04/24/2012, 00.00
INDONESIA - ITALY

Jakarta and Rome promoting interfaith dialogue to counter extremism

Mathias Hariyadi
A forum devoted to bridging the gap between faiths and cultures opens in the Indonesian capital. Important Christian and Muslim leaders attend the event, including the head of the Muhammadiyah movement and the archbishop of Jakarta Mgr Suharyo. The first forum was held in Rome in 2009.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The foreign ministries of Indonesia and Italy have sponsored a forum on interfaith dialogue to fight religious terrorism and encourage rapprochement between different cultures and faiths. The project was made possible by the cooperation of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata. The foreign ministers of the two countries were present at the forum's opening in Jakarta. Over the coming days, participants will discuss 'Unity in Diversity: the Power of Dialogue for Peaceful Cohabitation in a Pluralistic Society.'

Some of the most important leaders of moderate Islam and the Catholic Church will be present, including Prof Din Syamsuddin, head of Muhammadiyah, and Mgr Ignatius Suharyo Pr, archbishop of Jakarta. Italy will be represented by Marco Impagliazzo, from the Sant'Egidio Community, as well as Prof Romano Orlandi and Fr Francesco Marini, both members of the community.

This is the second forum dedicated to interfaith dialogue jointly sponsored by Rome and Jakarta, involving the Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry and the foreign ministries of both Italy and Indonesia. The first forum was held in Rome in 2009.

The Indonesian government said that the forum is bound to bring positive results and be mutually advantageous. Enthusiastically promoted by both nations, it will boost their ties of friendship.

"Both are strongly encouraged to boost the culture of peace in the global community," the Indonesian Ministry said in a statement.

Other groups are also involved in promoting interfaith dialogue, including the Asia Pacific Interfaith Dialogue, APEC Inter-Cultural and Faith Symposium, International Conference of Islamic Conference (ICIS) and World Peace Forum (WPF). 

A similar forum to promote interfaith friendship and meetings was held in Bali in 2005 with the participation of European and Asian leaders. Three years earlier, Muslim extremists carried out a deadly attack in the same city that killed more than 200 people, mostly tourists.

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