11/29/2011, 00.00
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Java: Muslims and Catholics marching together to promote good "jihad"

by Mathias Hariyadi
A national demonstration from Surabaya to Jakarta organized by the Islamic movement Nahdlatul Ulama has crossed the country to combat radicalization of Islam and revive pluralism.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A major national event of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) has crossed the country, from Surabaya to Jakarta for more than 1000 km, to promote the original definition of "jihad" holy war, which in recent years has taken on a pejorative meaning because of its misuse by Islamic radicals. Not only have thousands of followers of NU responded to the national event, but also a good number of Catholics from various parishes in the north of Java, an event that aims to promote pluralism in the country.

Two priests in the diocese of Purwokerto joined the demonstration, when the NU march reached the area of their parishes. They were Fr. Francis Windyantardi, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, and another priest of the Church of St. Joseph in Mejasem, along with many seminarians. The original term of "jihad" on Java referred to the guerrilla war conducted in November 1945 against the Dutch colonial regime.

The main roads north of Java were occupied by thousands of NU followers loudly proclaiming their pride to be moderate Muslims, waving the red and white of Indonesia, together with those of NU. The most prominent NU political figure, the Minister of Human Resources Muhaimin Iskandar stressed the need to give voice to the spirit of good "jihad", as had been promoted by their ancestors in 1945. For this reason, priests and seminarians were happy to join the event, along with leading Muslim clerics.

According to Father Francis Widyantardi, this gesture was a positive response on the part of the management of NU to address the crucial problem of Indonesia: the de-radicalization of Islamic fundamentalism. Under the motto "from NU to Indonesia" the " jihadist resolution " wanted to promote the effort to elevate the spirit of pluralism, reduce poverty and address other forms of injustice.

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