R20, the World Forum of Religious Leaders, opens in Bali
Representatives of the various confessions together just a few days before the summit of heads of state and government. Indian Archbishop Felix Machado, among the Christian representatives present: "We have launched an appeal to forgive the wrong done, which is the highest form of dialogue".
Bali (AsiaNews) - In view of the upcoming G20 summit, the Religious Leaders Forum (R20), an international meeting that precedes the summit of heads of state and government, opened today in Bali. Hosted by the Indonesian government, the meeting - which will continue until tomorrow - is coordinated in this edition by the Nahalatul Ulama (an association comprising 150 million Indonesian Muslims) and the World Muslim League.
Welcoming the religious leaders from all over the world, President Joko Widodo vindicated the model of co-existence between religions in Indonesia: 'We are a heterogeneous country in terms of ethnicities and religions,' he said, 'inhabited by more than 275 million people, 714 tribes and more than 1,100 languages embracing six different religions.
Despite its extreme diversity, Indonesia is united by the doctrine of Pancasila and the national motto 'Unity in Diversity'. We must work together,' he added, 'to solve the world's problems, for a peaceful and cooperative world to pass on to future generations.
Among the personalities present at the meeting was Bishop Felix Machado, archbishop of the Indian diocese of Vasai. "The atmosphere was very cordial," he told AsiaNews, "The tone was moderate: no religious leader spoke about controversial issues, but each one addressed the others to extend their hands and show a visible sign of human brotherhood. Everyone said that religions too must become a source of solutions for the problems facing the world today".
Msgr Machado noted "religions are often perceived as obstacles to human progress and the challenge is to show that this is a misperception. An appeal has been launched to forgive the wrong done, which is the highest form of dialogue. The goal is to build bridges of mutual understanding and unite to educate one's own religious community to take constructive action to grow more compassionate and merciful world leaders who are able to heal the wounds caused to the victims of injustice, violence, discrimination and widespread religious fundamentalism."
Next year India takes on the presidency of the G20 and thus also host the World Summit of Religious Leaders.