Inter-religious youth group to be set up in July



Young people are the target of an inter-religious group to be set up in July.

The group, likely to be called IRO Youths, will include about 30 to 40 young people from the 10 religions that are part of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO). “Its motive is to promote friendship and trust among young people of varying religions,” said Master Chung Kwang Tong, 28, secretary-general of the Taoist Federation’s Youth Group and head of the IRO youth committee.

At an event to launch a book titled Twenty Years Of Taoist Practice: 20th Anniversary Commemorative Book Of Singapore Taoist Federation, he told my paper that several organizations have pledged their support. Participating organizations include Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, Sikh Sewaks Singapore, Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery and the Singapore Jain Religious Society.

He added that the formation of the group is still in its infancy, and many details remain tentative. However, plans are in the pipeline to organize bonding activities, such as environmental or overseas community projects, as well as visits to old folks’ homes.

The IRO hopes the group will be able to go online to help young people who may have doubts about religious issues. “For example, if a youth expresses a misconception about a faith, members of the group would (be able to) share their perspectives, backed by the values learnt from their religious upbringing,” said Master Chung.

The guest of honour at the event, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin, highlighted the importance of family and religion in helping young people cope with the pervasiveness of the Internet. (See sidebar) Master Chung revealed that an IRO Youths Facebook group and an online forum are in the works.

The Reverend Gabriel Liew from Kampong Kapor Methodist Church agreed that it is important for the young to share the right values with one another.

“It’s better to start young because as they get older, they may be too set in their ways,” he said.