Religious groups plan secular event for young people

YOUNG people and the issues they face will be the focus of an upcoming event hosted by the different religious organisations in Singapore.

The secular event, which will also zoom in on the importance of religious harmony, is slated to be held next year and could be a dialogue, a conference or a series of talks.

Plans for the event, called the Youth Assembly for Peace and Harmony, are still at a preliminary stage, with representatives from five different groups meeting for the first time last Friday.

They were Muslim missionary society Jamiyah Singapore, Buddhist society the Singapore Soka Association, the Hindu Endowment Board, the Mahakaruna Buddhist Society and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Dr Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, nominated chairman of the working group for the event, said that the group hoped to reach out to more people by making it secular.

Citing the example of a Muslim-led but secular art festival in Chicago called Takin' It to the Streets, Dr Nawab, a Jamiyah Singapore executive committee member, said: "(The festival) gets troubled youths, such as those on drugs, involved and infuses good values in them."

Objectives for the event were also firmed up at last Friday's meeting.

These include helping young people realise their role in promoting peace among different faiths and races; motivating them to widen their network beyond their groups; and highlighting issues beyond Singapore.

Mr Eric Woon, director of the public affairs council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said: "Our youth may be facing several challenges, but they also enjoy many opportunities. The event should expose them to the gamut of possibilities, from wrong choices to right ones."

Singapore Management University graduate Jagsham Singh, 24, said the event will pique the interest of young people, as it is not something they often encounter in schools.

"I think more will turn up if they hold it at a place that will appeal to youth, with activities tailored to them," he added.

This article was first published on July 28, 2014.
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