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An international symposium addressing contemporary challenges facing Muslim minorities kicked off April 13 in Taipei City, underscoring ROC government efforts in promoting cultural diversity, human rights and religious freedoms.
The two-day event, which is being attended by participants from more than 20 countries and territories, is organized by Saudi Arabia-headquartered Muslim World League in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several local nongovernmental organizations. It is the third time for the MWL to sponsor a symposium in Taiwan since 2004.
President Ma Ying-jeou said in a written statement presented at the opening ceremony that while Muslims comprise 1 percent of Taiwan’s population, the government is committed to safeguarding their rights and enhancing understanding of the Islamic faith.
Many aspects of Islam, including advocating equality, peace and justice, resonate with the spirit of the ROC and ethnic Chinese culture, Ma said, adding that he expects the event to foster greater social harmony and tolerance at home and abroad.
Echoing Ma’s remarks, MOFA Minister David Lin said in his opening address that the symposium represents a vote of confidence by the global Muslim community in the government's promotion of religious equality.
“Different ethnic and religious groups are encouraged to engage in rational communication and friendly exchanges in Taiwan, giving rise to a respectful and stable society working for the benefit of the nation.”
On the global front, Lin said Taiwan is playing its part in responding to the misery and suffering in large parts of Iraq and Syria caused by armed conflict. “We have offered more than US$8.25 million in assistance, including 350 prefabricated shelters to refugees.”
In response, MWL Secretary-General Abdullah bin Abdul Mohsin Al-Turki described Taiwan as a friendly country, and said he expects the event to highlight the challenges and issues confronting Muslims in today’s world. (SFC-JSM)