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An Interfaith Event, highlighting the global refugee crisis

From 9:00am until 2:30pm


Jalan Ilmu, Off Jalan Universiti, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


The humanity crisis is deteriorating over the last few decades. The world has been witnessing the escalating acts of violence, terror, oppression, and persecution leading to bloodshed, massacre, destruction of resources and economic retardation. These man-made disasters have forced people to leave their countries to escape the terrible situations. According to the United Nation, we are approaching the highest level of displacement in history. Around 65.6 million people across the globe are forcibly displaced due to war and persecution, which means, in every single minute, 20 people are forced to leave their home. This figure includes 22.5 million refugees and 10 million stateless people who are denied the basic human rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. Sadly, 51 per cent from the total number of the world’s refugees are the innocent children. Despite the civilisational development, economic progress and sophistication of modern technologies, the humankind struggles to reclaim its basic sense of humanity – the natural interest towards the well-being of others. We have long lost our spiritual good of compassion, love and kindness. The corruption of minds and souls result in greed, selfishness, covetousness, arrogance and wrath. The passions for respect, values and altruistic behaviours for the welfare of people have been taken for granted. There is an urgency to call for peace at the conflicting zones of the world and to protect the innocents and minority group from injustice and persecution. The message of love, peace, justice and sustainability are commonly shared by all religions of the world. It is against this backdrop that the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia felt the needs to explore the roles of religions to combat injustice, genocide, oppression and extremism. Religious institutions indeed should be the main platforms to spread the message of interfaith harmony and goodness across the globe. In conjunction with the World Interfaith Harmony Week’s under the auspices of the United Nations, the Interfaith Refugee Day was organized by IAIS Malaysia on 3rd March 2018 with the flagship of ‘Love of God & Love of the Neighbour, Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbour’. This event was meant to empower religious institutions to be the main platforms in spreading the message of interfaith harmony and goodness across the globe. Two forums were held during this event. The first one; ‘Understanding the Global Refugee Crisis - The Need for Effective Solution & Strategy for World Harmony, Protecting the Stateless and Promoting Financial Inclusion’. This forum featured the activists and experts of the global refugee issues, namely: Richard Towle, Head of UNHCR Malaysia; Muhammad Noor, Co-Founder of Rohingya Project; Hasan Al-Akraa, Founder of Al-Hasan Volunteer Network; Lilianne Fan, International Director of Geutanyoe Malaysia; and Siti Zurianah Ismail of Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa. The second one was an interfaith forum on ‘Religious Contributions in Peace-Making Process: Calling for Justice, Love, Compassion and Mercy’ with speakers from multi-faith backgrounds; S. S. Datuk Abdul Halim Tawil, Mufti of Malacca; Most Ven. Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana Nayake Maha Tera, Buddhist High Chief Priest of Malaysia; Jason Leong, Founder & Advisor of Association of NextGen Christians of Malaysia (ANCOM); Dr. Jasbir Singh, President of Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia; and N.J. Singam, Vice-Chairman of National Religious Bureau of Malaysia Hindu Sangam. The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Most Reverend Julian Leow Beng Kim also attended the programme. The highlight of the event was the launch of Kuala Lumpur Interfaith Declaration on Global Refugee Crisis, officiated by Prof. Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali, the Founding CEO of IAIS Malaysia. It was a joint declaration by the participants of the programme consisting of the religious leaders from Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist communities, refugee activists, humanity champions and academics. The declaration signifies a solemn commitment towards overcoming the global refugee crisis, unbound by faith and cultural differences but in the name of humanity and harmony. Wonderful performances were presented by the refugees: Omar Alkhammash and Majd Hass duet on Arabic oud and flamenco guitar, displaying the layered influences and confluences of Oriental and Occidental music and culture; Refugeehood theatre by refugee chidren and youth, directed by Hasan Al Akraa and a spoken word poetry by Geeti Ara from Pakistan. The participants were served with foods from refugee community kitchen and there were booths of arts and handicraft products by the refugees. IAIS Malaysia was honoured to play a part in the noble cause of restoring humanity and spreading the message of interfaith harmony through this programme.

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