Abu Dhabi declaration inspires interfaith dialogue

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

Jakarta () – Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian and Muslim: these were the confessions of the nine religious leaders welcomed yesterday by the Atma Jaya Catholic University. The meeting dealt with interreligious dialogue and was inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity signed in 2019 by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, in Abu Dhabi.

The card. Ignatius Suharyo and the new president of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference, Monsignor Antonius Subianto Bunjamin, attended the event together with the rector.

The main theme of the meeting was “how to put the spirit of the Document on Human Brotherhood into practice” in the Indonesian religious context. In the final document, titled “Atma Jaya Declaration”, the various community leaders affirmed that all the problems of Indonesian society should be addressed with “peace and dialogue”, as opposed to the “security” approach adopted by government officials and the law enforcement. The final document was handed over to a representative of the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs.

“Today’s act is only the beginning,” said Card. Suharyo during his opening speech. “This approach of peace and dialogue is our common goal to address the problems of humanity. But for this to be possible, it must be based on two “fundamental” pillars, added the cardinal, who is also president of the Atma Jaya Foundation. They are “social justice and qualified education”, values ​​in turn necessary to “support those who appreciate social fraternity, respect for pluralism, inclusion, equity, democracy and civility”.

Monsignor Bunjamin endorsed the cardinal’s statement, stating that “all good people should seek peace without preferences.” Pastor Gomar Gultom, head of the Indonesian Synod of Protestant Churches, agreed that the Abu Dhabi declaration spiritually lifted the spirits of all religious communities.

Also present at the event was the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama, which reiterated the message stating that “Islam is indeed a religion of love.” According to the director of the organization, Kiai Hajj Abu Yazid Al-Busthami, all differences should not become a “issue”, but common things should not become a problem either: “We all have a common goal: to promote peace and harmony in society,” he stressed. “One thing is certain: one humanity, one responsibility,” added academic Abdul Mu’ti, a member of Muhammadiyah, an Islamic non-governmental organization.

The chairman of Matakin, the Supreme Council of Confucian Religion, Budi Tanuwibowo, stressed that “our true mission is to bring peace to all peoples.” For his part, the president of the Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia, Wisnu Bawa Tenaya, commented that “the entire pluralistic Indonesian society is called upon to maintain social harmony.”

In an interview with , Paulus Tasik Galle, from the Office for Interfaith Social Harmony of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, welcomed the initiative promoted by Atma Jaya Catholic University. “The event will serve to reinforce the roots of moderation in religious teaching,” the German-educated academic said. “The Abu Dhabi Document is an important message for our fellow Indonesians because it invites us to embrace brotherhood between different religious communities.”

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