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Common search for religious harmony


JAKARTA (UCAN): More than 100 representatives from 16 Asian countries attended the Fourth Conference of Muslim-Christian Religious Leaders of Asia in Jakarta, Indonesia, beginning on February 25.

“Bringing Common Word to Common Action is our theme now. In order to bring common word to common action, we must overcome and solve many problems—religious, political and social,” Hasyim Muzadi, the secretary-general of the International Conference of Islamic Scholars, said.

The Islamic Scholars, the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference and the Communion of Churches in Indonesia organised the programme, which ran until March 1, with the support of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and the Christian Conference of Asia.

“We get together here to make our ideas a reality,” Muzadi said.

He expressed the hope that religious leaders from the Asian countries in attendance, including India, Indonesia and The Philippines, will form an Asia-level forum for interreligious dialogue. “The soul of religions is in Asia, not in other continents,” he stated.

Archbishop Fernando Capalla observed that injustice, disharmony and disorder in the region can be traced back to the absence of love in neighbourhoods and communities.

“From the side of Asian Bishops’ Conference, we believe that such a situation can be restored if we follow the teaching of the holy bible and the holy Qu’ran, which is to love God and to love your neighbour. Justice is an expression of the love of God and the love of neighbour,” the Filipino bishops said.

The minister of religious affairs in Indonesia, Suryadharma Ali, and Nasaruddin Umar welcomed delegates to the conference, saying, “It is a witness to a strong commitment from three religions (Catholic, Islam and Protestant) to promote the values of harmony.”

Besides plenary sessions, the four-day programme featured discussions and exposure visits to six offices of six different organisations, including Migrant Care and the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace.


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