Jakarta (ANTARA) - All religious communities in the world should uphold the value of tolerance, said Swami Mitrananda, an Indian religious figure, during the 2023 ASEAN Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Forum (IIDC) in Jakarta on Monday.

Mitrananda, the director of the All India Chinmaya Yuvakendra (AICHYK) national project, affirmed that tolerance can be upheld only if all religious communities accept that everyone has different ways to worship based on their respective beliefs.

"Such acceptance is a prerequisite to put an end to conflicts between religious communities. When we accept it, we will be accommodating," he added.

If all people recognize the different ways of worship practiced by others, then everyone will, in turn, respect these differences.

Hinduism, he said, has demonstrated that its believers can live peacefully despite the religion having numerous holy books and figures.

"It is like the world of science, where not only one but numerous figures make contributions to it. The different views of the scientists are solidifying the science itself," he pointed out.

According to Mitrananda, religions should inspire people and urge their adherents to respect these different ways of worship practiced by different communities.

The 2023 ASEAN IIDC was organized in Jakarta on Monday under a collaboration between the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Executive Board of Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU), the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia.

The forum drew 200 participants, including 11 national speakers, 15 foreign speakers, and 27 delegates from ASEAN and guest countries, such as the United States, China, India, and Japan.

Speaking at the event, President Joko Widodo warmly welcomed the constructive role played by religious and cultural figures from member countries of ASEAN, which is currently chaired by Indonesia.

He also expressed optimism that the forum will serve as a solid foundation for developing ASEAN as an epicenter of growth as well as harmony.

"I believe that the ASEAN communities are capable of emerging as catalysts for stability and peace in the region and the world by driving ASEAN to not merely become the epicenter of growth but also of harmony," he said.

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Translator: Sean Filo, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Anton Santoso
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