Catholic leader asks reli­gion min­istry for mi­nor­ity rep­re­sen­ta­tives

The Myanmar Times - - News - AUNG KYAW MIN aungkyawmin@mm­

A CAR­DI­NAL is call­ing for mi­nor­ity re­li­gions to be bet­ter rep­re­sented in the Min­istry of Reli­gion and Cul­ture.

The leader of Myan­mar’s Catholics, Car­di­nal Charles Maung Bo, sug­gested at an in­ter­faith meet­ing on Mar­tyrs’ Day that the min­istry launch desks for other faiths be­sides Bud­dhism.

The state coun­sel­lor hosted the in­ter­faith prayer at her home on Univer­sity Av­enue Road, Yan­gon, in hon­our of her fa­ther, Bo­gyoke Aung San, and his eight col­leagues who are com­mem­o­rated on the an­niver­sary of their deaths on July 19.

“The car­di­nal sug­gested that rep­re­sen­ta­tives of re­li­gions other than Bud­dhism should be avail­able to ad­vise the min­istry,” said U Aye Lwin, the leader of the Is­lamic Coun­cil of Myan­mar In­ter­faith Friend­ship Group, who was also present at the meet­ing.

Car­di­nal Bo said such rep­re­sen­ta­tion could as­sist in na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, and with the peace process.

“His sug­ges­tion is good be­cause the reli­gion min­istry has lacked the other re­li­gions’ rep­re­sen­ta­tion. I’m also sat­is­fied with it,” U Aye Lwin said

Na­tional League for Democ­racy pa­tron U Tin Oo, State Coun­sel­lor’s Min­is­ter U Kyaw Tin Swe, and lead­ers from each reli­gion all at­tended the in­ter­faith meet­ing and ob­served a minute of si­lence to show respect.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the 2014 cen­sus re­leased last week, of Myan­mar’s enu­mer­ated pop­u­la­tion of about 50.279 mil­lion, 89.8 per­cent are Bud­dhist, 6.3pc, or about 3.172 mil­lion, are Chris­tian, and only 1.147 mil­lion, or 2.3pc, are Mus­lim. How­ever, more than 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple were not enu­mer­ated, and all or most of them are as­sumed to be Mus­lim, bring­ing the pro­por­tion of Mus­lims in the pop­u­la­tion to some 4.3pc, a slight in­crease on the 3.9pc recorded in the cen­suses of 1973 and 1983.

Di­rec­tor of the Min­istry of Reli­gion and Cul­ture U Aung San Win de­clined to com­ment when asked for a re­sponse to the car­di­nal’s sug­ges­tion.

“I would like to re­mind ev­ery­one that ac­cord­ing to the 2008 Con­sti­tu­tion, all cit­i­zens have free­dom of reli­gion. They are able to ob­serve their reli­gious hol­i­day. For ex­am­ple, Chris­tians can cel­e­brate Christ­mas, and Mus­lims can ob­serve Eid,” he said. “I think the law is clear.”

Photo: Facebook/State Coun­sel­lor’s Of­fice

The state coun­sel­lor hosted an in­ter­faith prayer at her lake­side home on July 19.

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