Religious education to promote peaceful and inclusive societies

Religious and moral education can combat intolerance and promote peaceful and inclusive societies, speakers told a conference in Dhaka.

The two-day conference titled “Education towards Peaceful and Inclusive societies: The Role of Religion” was organized jointly by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Save and Serve Foundation on 24-25 March.

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Attending the inauguration, Education Minister Dipu Moni said, “Education has a big role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by creating an inclusive society that ensures gender equality and human rights for all.”

She also urged careful handling of the issue of growing Islamophobia worldwide.

Third graders on board a floating school in Bangladesh run by the nonprofit group Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha.

Adama Dieng, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, called for better collaboration between all sectors for building a peaceful and inclusive society, and prevention of atrocities.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s rich tradition, Dieng said, “Religious education in Bangladesh can contribute in promoting peace and respect for diversity nationally and internationally.”

UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Mia Seppo, citing the Christchurch shootings, said “Religious education can stop such violence targeting any religion and uphold pluralism in society.”

The conference brought together national experts and practitioners in the field of education and different religious groups to discuss about an alternative curriculum for religious education that would foster peace and inclusiveness.

Syed Tayabul Bashar, Chairman, Save & Serve Foundation, Shamim Afzal, DG, Islamic Foundation, Beatrice Kaldun, Head and Representative of UNESCO, Professor Atique Islam, VC North South University also spoke at the event.

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