Our meeting on June 9thwas started with the good atmosphere even though we did meet only once on the advanced conference in May. I personally could not believe that we just became table members a few weeks ago.
In the morning, each of us gave the presentation about the major four religions with some general information including its history, thought, and the spread of population, which enabled us to share and enhance our basic knowledge. After each presentation, we discussed the question that each of us prepared. One is like “Why did Japan crackdown Christianity as a foreign religion while Buddhism and Shinto which also transferred from foreign countries were not suppressed?” and the other was “Do you agree with the idea of separating people’s residences by their beliefs like the case of Myanmar? And why?”. To get ready for the main conference, we set 30 seconds for each and tried to express what we wanted to say in time. It needed mush efforts, but gave us the opportunity to realize our weaknesses. For example, no matter what we discussed, we always ended with the statement like “we should understand others instead of accept the different religion”, which seems too halfway and vague.
In the afternoon, we visited Tokyo Jami and The center of Turkey culture where we joined the guide tour. Because this was the first time for me to enter the mosque and see the pray, I was so surprised to realize the gap between what I expected and what I did see. I also happened to know that I did have the unconscious stereotype even though I did not think I had any ironically. Usually, Muslim people follow the strict rules so that I believed that it must restrict their daily life as well. However, the man guiding us said that “it is completely the same thing as human beings eat three times a day. Some of them might have some snacks and late night meals. Instead of the Physical health, we pray to make our minds more healthy”. As he said, what I saw there was not burden limiting people’s life, but it is definitely a part of their life existing at the bottom. Sarcastically however, it causes the difficulties to mutually understand differences. After the guide tour, we shared ideas and comments and ended the one-day meeting.
Religious Violence is tended to be an impractical issue for Japanese participants because there are few visible cases around us. It is not so easy to understand and become religious tolerant. But we will try to learn much more through some case studies and research even though it might be little by little.