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    » 01/08/2016, 00.00


    Catholics, Protestants and Confucians join Muslims in Jakarta to say ‘no to extremism’

    Mathias Hariyadi

    The country's largest Islamic movement is organising an interfaith gathering for 17January. Some 10,000 people are expected. "With this mass rally we want to bring the message that diversity should be the strength of the nation. We have to show that peaceful coexistence is possible,” said a Bishops’ Conference official. For a Muslim leader, the goal is to promote “in a predominantly Muslim Indonesia moderate ideas that embrace religious tolerance.”

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Islamic group, is organising a mass rally in the capital for 17 January as a way to fight religious extremism and terrorism, as well as promote pluralism as the true foundation of Indonesian society.

    NU will be joined by 13 other Islamic organisations, as well as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (Konferensi Waligereja Indonesia, KWI), various Protestant churches and the Supreme Council for the Confucian Religion in Indonesia (Majelis Tinggi Agama Konghucu Indonesia, MATAKIN).

    At least 10,000 people are expected in Lapangan Banteng, a historic square in the Indonesian capital, overlooked by both the city’s Catholic Cathedral and Grand Mosque.

    Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr Guido Suprapto, KWI secretary for the laity, said, "We will participate in the event for sure. With this mass rally, we want to bring the message that diversity should be the strength of the nation. We have to show that peaceful coexistence is possible."

    For this purpose, Fr Samuel Pangestu, vicar general of the archdiocese of Jakarta, had a large number of leaflets printed and distributed to the city’s Catholics (pictured).

    For his part, Marsyudi Syuhud, NU president and rally organiser, said, "We were taught two words: tasanuf, which means tolerance, and tawasuft, which refers to being moderate people. These two words represent the core spirit of being a good Muslim in society.”

    Hence, he explained, “From a moral perspective, NU has to defend the nation's political and philosophical foundation, namely Unity in Diversity (Bhinneka Tunggal Ika).”

    The concept of Islam Nusantara (the archipelago of Islam) underscores what NU is all about, Marsyudi said. It means "promoting in a predominantly Muslim Indonesia moderate ideas that embrace religious tolerance. Our goal is clear: uniting in brotherhood all of the nation’s factions."

    The notion of Islam Nusantara was first introduced last year at NU’s 33rd congress. For Marsyudi, this entails “fighting the perception that Islam is not a peaceful religion because of Shia and Sunnis fighting each other. This is even more important than our relations with other religions Like Hinduism and Buddhism."

    At the same time, NU wants to counter any possible infiltration of the Islamic State (IS) group in Indonesia, Marsyudi said.

    "There is a clear and present danger. We have seen some [Indonesians] dare to hang the IS flag in a traffic roundabout. We have people who go and fight in Syria and then come back, and the government does nothing. This convinces people that this kind of Arab Spring will soon arrive in Indonesia."

    According to Indonesia’s National Anti-Terrorism Agency (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Terorisme, BNPT), 149 Indonesian citizens have returned from Syria.

    Other government sources say that 800 people left for Indonesia to join IS, 284 of whom have been identified. At least, 52 have died.

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    See also

    18/01/2016 18:29:00 INDONESIA
    Ten thousand people from all religions rally in Jakarta against terrorism

    Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, Confucian, and Taoists leaders join high-ranking government officials to reiterate that Indonesia "will not give in to the threat of terrorism." For Defence minister, "Every religion teaches the fundamental principle of love,” whilst “Every act of terror goes against the true values ​​of every faith and for this reason we reject them." The death toll rises to eight. The authorities have 12 suspects under arrest.

    14/10/2004 RUSSIA
    No to terrorism during Ramadan, chairman of Russia's muftis says

    On the eve of the holy month of Ramadan Russians Muslims pray for Beslan victims as well.

    25/05/2016 16:16:00 PAKISTAN
    Activists from different religions pursue peace-building in Pakistan, against hatred and terrorism

    Tehreek Rwadari, an interfaith movement that promotes respect for all religions and peace building in the country, celebrated its first anniversary yesterday. At the event, activists stressed the difficulties minorities, women and children face, as well as the lack of security. Extremism, mistrust and intolerance are the root causes.

    11/01/2005 PALESTINE
    High turnout among Christians in Palestinian election
    Hope and uncertainty among the people, says Bethlehem sociologist. Christians have no problems with Mahmoud Abbas. Patriarch Sabbah will hold a press conference on the election's results next Thursday.

    18/10/2010 INDIA
    Hindu leader says terrorism is foreign to his people
    Catholic priest tells AsiaNews about the many episodes of anti-Christian violence by Hindu extremists in the state of Orissa and elsewhere. Indian states run by Hindu nationalist parties do not protect Christians from Hindu violence.

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