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Think tank report throws light on cultural diversity in South and Southeast Asia, its role in shaping society

Thimphu [Bhutan], September 26 (ANI): The religious dynamics and the role of cultural diversity in shaping society have been highlighted in a recent report by the Pew Research Center, a US-based think tank.

Giving an insight into the report, Bhutan Live stated that it sheds light on the attitudes towards cultural diversity in South and Southeast Asia, offering intriguing insights into the perspectives of people in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

The report was released on September 12 and has been titled"Buddhism, Islam, and Religious Pluralism in South and Southeast Asia."The Pew survey's key result is that individuals of all various religions are generally accepted in all six nations. The vast majority of respondents in these countries indicated acceptance and openness towards people of different religions. However, while focusing on certain topics and religious statements, interesting variances were apparent, Bhutan Live reported.

Interestingly, the survey also explored attitudes towards religious conversion. Among the Buddhist-majority countries, Cambodia had the lowest acceptance of conversion away from Buddhism, with 92 per cent considering it unacceptable. In contrast, Singaporeans displayed the most tolerant attitude, with only 36 per cent of Buddhists opposing conversion away from their faith.

Malaysia took the top spot in terms of respondents' perceptions of diversity as a positive influence in their various nations, with an astounding 62 per cent of respondents saying that diversity made their country a better place to live.

Following closely after was Sri Lanka, where 62 per cent agreed. With the largest percentage of respondents stating that different religions are compatible with their community, Singapore, which is renowned for its cultural and religious variety, stood out.

Further research showed that younger Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore, and Cambodia were more receptive to religious conversion than their older counterparts. This difference in acceptance between generations points to changing views towards religious reform, Bhutan Live reported.

The research from the Pew Research Centre provides a thorough knowledge of how people in South and Southeast Asia feel about cultural and religious diversity. While there are differences across these countries, the overall tendency is one of acceptance and tolerance, showing the region's complex tapestry of coexisting cultures and religions.

The favourable sentiments identified in this poll can serve as an inspiration for Bhutan as it continues to celebrate its own distinctive cultural and religious diversity, promoting peace and respect among its citizens. (ANI)