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Issue #43 - 22 June 2007


1  Renowned scholar Karen Armstrong was in town for the 2007 Muis Lecture entitled The Role of Religion in the New Millennium at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia on Monday night, 18th June 2007. Jointly organised by Muis and the Muslim Converts Association of Singapore (Darul Arqam), the lecture was the second in the series that started last year. Last year's speaker was Sheikul-Azhar Sheikh Mohammad Tantawi of the Al Azhar University in Cairo.

2  Speaking to a rapt audience of about 850 people comprising members of the diplomatic community as well as political, community, youth and student leaders, Ms Karen Armstrong spoke about the role of compassion as the guiding philosophy of all the major religions. According to her, there was no such thing as bad religion, just the unskilled practice of religion. Fundamentalism, she added, was not the rallying war cry of extremist radicals, but  was a return to the basic idea of living as a compassionate community.  

Minister Yaacob Ibrahim chairing the talk by Ms Karen Armstrong 

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3  As followers of different faiths, there is a need to go beyond tolerance and to move toward an appreciation of other faiths. The golden rule for peace is to treat and respect others as we would want to be treated.  

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