On Tuesday, February 02, 2016, all members of Young Interfaith Peacemaker Community Indonesia (YIPC) visited Sikh at Gurdwara. This activity is started at 10 a.m. When we arrived at Gurdwara, our Sikh guide told us about Sikhism as one of ten religions in Singapore.Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world founded in India precisely in Punjab by a teacher named Guru Nanak. Sikhs have four role models namely siri, teachers, grants and sahelo and there are 10 teachers that must be followed. Sikhs believe in one God but do not believe in the existence of heaven and hell. If a Sikh died, the body will be burned.
Sikhs have a concept of simplicity and equality. In Sikhism, there are no luxuries and higher degree. People are equal and should be respected and loved. In Singapore, Sikhs are one million. When they are going to do worship, they must come to the temple and read thebooks placed in the temple. Some people are allowed to take copies home by several requirements.
After visiting Sikh at Gurdwara, our next place to visit is Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) Singapore at 5 p.m. Mr. Check Woo from IRO explained about this organization with interractive delivery. IRO was founded in 1949 and recognized in March 18, 1949. IRO has worked to promote peace and religious harmony in Singapore with peace ways.
As time goes by, IRO organized more activities in line with its objectives. IRO has participated in local and international forums to study more about what is being done in the region to promote religious harmony. IRO has collaborated with organizations like World Council on Religion and Peace (WCRP) and Asian Council on Religion and Peace (ACRP).
IRO also conducts regular inter-faith prayers and blessings at ceremonies of public and private institutions. Increasingly, IRO has recognized as an effort for goodness. It was invited by government to conduct prayers at Singapore Armed Forces parade and also prayers for the victims and their families when Singapore Airlines’ plane crashed in Taiwan and Palembang.
Today, ten major religions in Singapore are represented in IRO. IRO organized also prayers events for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack in United States of America and the Bali Bombing, prayers for peace in Iraq and other countries affected by war, and prayers for victims of natural disasters like the earthquake in India and China, as well as the cyclone in Myanmar. In 2003, IRO organized a “Peace and Harmony Walk” at The East Coast Park. More than 2000 Singaporeans from various faiths and backgrounds took part in the event.
IRO has published several pamphlets and books including the book “Religions in Singapore” and “Religious Customs and Practices in Singapore”. Moreover, IRO council members also conducted study trips to countries including United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Indonesia, China and Philippines.
IRO will continue their effort to promote inter-religious peace and harmony until the years to come and the next decades.
After a presentation delivered by The Chief of IRO, Pak Ayi as the founder of YIPC also explained about religious harmony and freedom in Indonesia including an issue of Baha’i is recognized by The Minister of Religious Affairs but has been officially recognized yet by the government. At the end of the session, all YIPC members were invited to get dinner and the event is closed by photo session at 7.30 p.m.
By: Azhar Muhammad Akbar, Ahmad Taujan Dzul Farhan (Member YIPC Bandung)