Purwokerto: Muslims in parish hall to break Ramadan fast
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A parish in Banjarnegara Regency, the heartland" of Islamic Indonesia, has called on "all people of good will" to break together the fast in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"A large number of people answered the call," Fr Deddy Setiawan told AsiaNews, "including Gus Khayatul Maki, local leader of the Islamic Defenders Front, who spoke with clarity and force in favour of the country's religious pluralism that must be protected."
Police and military, politicians and leaders of different faiths attended the event held in the parish hall of St Anthony's Church (Diocese of Purwokerto).
"Unlike many other Islamic leaders, Maki has made it clear that we must live together, peace and freedom. His address gained the sympathy and attention of Catholic parishioners and all those present. Our effort is aimed at establishing peaceful coexistence with all Muslims, convincing the most radical of the importance of peace. "
Fr Aloysius Budi Purnomo, a priest from the Archdiocese of Semarang, is doing the same thing. He leads the local Commission for Interreligious Dialogue.
Engaged for a long time in building bridges and dialogue between religions and ethnic groups in Indonesia, the clergyman organised a weekend of study and reflection at the Wisma Salam Centre, in Central Java province in order to "minimise the negative perceptions of Catholics compared to other religions, particularly with respect to Islam." More than 90 young Catholics attended the meeting.
"The activity was organized with the specific purpose of raising the morale of our children, explaining to them that we are not alone," the former rector of St Paul Seminary told AsiaNews.
"There are so many other people in the country, non-Catholics, who can be friends and fellow travellers. Young people's response was positive."
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. Catholics number only seven million or 3 per cent of the population. In the Archdiocese of Jakarta, they are around 3.6 per cent.