By IMTIAZ MUQBIL
Bangkok – The Malaysia-based Global Movement of Moderates Foundation and the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, have signed an MoU to expand academic research in “religious moderation” as a universal force for peace, shunning all forms of extremism, nationalism and absolutism.
Signed on April 5 at a conference designed to promote exactly that agenda, the MoU opens a door for travel & tourism academics to expand their focus beyond the current crop of mundane topics and promote the linkage between tourism and religions as forces of peace and moderation rather than division and conflict.
Religion, faith and spirituality lie at the heart of Asian heritage, but their role in travel & tourism has been relegated to that of physical icons deserving of superficial admiration, with no deeper introspection. That can now be changed.
The conference, the first of its kind held in Thailand, was co-organised by the Institute of Asian Studies, the Muslim Studies Centre, Global Movement of Moderates Foundation, Wasatiyyah Institute for Peace and Development of Thailand and the Chula Global Network.
Another speaker, Dr. Nasharudin Mat Isa, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Global Movement of Moderates Foundation, said, “A terrorist, whatever its propensity – be it Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or Christian – should always be identified and condemned as a terrorist – and never by his or her religious affiliation.
“At the other end of the spectrum, there are sects of people who seek to define and promote Islam and its terminologies according to their own whims and desires, forgoing the true and correct disciplines of Islamic knowledge. These two sets of extremes has also given birth to the clash of confusion, between Arabisation and Islamisation. There needs to be a differentiation between the two, in order for peaceful coexistence to take place.”
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