The Words of the Tahir Family

Interfaith Activists Dialogue with Buddhists in Bangladesh

Muhammad Abu Taher
February 25, 2014
Department of World Religions and Culture
University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh -- A "Dialogue Between Interfaith Activists of Bangladesh and Members of Rissho-kossei-kai Bangladesh" was held at the Conference Room of the Dhaka University Senate Hall on Feb. 25, 2014. Rev. Norio Sakai, a great exponent of interfaith harmony and one of the top leaders of Rissho-kossei-kai, Japan, graced the occasion as the chief guest and Rev. Aritomi Mtsuyuki, head of the Rissho-Kossho-kai Mission in Bangladesh, was present as the special guest. Rissho-kossei-kai is a Buddhist lay movement founded in Japan in 1938 by Nikkyo Niwano and Myoko Naganuma.

Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam, director of the Center for Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue of Dhaka University, presided over the program. He sponsored the entire program.

Among the participants were Professor Rawshan Ara, vice president of the International Association for Religious Freedom, Bangladesh; Professor Nusrat Sultana, vice president of United Religions Initiative, Bangladesh; Professor Azizun Nahar Islam, head of the women's branch of the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace, Bangladesh; Mr. Shahid Hussain, general secretary of the International Association for Religious Freedom, Bangladesh; Professor Father Tapan Rozario, vice president of the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace, Bangladesh; Mr. Humayun Kabir of UPF-Bangladesh. Members of Rissho-Kosshei-Kai included Mr. Asoke Barua, head of Rissho-Kossei-kai in Bangladesh, and Mr. Pradip Barua Tapan, director of Rissho-Kosshei-kai NGO Bangladesh; other Buddhists took part in the open discussion.

All the speakers expressed their grave concern about the Buddhist-Muslim conflicts in Myanmar, Bangladesh and Thailand that have occurred periodically over the past two years. Rev. Sakaim expressed his solidarity with victims of these conflicts. He promised to urge the Japanese government to persuade the governments concerned to take measures so that minorities in these countries can live with dignity. In his speech as the special guest, Rev. Aritomi expressed the need for similar and frequent dialogues of this type to promote peace not only in these countries but everywhere in the world.,

In his presidential address Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam asserted that for the attainment of peace, there is no alternative to dialogue. He mentioned that the government of Bangladesh has rebuilt the all the damaged temples and houses of the affected Buddhists and gave compensations to the concerned people, but no compensation is enough to remove the unspeakable pains in people's hearts created by the incidents. He urged the Buddhists to be true to Buddha's philosophy of no-violence and the Muslims to strictly follow the teachings of the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

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