(AsiaNews) - A Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI and the decision to move from
"words to facts", from good intentions to real steps to address the
problem of sectarian violence and dialogue among followers of different
religions. And focus political and social attention on "peace and justice
in the region." These were the issues that topped the agenda of a three
Muslim-Christian conference, held from February 27 to March 1 in Jakarta. The
event promoted by the Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS) and the local
episcopate (KWI), together with the Federation of Asian Bishops' (FABC) and the
Christian Conference of Asia, was attended by 16 experts and religious leaders
from around the continent.
In the official statement issued at the end of the work, the Christian-Muslim representatives stressed: "we are fully aware that we are morally compelled to help our brethrens to more deeply acknowledge that religion is fundamentally a means to help faithful to exercise their faith." On the other hand, it must not lend itself to manipulation or become an excuse for personal attacks and violence.
In the days leading up to the conference, commenting on the results obtained to date by the interreligious meetings, some critics have spoken of "formal" appointments, which have too often made the mistake of not involving "the most extreme factions," but only moderate groups. Others point the finger at the "proselytizing" of evangelical movements and Islamic extremist factions, and the inevitable conflict between the two forces which cause "violent conflict".
However, in the course of three days, the meeting also warned against some of the many "endemic" ills affecting the nation; above all corruption, together with the issue of migrants and the ill-treatment they are often subjected to.
Finally, on behalf of all conference participants, the Bishop of Timika (Mimika regency, Papua province) Msgr. John Saklil addressed a thought to Pope Benedict XVI, the prelate also invited participants to pray for the pope emeritus in the early days of his retreat in Castel Gandolfo, pending the election of the new successor of Peter.