The Parliament Blog

Archive for the ‘Indonesia’ tag

Forum Says Harmony Between Religions Can Be Forged by Differences

Christian and Muslim communities in Indonesia have met many times, as this picture from a 2009 collaborative meeting shows.

by Ryan Dagur

The governments of Indonesia and Italy say they are committed to taking interfaith dialogue to a higher level, with the aim of fostering global peace and respect for minority groups.

This was the message from the foreign ministers of the two countries at the opening of an interfaith forum yesterday in Jakarta.

Indonesia foreign minister Marty M. Natalegawa said that building bridges of mutual understanding is the best way to foster a global culture of peace.

“Message of peace in interfaith dialogue must echo outside assembly halls,” he said.

Italian foreign minister Guilio Terzi, agreed saying that interfaith dialogue must ensure protection for minority groups.

Government must reach out at the grass roots level and religious leaders must help promote respect towards different religious beliefs, Terzi said.

The forum called Unity in Diversity: The Power of Dialogue for Peaceful Cohabitation in a Pluralistic Society was organized by the Community of Saint’Egidio in cooperation with foreign ministries of the two countries.

Click here to read the full article

On Day of Silence, Religious Tolerance Speaks Loud and Clear in Bali, Lombok

A Balinese man is hit with fire during a pre-Nyepi ritual in Ubud on Thursday.  Reuters Photo

by Made Arya Kencana & Fitri
from The Jakarta Globe

Denpasar/Mataram. It was an unusual sight for anywhere in Indonesia: Muslim men arriving for Friday prayers in an atmosphere of complete silence, without the usual call to prayers blaring from the mosque loudspeakers.

But the fact that they were still allowed to go to mosque on a day when virtually all of predominantly Hindu Bali remained shuttered at home for the holy day of Nyepi was itself testament to the high degree of religious tolerance on the resort island, said Ketut Teneng, a spokesman for the provincial administration.

Although religious and administrative authorities are strict about people remaining at home during Nyepi, the Hindu Day of Silence, Teneng said Muslims were welcome to go to mosque, as long as they only walked there and did not turn on the mosques’ loudspeakers.

Click here to read the full article. 

Lian Gogali Wins Coexist Prize

Lian Gogali, from Indonesia, is the first recipient of the Coexist Prize.  She was honored for her outstanding and courageous work establishing Institute Mosintuwu educating Muslim and Christian women and children in post-conflict Poso. The runners up were Mustafa Ali, the Secretary General of the African Council of Religious Leaders and Dishani Jayweera the founder of the Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka. The ceremony took place at the Skirball Auditorium at New York University on the evening of March 20th in the presence of the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Rabbi David Saperstein, Bishop Mark Hanson and other distinguished Religious leaders, academics and diplomats. Also receiving Highly Commended awards were Joshua Stanton founder of the Journal of Inter-Religious dialogue, Oliver McTernan from Forward Thinking in London and William Ury of the Abraham Path Initiative.

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Faith Leaders embark on Interfaith Mission for Peace and Understanding


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A group of U.S. Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith leaders briefed lawmakers on their tour of Indonesia, Jordan and Israel.

The six-day trip on the role of religion in advancing Middle East peace was led by Rabbi Sid Schwarz and included 12 religious leaders from the United States and 12 religious leaders from Indonesia. It was organized by the Interfaith Mission for Peace and Understanding.

On Wednesday, the group briefed the U.S. House of Representatives Indonesia Caucus, which is co-chaired by Reps. Jim McDermott (R-Wash.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who were in attendance.

Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the community’s public policy umbrella, highlighted the importance of the partnership between the U.S. and Indonesia.

Click here to read the full article.

4,500 couples participate in Indonesian interfaith marriage ceremony

By Kathy Quiano from CNN

More than 4,500 Indonesian couples tied the knot at a Jarkarta sports stadium on Tuesday, in what the event’s organizers claim was the world’s largest interfaith wedding event.

The couples were married in Islamic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist and Hindu ceremonies – with each participating in whichever rites were appropriate. The event’s organizers said the mass wedding was aimed at helping poor couples who couldn’t afford to pay for their own weddings.

A humanitarian organization, Pondok Kasih Foundation, initiated the event and worked with Jakarta’s government and private sponsors to stage the mass wedding.

In a press release, organizers said the event was focused on promoting Pancasila, Indonesia’s state philosophy, which encompasses five basic principles that include belief in one God, just and civilized society, unity and democracy.

“Our value of Pancasila is facing increasing challenges,” the release said. “Our harmonious society is facing increasing threats from extremism and disturbance of public peace.”

Indonesia has seen an uptick in violent attacks from radical Muslim groups in recent years and some human rights groups warn of a general rise in religious intolerance. The Setara Peace and Democracy Institute has recorded a significant rise in attacks on religious minorities.

“We can all be united despite our differences in belief,” the organizers’ statement said, “and we can make a difference in our community that is in need…

Click here to read the full article

Chinese Preachers in Indonesia Teach Universality of Religion

Anton MedanFrom NYT

CIBUBUR, INDONESIA — In Indonesia’s crowded world of celebrity Muslim preachers, it often pays to have a trademark. For Koko Liem, his ever-present Chinese-style outfits — garish satin tunics paired with matching skullcaps — play the role.

Whether in television appearances or Koran recitals, the approach of Mr. Liem, a 31-year-old convert to Islam from Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese minority, is undeniably kitschy. In multihued permutations of his signature garb, he mixes preaching with guest appearances on dating and talk shows and promotes a religiously themed text-messaging service through his Web site.

Mr. Liem is one of a small but significant group of ethnic Chinese preachers to emerge over the past decade with a simple message: that being a member of Indonesia’s dominant majority — Muslims — and its historically most maligned minority — Chinese — need not be mutually exclusive.

“Clerics don’t only have to wear turbans. I’m a Chinese cleric. This is how I am,” Mr. Liem said at his home outside Jakarta, bouncing around boyishly on the couch in a crimson version of what he calls the “Koko Liem Costume.”

To outsiders, that assertion may seem unremarkable, even banal. But in Indonesia, it represents a powerful break with the past.

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July 18th, 2010 at 6:00 am

Archived Events: Indonesia

In September 2009, the Anand Ashram Foundation organized an exuberant series of events in promotion of the Melbourne Parliament of Religions.  The events took place in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Bali and included peace campaigns, interfaith harmony meetings and expositions.

To see a video montage of this event and to learn more, click here.

The Parliament in the Jakarta Post

Anand Krishna has published an opinion piece in the Jakarta Post, which is Indonesia’s largest English-language newspaper.  The argument jumps right into the dilemmas posed by religious radicalism and terrorism and calls on the Melbourne Parliament of Religions to encourage real progress and interreligious harmony. To read Krishna’s thought-provoking essay, click here.