ASIA/INDONESIA - Experiences of true Islamic Christian brotherhood in Catholic majority areas

Wednesday, 6 September 2017 islam   dialogue   religious minorities  

Lembata (Agenzia Fides) - In a country, Indonesia, with the most densely populated Muslim majority in the world, there are also small Christian and Catholic majority areas, especially in the central part of the vast Asian archipelago. These are areas where interreligious coexistence and harmony between Christians and Muslims are particularly felt and developed. As Fides learns, in the district of Lembata, with a Catholic majority, there is a climate of harmony that implies solidarity and mutual help in part of the province of East Nusa Tenggara (Central Indonesia): "Every time we celebrate a religious holiday we take advantage of a great service and help from Catholics. Our children feel really honored for how they are treated by peers of Christian faith", says to Fides Rajuni Welin, head of a village in the district of Lembata.
In recent days, on the eve of the Islamic celebration of "Eid al-Adha", celebrated on 1 September, many Catholics offered a valuable contribution to preparing the Muslim feast. Rajuni Welin remarks to Fides that "during the Muslim religious feasts the preparatory committee is made up of many Catholics and vice versa, when Catholics celebrate Christmas or Easter, Muslims commit themselves to helping them".
This year, he added, the chairman of the organizing committee for the preparations for the feast of Eid al-Adha was Frederick Daeng, a Catholic who is head of the local parish pastoral Council. "It is a tradition we intend to keep to demonstrate true brotherhood among Muslims and Catholics in the district of Lembata. Our fraternal relationship makes us united in social life", he explained. And during the feast of Eid al-Adha, local Muslims stressed that they refuse any fundamentalist reading of the Koran. An important sign, Rajuni Welin concludes, in a country that is currently exposed to the contagion of the ideology of radical Islamic groups such as Isis, that promote violence, hatred and division among religious communities. (PP-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 6/9/2017)