ASIA/INDONESIA - Government and religious communities united to promote interreligious harmony

Wednesday, 4 December 2019 religious freedom   religious minorities   violence   peace   dialogue   human rights   youth  

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - The Indonesian government and Indonesian religious leaders, including Christians, are intensifying their commitment to promoting interreligious dialogue in the country. As Agenzia Fides learns, the Center for Religious Harmony, within the Ministry of Religion, organized a special forum yesterday in Jakarta, involving 50 delegates from various religious faiths, including Christian representatives, whose focus was the ways to strengthen religious harmony in Indonesian society.
"It is the continuous effort of all the religious leaders in the country to work for peace, harmony and solidarity", said to Agenzia Fides Maxi Paat, a Catholic layman who took part in the meeting. Father Frans Dwikoco, another of the delegates present, said that "it is the desire of the Indonesian Catholic Church to work together with believers from other communities with the intention of promoting dialogue and interreligious harmony together". Catholic delegates recalled that last month, during the annual meeting of the Indonesian Catholic Bishops Conference, held in Bandung, the Bishops stressed that "the Catholic Church is committed to human fraternity and for a peaceful Indonesia".
During the debate, Ahmad Astamar, a Muslim leader, said: "Today more than ever, Indonesian society must promote interreligious dialogue at all levels, as the forces of religious intolerance are constantly growing, sometimes for political reasons. It is important to combat the radicalization of Indonesian youth who are led or manipulated by potential terrorist groups", he added.
In recent years in the Indonesian archipelago there have been several episodes of violence caused by religious sectarianism or by terrorist and jihadist groups. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world, with a population of 263 million people. Christians, of all denominations, make up 12% of the population. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 4/12/2019)