Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Myanmar's religious diversity

The House of One network extends as far as Southeast Asia. Prof. Dr. Samuel Ngun Ling from Myanmar - to many better known under the old name Birma - is visiting us this Wednesday. The Protestant theologian heads the Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT) in the capital Yangon (formerly Rangoon).

In conversation with Pastor Gregor Hohberg, the idea of the House of One and interreligious dialogue was discussed, as well as the situation of Christians and Muslims in the predominantly Buddhist country. Over the years, MIT has developed a dialogue programme for Christians and Muslims.

For many decades, however, religious conflicts have repeatedly occurred and minorities have been politically oppressed. Recently the brutal persecution of the Muslim Rohingya, in which many people died, determined the reporting about Myanmar.

Professor Ling therefore tries with his institute, in addition to the dialogue with the Buddhists, to strengthen the exchange with the Muslims. A difficult task.

A conference on understanding between Christians and Buddhists took place in Yangon in 2015, the results of which are summarised in the anthology "Buddhist and Christian Attitudes to Religious Diversity" (Ling's Family Publication, Myanmar). Editors are Samuel Ngun Ling and the theologians Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Großhans and Prof. Dr. Perry Schmidt-Leukel.