07/04/2018, 11.59
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Young people and Indonesian religious leaders for dialogue: the Rome Declaration is born

by Paolo Fossati

The document was born on the initiative of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia to the Holy See. 48 young delegates, from the Indonesian communities of 23 European countries are in Rome for a conference on interreligious dialogue. They are joined by high ranking officials from Jakarta government and representatives of the six religions recognized by the Indonesian State.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The defense of pluralism as "the grace of the One God", the promotion of a spirit of brotherhood and the fight against the politicization of religious faith: these are some of the topics covered by the Rome Declaration, a document prepared during the conference on "Inter-religious dialogue in the Indonesian diaspora in Europe".

Organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia to the Holy See between June 30 and July 3, the event attracted 48 young delegates from the Indonesian communities of 23 European countries to Rome. The seminar was also attended by some senior officials of the Jakarta government and representatives of the six religions recognized by the Indonesian State: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism (photo 2).

Divided into eight points, the Rome Declaration intends to propose a "model of tolerance, which helps to overcome miscomprehension and misunderstandings among the faithful of the various confessions". This is what Ambassador Antonius Agus Sriyono told AsiaNews, underlining the leading role that the country intends to take in promoting dialogue between religions. In the most populous Islamic nation in the world with over 260 million inhabitants, more than 600 ethnic groups make up the social fabric, each with its own language and traditions.

"I am convinced that harmony and multiculturalism are an integral part of our people's cultural heritage: we are peaceful people - continues the ambassador - A study of extremism and radicalism has however revealed that 7% of the population profess this kind of ideology . The percentage is low, but still refers to 260 million people. We must be careful and contribute to building a solid foundation of mutual understanding within society. In this sense, young people living abroad are certainly a resource ".

Nur Syam, secretary general of the Ministry for Religious Affairs, reiterates that "as far as the unity of the country is concerned, religion does not count". "We are all Indonesians - he says - Islam teaches respect and the concept of brotherhood is articulated on three levels: between Muslims, between compatriots and between human beings. As humans, we are all brothers and sisters. It is our responsibility to let everyone know that Islam is called to teach people how to live in harmony, tolerance and mutual respect. This is the Islam that we want to promote with initiatives like this".

The president of the Communion of the Churches of Indonesia, Henriette H. Lebang, was present at the conference representing the Protestant denominations. She declared: "Our society is a pluralist society, but we must take care of our unity. We are called to love God with all our heart but also every human being, just as we love ourselves; to overcome prejudices and work together for peace and justice in the community, trusting each other and respecting differences. Plurality is a gift from God, it is not the root of problems ".

Yesterday morning, the personalities who attended the seminar went to the Vatican to meet Msgr. Khaled Akasheh, head office for Islam of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (photos 1-3). During the meeting, moderated by Fr. Markus Solo Kewuta, the prelate illustrated the fruits of the Catholic Church's commitment to a dialogue "based on sincerity and respect". "Truth and love are the two legs on which our journey walks," said the bishop. Indonesian religious leaders explained to Msgr. Khaled the experience of interreligious relations in Indonesia to promote and manage peaceful coexistence between different communities.

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