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia.

Its theme is based on The Golden Rule: “Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated”—which is found in all the scriptures of major religions. This is MIN’s response to the need to promote common moral values found in different religions.

MIN’s Mission is primarily three-pronged: 1) to proactively promote DIALOGUE between faith organizations in Malaysia; 2) to foster better UNDERSTANDING of common concerns and values and areas of contention; 3) to organize specific ACTIONS, sharing information, service and advocacy.

Aside from the URI Charter, MIN draws inspiration from two documents as their guiding vision statement, namely: 1) the DECLARATION ON RELIGIOUS HARMONY which was signed by representatives of all faiths on September 16 2001 in Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA; and 2) The TAIPING DECLARATION on the CULTURE of PEACE which was adopted at the International Seminar of cities, meeting in the Peace Park in the historic town of Taiping (which means “Everlasting Peace”) in Malaysia on September 2001.

Some MIN key projects include an interactive website, a program on promoting The Golden Rule, an action calendar—Days of Action, how to make international days (UN days of Environment, Tolerance etc) work for promoting interfaith Harmony—A “Malaysia Day of Harmony” September 16 (the day Malaysia was established) is planned. Currently, MIN membership is composed of 22 people coming from the Muslim, Roman Catholic & Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Baha’I faith traditions.


URI Statement on the Crisis in the Middle East

(Approved by the Standing Committee on behalf of the Global Council of
the United Religions Initiative)

As trustees of the Global Council of the United Religions Initiative, we write to urge an immediate and complete ceasefire of violence that is currently happening in the Middle East, and a commitment by all parties, including the international community and the world's religions, to find the will to complete, implement and invest in a comprehensive peace agreement that will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

We write as leaders of the URI, a global interfaith organization active in 70 countries, through the work of 400 member Cooperation Circles. URI's purpose is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. We have many members in the Middle East, including Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians and Egyptians. The URI has consultative status at the UN through ECOSOC.

As leaders of an interfaith organization dedicated to resolving conflict without resorting to violence, we recognize and laud the heroic work of Palestinians, Israelis and peace advocates all over the world who are dedicated to rising above the violence and working for peace, justice and healing.

We believe that a new day is possible when a comprehensive, just peace will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

We call on all involved - Israelis and Palestinians, people of other nations, international bodies, religions, and grassroots groups working heroically for peace - to take the following steps to speed the dawning of that day:

* To stop the violence immediately.

* To supply immediate humanitarian aid to address urgent suffering and long-term aid to rebuild.

* To commit to negotiate, invest in and implement a comprehensive peace agreement that will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

* To invest in every means possible to weave a fabric of genuine, mutually honoring community among Palestinians and Israelis at the grassroots level.

* To invest less in armaments and more in social and economic infrastructure.

We commit to do all we are able, beginning with support for URI member Cooperation Circles in Israel and Palestine, and engaging our members around the world to help these steps be fulfilled.

And we commit to pray and meditate that violence will cease, peace prevail and a life of hope be restored to the long-suffering people of this region.

URI Global Youth CC Statement on the current situation in Gaza.

We, the members of the Global Youth Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative, wish to express our concern at the current situation in Gaza. Conflict creates hardship and fear for people on both sides and takes its toll on civilians, both young and old, and the livelihood of communities and economies.

As a youth network we sympathise with our fellows, the young people who are caught up in the crisis, in both Gaza and in the Israeli communities that live in fear of rocket attacks. Young people are the future of any community and we feel that they should not have to live amidst a cycle of violence and hardship. In order for young people to make meaningful and healthy contributions to society, it is imperative that they grow and develop within a space of security and integrity.

We are also concerned about those who are vulnerable in these times, such as the elderly and the sick. They need access to medical resources and clean, safe environments. In times of crisis these people suffer the most because basic facilities are less accessible.

They also need to live without the fear created by constant attacks. This situation is robbing people on both sides of basic human rights that are theirs by international law.

We implore both sides to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation and reduce hostilities so that aid and supplies can reach the people of Gaza to alleviate their suffering and so the Israeli people can live without fear. It is our hope that both sides can cooperate in order to achieve a lasting peace and quality of life for all people. Our goal, as members of a global interfaith community, is to achieve this all over the world.