Find areas of common concern among religions

The candid call by Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) president Mohammad Alami Musa to move interfaith dialogue beyond the sharing of meals is much welcomed (Interfaith dialogue 'needs to go beyond sharing of meals'; Oct 24).

Participating in dinner functions and other social events together certainly helps to promote personal friendships between members of different religions.

But friendly connections need to move to the next level of mutually understanding one another's religious beliefs and practices.

We must guard against using such interfaith events as "photo opportunities". They send wrong signals about religion and prayers.

The more essential goals of interfaith dialogue will have to take into account that there will always be differences in faith and practice due to the different religious traditions.

We have to understand and respect this diversity.

When we enter into serious discussion, we may come to realise that there are areas of common concern where we can engage together to enhance human dignity and advance common good.

We share the teachings of love, kindness, compassion, equality and justice, and every person of faith has an important role to play in the public sphere. In living and working together, we develop the moral and ethical aspects of individual lives and community life.

We share the teachings of love, kindness, compassion, equality and justice, and every person of faith has an important role to play in the public sphere.

In living and working together, we develop the moral and ethical aspects of individual lives and community life. We discover meaning and purpose in the human community.

Singapore, as the most religiously diverse country in the world, has the responsibility to show the way to existing in peace and harmony and preventing violent conflict. We have succeeded well so far.

With the impending threat of radicalism, extremism and terrorism, it is more urgent to escalate our interfaith relations to more important levels for our mutual survival and benefit.

Religious leaders are called upon to lead their followers actively to such enriching heights of interfaith dialogue.

Yap Kim Hao (Rev Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2017, with the headline 'Find areas of common concern among religions'. Print Edition | Subscribe