Abu Dhabi declaration inspires interfaith dialogue in Jakarta
by Mathias Hariyadi

Nine religious leaders met at a Catholic university in the capital, including Card Ignatius Suharyo. The final communiqué was delivered to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.


Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Atma Jaya Catholic University hosted an interfaith forum that brought together religious leaders nine distinct groups (including Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian Muslim) to discuss the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

Card Ignatius Suharyo and the new president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Indonesia, Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunjamin, attended the event together with the rector.

“How to implement the spirit of the Abu Dhabi document” in the Indonesian religious context was the main theme of the meeting.

In the final communiqué, titled "Atma Jaya Declaration", the religious leaders said that all the problems that affect Indonesian society should be addressed through “peace and dialogue", not the "security" approach adopted by the government and law enforcement agencies.

The final document was handed over to a representative of the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs.

"Today's event is just a beginning," said Card Suharyo in the initial address. "This peace-and-dialogue approach has become our common concern and goal to address the problems of humanity,” he added.

For the cardinal, who heads the Atma Jaya Foundation, this becomes possible if it is grounded in two "fundamental" pillars, namely “social justice and qualified education", values that can “support those who care about social brotherhood, and respect pluralism, inclusion, equity, democracy and civilisation".

Echoing the cardinal's words, Bishop Bunjamin said that "all good people must seek peace without preferences."

Rev Gomar Gultom, head of the Indonesian Synod of Protestant Churches, agrees that the Abu Dhabi Declaration has spiritually lifted the morale of all religious communities.

Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, was also represented at the forum, where it reiterated the notion that "Islam is indeed a religion of love."

According to the head of the organisation, Kiai Hajj Abu Yazid Al-Busthami, any difference must not matter, and common things must not become an issue. “We all have our common goal, i.e. promote peace and harmony in society,” he said.

“One thing is for sure: One Humanity, One Responsibility,” said Prof Abdul Mu’ti, a member of Muhammadiyah, an Islamic NGO.

Budi Tanuwibowo, head of Matakin, the Supreme Council for the Confucian religion in Indonesia, stressed that "our true mission is to bring peace to all peoples", while the president of Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia, Wisnu Bawa Tenaya, noted that “Indonesia’s pluralist Indonesian society is called to maintain social harmony.”

Speaking to AsiaNews, Paulus Tasik Galle, Interfaith Social Harmony Bureau in the Ministry for Religious Affairs, welcomed the initiative promoted by the Atma Jaya Catholic University.

"The meeting will strengthen the roots of moderation in the teaching of religion," said the scholar who trained in Germany. "The Abu Dhabi Document is an important message for fellow Indonesians, because it calls on us to adopt brotherhood despite different religious backgrounds.”