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

e-newsletter: May - July, 2011

e-newsletter: May - July, 2011



We welcomed the following two new CCs in our SEAPac Family:


This group are the second batch from the Tala community in Metro Manila who have undergone the "inner work" program of the Peacemakers' Circle.

They have built strong interfaith relationships and have been active in the local government projects e.g. cleaning and greening programs in the community. They are self motivated group and are recipients of microfinance grants from the Department of Social services and Development of the Government. Mr. Eric Tomarompong is the CC Leader


These young Muslim - Christian youths aged 13 years upward who have bonded well as a group and are doing good in interfaith understanding and relationships.

They recently completed a Leadership training program by the Peacemakers' Circle under the Bowes' Award Program. The CC is led by Crispin Lingkuran


Dya Singh world music group CC at the Manchester international festival in UK

On 7th to 9th of July this year, ‘Dya Singh' group were involved in a very rewarding 'experiment' by the Manchester International Festival UK. They were invited for a 'Sacred Sites' segment within the festival, a 'first' by a major 'mainstream' international festival anywhere in the world. It also involved other 'religious music' artistes of international stature.

The general public was invited into selected 'sacred sites' in Manchester of the Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Christians and Muslims. It was a cautious attempt to get the general public to come and hear sacred music in its own sacred environment. It proved to be a tremendous success towards racial and especially religious harmony, as each 'faith' accommodated other-faith listeners into their sacred sites with top artistes of each discipline.

The group for this occasion, comprising of Craig Preuss, a Christian with devoted interests in Indian spiritual philosophy and a world famous music director; Dheeraj Shrestha, a Nepalese Hindu/Buddhist percussionist; Quentin Eyers, a Christian; and Jamel Dhillon, had the privilege to perform traditional brand of Sikh sacred song and music, but with non-Sikh artistes, to about 1,500 'mixed congregations' over three nights including one performance which also included Anuradha Paudwal from the Hindu faith who joined in to sing with us our sacred music.

The Peacemakers’ Circle CC hold session#1 of Bowes Award Project with the Quiapo Muslim-Christian youth

The Peacemakers' Circle held its first session (July 17, 2011) with the Muslim-Christian youths of Quiapo, Manila to kick-off a 4-session program as part of an extension of the Bowes Youth Leadership project granted by the United Religions Initiative.

The youths were selected and organized with the support and assistance from the Manila Muslim-Christian Community Peacemakers Association, Inc.

During their first encounter the youth participants were divided into small groups to get to know each other and establish friendships; and were engaged in discussions on:

What are their impressions about the other religion (positive or negative)?
What do they already know about the other religion?
What do they wish to know? or What do they wish to ask about the other?
and What are their expectations from the program and the coming interactions/meetings?

It was a very insightful and enriching session that opened hearts and minds towards understanding each other's different faith traditions.


KAMAYAN Forum with URI-SEAP and Peacemakers’ Circle

Representatives from the Peacemakers’ Circle were featured in the 3rd June Kamayan Para Sa Kalikasan monthly forum for the world environment month of June tackled the theme: How have the various Religions and Faith Traditions led and helped their respective flocks become more loving and effective stewards of God's Creation? Is Inter-Faith Synergy possible?

The Speakers were: Dr. Abdulhusin "Jo" Kashim (Islam); Dr. Shakuntala Vaswani (Hinduism) and Ms. Tomomi Shima (Shumei - Japanese spiritual organization)

Kamayan para sa Kalikasan is convened jointly by CLEAR Communicators for the Environment and SanibLakas ng mga Aktibong Lingkod ng Inang Kalikasan (SALIKA), with full sponsorship from the Kamayan Restaurant.

GreenFaith Australia CC and Boroondara Interfaith Network: Religion and Ecology Forum

GreenFaith Australia CC in partnership with The Boroondara Interfaith Network marked World Environment Day, Sunday 5 June 2011, with a forum on the theme of Religion and Ecology hosted at the Leo Baeck Centre for Progressive Judaism. The event supported by a climate change awareness project of the City Of Boroondara’s Health, Aging and Disability Department.

This second 2011 event of the Boroondara Interfaith Network captured many of the fears, hopes and strength in community that people of different faiths are experiencing in the face of climate change and the complexities of our ecological and social condition.

For the full story, click on http://boroondarainterfaith.wordpress.com/religion-and-ecology-forum/

For more information on GreenFaith Australia visit www.GreenFaithAustralia.org

WIN Foundation (Australia) CC: Sacred Music Concert for Japan

The Women’s Interfaith Network Foundation, Australia CC staged a Sacred Music Concert in aid of the victims of the Japan Earthquake on June 19, 2011 at Collingwood College Auditorium, Cromwell Street, Collingwood.

Performers for the concert were Dya Singh, Fuefukuro, Uncle Reg Blow, Parvyn Singh, Josh Bennett, NIGGUN Collective (Jewish), Fo Guang Shan – Buddhist Lite International Victoria, various Gospel choirs and more...

Many organisations joined forces in support of the cause including URI, COMMON (Centre of Melbourne Multifaith & Others Network), GreenFaith Australia, Cultural Infusion among others.

It was a FREE concert open to all. The money that was raised was sent directly to United Sikhs who were on the ground in Japan. They prepared and distributed food and essentials to those in need.

YPDP Cambodia CC: Peace through Technology workshop

Peace through Technology workshop was conducted at Cambas Primary School, Voasar commune, Samraong Tong district, Kompong Speu province, Cambodia on Sunday, June 26, 2011. The workshop was organized by Youth Partner for Development and Peace (YPDP) CC and was attended by 68 participants (30 women) coming from various high schools in Kompong Speu. The workshop was organized to encourage the youth to learn and understand widely about technology and maximize the use of it in their study, work, network building, and for community development. The activity provided a venue for learning, interaction and inspiration for action.

URI at 11: URI SEAP-Peacemakers Circle CC celebration

In celebration the 11th anniversary (June 26th) of the charter-signing of the global grassroots network---United Religions Initiative (URI)-- The Peacemakers' Circle, in cooperation with the URI Southeast Asia-Pacific regional office, gathered members and friends to its regular Tuesday Inner Work Circle for an open evening of interfaith prayers, video viewing, friendship-building and sharing.

Some 30 people turned up for an intimate celebration that saw old-time members bring along their friends from different faith communities. As a way of spreading the awareness they were asked to bring newcomers to the circle for them to be introduced to local and global interfaith peacebuilding work by personally meeting and building friendships among each other.

Among those who came were friends from the United Muslim-Christian Peacemakers' Association of Tala, Caloocan; Shumei Philippines; Filipino Buddhist community; Sanib Lakas Foundation; and regular attendees of the Tuesday Inner Work Circle.

Among new friends who attended were from: Ateneo Student Catholic Action; Metropolitan Community Church (an LGBT Christian group); and the Philippine Independent Church.

During the sharing around the circle, many among the new comers expressed joy and gratitude for having been introduced to the interfaith community and were inspired and affirmed by the experience of witnessing warm and sincere relationships among people of different faith traditions.

In the spirit of URI, it is hoped that interfaith friendships continue to grow towards enduring cooperation and harmonious synergy for a better world in the many more years of celebration to come.


INSAF CC in Malaysia hosted a talk on May 14, 2011 on “The Prosperity of Humankind” delivered by Dr. Inderjit Singh Luder, a prominent family physician practicing in Kuala Lumpur. The activity was part of the series of talks regularly organized by INSAF which is open to the Public and free of charge.

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.