Religious cross-learning already happening in Singapore

I disagree with Dr Yeoh Teng Kwong (Unrealistic to aim for inter-religious society; June 9).

It may be difficult to have an inter-religious society, but not unrealistic.

We each may have our own religious beliefs and claims to truth.

But, that does not mean we cannot respect others' religious beliefs and allow them the freedom to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience.

Regular engagement, dialogues and cross-learning across religious lines are already happening in Singapore and globally.

Some are facilitated by the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle, while others are initiated by different faiths.

I am often invited to join the iftar (breaking of fast) with my Muslim brothers. In return, I invite them, as well as those of other religious groups, to attend religious events in my church, where they learn about our beliefs.

We do not proselytise our faiths to one another, but gain a greater respect, love and understanding of one another's faiths, even though our doctrines may be different.

Globally, the Brigham Young University law school has been organising an annual international symposium since 1994 that promotes the freedom to practise one's religion.

Muslims, Jews, Methodists and Catholics have joined hands with Mormons because we share one common goal: To aim for an inter-religious society and the freedom to worship.

Singapore with its multiracial, multi-religious society is best suited to be a beacon to the world in building an inter-religious society. We have to keep working towards it.

Patrick Tan Siong Kuan (Dr)


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2018, with the headline 'Religious cross-learning already happening in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe