Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cambodian PM urges religious harmony in ASEAN


Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to harmonize their religious beliefs towards a peaceful and religious violence free region.

Speaking at the opening of the 8th ASEAN socio-cultural community council meeting at the capital's Peace Palace, the premier pushed the region to conduct studies in order to find ways for religious harmony.

"We have seen that religious conflict has been spreading in the world and it has just flowed into our ASEAN region," he said.

"Practically, violence and mutually brutal killings among different religious believers in some of ASEAN member states in the recent past are a new event that is attracting interest from international community," he said without specifically identifying countries in religious conflicts.

The premier said that it was very important to give attention to religious issues in order to ensure stability, sustainability and harmony on religious beliefs in the bloc.

"The strengthening of religious harmony in our region is the most necessary task," he said, adding that the bloc should not underestimate such conflict.

Meanwhile, he also hailed his country for no religious row even though there are multi-religions existing in the society.

"For the time being, Cambodia is fortunate because the country has never had religious violence even though 96 percent of the country's population is Buddhist, 2 percent is Muslim, and the remaining 2 percent is Christian and other religions," he said.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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