Panel Discussion Series #4: The Role of State And Religious Leaders In Protecting Freedom of Religion and Belief
Date: 1st December 2020
Time: 2.30 – 4.oo pm (Kuala Lumpur)
State and religious leaders should play a vital role to protect freedom of religion and belief within their executive power and through social legitimacy that they have garnered. Nevertheless, their role in this regard has not been adequately accounted for. Some even have conveyed criticisms of their policies, speeches and actions that are insensitive to the human rights of the minorities from religious, ethnic and other groups affiliations.
Hence, this panel discussion would like to recall their role in protecting freedom of religion and belief in line with the international guidelines and best practices, and the Muslim-majority context. How these guidelines and best practices can be in the best way implemented in Malaysia despite of difficult challenges such as different manifestations of discrimination in the society and laws, increased hate speeches especially on online spaces and the lack of interreligious and interracial education? If there is a room of improvement, which one should be the priority and most viable to effect positive change?
Dr. Nurul Haq Sharir | United Nations Population Fund
Nurul Haq Shahrir is a Reference Expert of Religions for The United Nations, advising the international organisation on matters pertaining to religious affairs. His expertise in diplomatic relations between religions was also recognised by international communities such as the European Union and Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy Rome. He is fluent in English, Arabic, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. In the discipline area of traditional Islamic knowledge, his expertise is in the area of Islamic Jurisprudence.
Dr. Wendy Yee | University of Malaya
Wendy Yee, Director and Senior Lecturer at CITrA, University Malaya. She received her PhD in Youth Studies from University Putra Malaysia, Certificate in International Relations and Human Rights Studies from the United Nations University and Certificate in Peacebuilding and Intercultural Dialogue from the Institute for Peace and Dialogue in Switzerland. She is passionate about Youth Development, Peace Studies, Interethnic Relations and strongly believes in the power of education. As an educator and a peace advocate, she passionately fosters her students to become active and responsible global citizens.
Reverend Dr. Hermen Shastri | The Christian Federation of Malaysia
Hermen Shastri is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church and currently serves as General Secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia. He also served as the Executive Secretary of the Christian Federation of Malaysia for 11 years. He serves on numerous committees in the country including the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism and Taoism and in the World Council of Churches as member of the Standing Commission of Faith and Order, Co-Moderator of WCC Faith and Order 2014-2022. A consultant to the Department of Interreligious Relations and Dialogue. Since 2010 Co-Chairman on Issues Among Religious Adherents of the Ministry of Unity of the Government of Malaysia.
Aizat Shamsuddin | Komuniti Muslim Universal Malaysia
Aizat Shamsuddin is a project coordinator of Komuniti Muslim Universal. His research and experience are focused on prevention of extremism, counterterrorism and human rights. In 2018, he was awarded with Australia Awards by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia andASEAN to pursue a master’s degreeat the University of Melbourne specialising in counterterrorism, conflict studies and political Islam. Aizat also holds a bachelor’s degree in Sharia and Law from Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.