Is the interfaith praying ceremony really effective?
ON MONDAY, public announcement was made that the interfaith ceremony will be held at the Aung San Studium on the evening of October 10.
Organisers announced that the ceremony is to take place in harmony among the different religious groups. They also informed the public that the event will be held from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
On the day of the event, the surrounding of Aung San Stadium transformed: light bulbs have been replaced and many street vendors vanished. Security at the entrance of the stadium has been buffed up as government officials and parliamentarians will be attending along with the public.
“We have been warned by municipal officers since October 9 morning not to stay near the stadium,” said U Aye Thaung, a street vendor.
Traffic jam swelled around the stadium as Maha Bandula Road, facing the City Hall, was shut down for security reasons.
“I took too much time to go from Tamwe to Sule, about one hour and it shouldn’t be. I can’t be peaceful with today’s traffic problem,” said U Moe Win, a taxi driver in Yangon.
A large crowd from various religious backgrounds gathered at the stadium. They looked pleased with the initiative, hoping for peace through their prayers.
As usual, social media had much to say about the ceremony, with opinions ranging from an extreme to the other.
Some suggested that it was the National League for Democracy (NLD) party’s strategy alike that of the military government prior to 2010. Some blamed the event for extended traffic jams. Some opposed the ceremony, skeptical of its impact. But others were pleased by the move, hoping for a better future.
“I’m not sure why the government holds the interfaith praying ceremony. How will it really affect the Rakhine conflict? I wonder whether it is because of the Rakhine issue or in view of the coming elections,” questioned U Myint Aung, a Yangon resident.
‘I’m not sure why the government holds the interfaith praying ceremony. How will it really affect the Rakhine conflict?’
U Myint Aung Yangon resident
The praying ceremony is held nationwide under the leadership of the NLD and the party has requested every state and region to host the event.
The NLD-led government is facing increasing international pressure to address the current crisis in Rakhine State where thousands have been displaced as Myanmar’s military responded to terror attacks.
As a response, the government intends to promote harmony among the various religions to ease internal pressure.