The Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore (IRO) was founded in 1949. The date of registration is 18 March 1949. Since its humble beginnings, IRO has worked quietly to promote peace and religious harmony in Singapore.
With the passage of time IRO organized more activities in line with its objectives and participated in local and international forums to learn more about what is being done in the region to promote religious harmony. It networked with organizations like the World Council on Religion and Peace (WCRP) and the Asian Council on Religion and Peace (ACRP).
IRO also regularly conducted inter-faith prayers and blessings at launching ceremonies of public and private institutions. Increasingly, IRO became recognized as a force for good. It was invited by the Government to conduct prayers at the passing out parade of the Singapore Armed Forces and for the victims and their families when the SIA air crashes happened in Taiwan and Palembang.
In 1999, IRO commemorated its 50th Anniversary by organizing a major Exhibition of religious artifacts at the Singapore Museum which was an outstanding success. It also held several seminars on “Promoting Peace through Faith” each organized by a different faith. IRO also issued a series of IRO 50111 Anniversary commemorative stamps. The celebrations culminated with a Gala Dinner held at the Grand Hyatt.
Today, 10 major religions are represented in the IRO. IRO organized events to offer prayers for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack in the United States, the Bali bombing, prayers for peace in Iraq and other countries afflicted by war and prayers for victims of natural disasters like the earthquake in India and China and the cyclone in Myanmar. In 2003, IRO organized a Peace and Harmony Walk at the East Coast Park. More than 2000 Singaporeans from various faiths and all walks of life took part in the walk.
IRO has published several books and pamphlets including the book “Religions in Singapore” and “Religious Customs and practices in Singapore”.
IRO presented talks to many government and private organizations. IRO council members also made study trips to countries including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Indonesia, China and the Philippines.
To commemorate IRO’s 60th anniversary in 2009, IRO organised a series of activities and programmes to promote peace and harmony commencing with the 60th Anniversary Dinner opening ceremony at the Raffles Town Club which was officiated by Deputy Prime Minster Mr Wong Kan Seng and culminating with the China—Singapore Religious and Cultural Exhibition held at the Suntech City from 15-22 December 2009. The Exhibition was launched by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong at the Suntec City.
IRO will build on the momentum already generated and continue to promote inter-religious peace and harmony in the next decade and in the years to come.