Interfaith Learning on the Sengkang Harmony Trail

Over 70 participants from other religious groups including church members gathered for a group photo at Compassvale Meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Singapore

On October 30, 2022, members from the Singapore Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined in an interfaith tour and dialogue called the Sengkang Harmony Trail in northeast Singapore. Combined with youths from other religious groups such as the Muslim, Hindu and Christian faiths, more than 70 participants, presenters and committee members were involved.

With an aim to increase interfaith understanding, the participants were brought to different religious places within the Sengkang area. This included the Al Mawaddah mosque representing the Muslim faith and the Arulmigu Velmurugan Gnanamuneeswarar Temple (AVGMT) representing the Hindu faith. At the mosque, the presenters shared about the main tenets of Islam, their key programmes and demonstrated a recitation of the call to prayer, as well as a passage from the Qur’an. Thereafter at the temple, the presenters shared their key beliefs and festivals, and the significance of different parts of their religious temples. There was mutual respect among the participants of different faiths as they listened to the presentations, toured the buildings and participated in the discussions and quizzes to gain greater appreciation of one another’s beliefs and practices.

Opening Speech at Al Mawaddah mosque by James Teo, Chairman of Sengkang Harmony Circle
Explanation of the call to prayer by the youth representative from Al Mawaddah mosque
Participants listening to presentation from youth representative at Arulmigu Velmurugan Gnanamuneeswarar Temple (AVGMT)

The tour concluded at the Compassvale Chapel where representatives from the Church presented on the Church’s structure and key beliefs. The presenters, together with Church leaders, responded to participants’ questions on topics ranging from programmes to get youths to church, to missionary service opportunities and the age for baptism.

Church representatives presenting about key beliefs and answering questions

This was followed by a panel discussion and dialogue where the panelists included Executive Chairman Mr. Firdaus Khan from the mosque, Stake President Jean-Luc Butel from the Church, and Management Committee member Mr. K Ramalingam from the temple. The panel discussed the similarities across and unique aspects of the different religions, and the need to build cohesion and mutual respect among different religious groups in Singapore.

President Butel noted, “The fact that all the participants are here shows that you value different faiths. There are more things that unite us than divide us.”

Mr Koh Juay Meng, grassroots advisor for Sengkang, also observed that Singapore had shown discipline to overcome difficult and sensitive topics relating to religion. He added, “We need trust between different religious groups, and it is a positive sign that we can sit together and talk about different religions in this country. Trust can overcome all obstacles.”

This mutual sharing and dialogue across different religions demonstrated the strong interfaith community in Singapore. Many participants agreed that it was a great opportunity to learn more about other faiths in the community and build deeper trust and understanding in the rising generation.

Panel discussion and dialogue session at Compassvale Meetinghouse Multipurpose Hall