Building peace in troubled times
Building peace in troubled times

As the Constitution development process in Nepal draws to a climax, protests have erupted throughout the country as various groups seize the opportunity to make their demands known. Ethnic identity is a key issue, but many people are also concerned about religious freedom and secularism. The debate has the potential to cause or worsen rifts in the community between different religious groups.

This is a great concern for the Interfaith Peace Network in Morang. Established with support from UMN and its local partner, the network has been building relationships between adherents of the five religions of the Terai (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and the Kirat faith) for many years now. Representatives of the faith groups have learned to respect and listen to each other, and now understand each others’ core beliefs and points of view much better. They believe that religious intolerance has no place in their community.
Recently, representatives held a Press Conference, where speakers from the five faiths spoke strongly about the need for the state to ensure religious freedom for everyone, and to treat all religions equally. It is only in this way that lasting peace can be enjoyed by all, they argue.
The response from the community has been very positive. The network is much encouraged to know that many people appreciate its efforts to raise the issue in a positive, non-violent way. Now, the network plans to organise an interfaith peace dialogue among faith leaders from Jhapa, Sunsari and Morang, to continue to build peace and harmony.

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