Interfaith Initiative for Peace – Indonesia

Author: Norani Abu Bakar
Published in: The Transcendent Thought (October 2011) for Interfaith Dialogue column. Research of Al Mustafa International College, a worldwide branch of Al Mustafa International University in Qom, Iran. The journal is distributed to 80 countries.
 

Muslims and Christians Interfaith Initiative for Peace Building: A Case Study on Indonesia

Introduction

The adherents of the Abrahamic faiths have lived as neighbors since the day their spiritual great grandfather lived. Among approximately five billion religious people in the world today, i.e., almost 85 percent of the world population,[1] it is forecasted that there will be three billion Christians and 2.2 billion Muslims by 2050.[2] Their relationship plays a significant role in global peace and human flourishing. The first part of this paper gives an overview on the role of faith in today’s multi-religious communities in order to support its argument on the importance of interfaith engagement between Muslims and Christians for the sake of world peace.

This writing uses Indonesia as its case study to illustrate a country’s progressive transformation from a religio-centric to a religio-relative community and how this newly developed landscape impacts its nation. The last part of this paper suggests approaches that can be implemented in order to achieve sustainable solutions for peace.

Unity in Diversity and the Unleashing of Social Value of Faith Tradition

What will the world be like if Christians and Muslims live beyond tolerance and engage one other for the betterment of mankind? What will happen if fear and war is transformed into love, cooperation and trust? After all, Muslims and Christians do share many common values and their faith is rooted in a common historical tradition.

Many social scientist, including Peter Berger who in the 1970s advocated the secularization theory, which says religion will dissolve with modernization, now recognize the resurgence of religion in the 21st century. Certainly, this is good news only if faith adherents live in peace and if the emergence in spirituality promotes beneficent and benevolent mutual behavior.

Some scholars say that hospitality in hermeneutics and human rights hermeneutics is emerging among modern religions.[3] Unfortunately, such in vogue hermeneutics on religious ethics will not bring peace to the world unless these values are assimilated by the community at large.  The question is if it is realistic to presume that such assimilation is possible knowing that many of these 55 percent of the world’s citizens live in rather unreachable areas? This is not an easy task. However, an attempt to overcome such difficulties may begin by doing good works together.

This proposal may sound very theoretical to some. Perhaps, the result from the Jubilee USA Network will awaken us from underestimating the power of interfaith unity in working towards the common good. An alliance of over 75 religious denominations, faith communities and NGOs, the Jubilee members persevere to work for the cancellation of international debt owed by developing countries.

As a result, more than 23 of the poorest countries in the world received over $88 billion debt cancellation in 2010.[4] However stunning this outcome may be – and there are more – so much more remain to be done, with seemingly insurmountable obstacles ahead. However, as the adherents of Abrahamic faiths tradition, Christians and Muslims are to recall and claim the covenant of God of Abraham that God will bless Abraham’s descendants and turn them into great nations.[5]

Interfaith Diplomacy, Collaboration and Engagement

The mainstream Muslims and Christians agree that the core of their faith promotes human rights and dignity, tolerance, solidarity and equality founded on the basic principle of loving God and our neighbors. Numerous passages from the Qur’an and sayings of Prophet Muhammad testify to this. And similarly, many passages in the Bible and sayings of Lord Jesus Christ speak on these values. The two most relevant texts are:

So invoke the Name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him with a complete devotion” – Quran: Al-Muzzammil, 73:8

None of you has faith until you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself”  – Prophet Muhammad

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Jesus Christ sayings -Mark 12:29-31

Faith values such as loving God and neighbors can be shared in many ways and often, its primary mean is through a mutually respecting discourse. As love is the essence of each faith, communicating with love and wisdom or diplomacy is scriptural. It is diplomacy that elevates a relationship from the level of tolerance to engagement. Diplomacy facilitates forgiveness, repentance, reconciliation and restoration. It transforms the relationship between two strangers to acquaintances, casual friendship and then to love relationship.

Communication as an act of God’s love is inherent in Abrahamic faiths. According to Islam, the Quran conveys Allah’s command for mankind which can be further understood through the life and the relationship of Prophet Muhammad with others. In Christianity, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, communicates the will of the Father, converses and lives among the people to show them the way of life. After his ascension, the Holy Spirit manifests in the lives of the adherents and interacts with them.

Indeed, conversing with love to correct and rebuke human behavior is common for both faiths. Only through the conviction that diplomacy is the will of God can both adherents embrace God’s beautiful plan for our coexistence. And the fundamental concept of fruitful diplomacy must first begin with cognitive dialogue based on correct information in order for peace to be established.

As globalization intensifies the diversification of faith traditions in a community, faith related leaders need to be proactive in keeping-up with these rapid changes, persuading and cultivating a religio-relative attitude within their community.  There have been many optimistic scholarly voices affirming that the process of religious engagement of human rights is now underway in Christian, Islam, Judaic, Buddhist, Hindu and traditional communities alike. [6]

Some reports also on the growing momentum of transformation from a religio-centric to a religio-relative perspective. [7] They define the two saying the former causes many deaths and the latter brings hope and peace. Thus, the perspective on religiosity in this century should shift towards preemptive collaboration where compassionate and fruitful interfaith engagement is not initiated during the actual crisis but simply because living ethically is a core essence to every faith tradition.

One of the most remarkable religo-relative efforts is encapsulated by ‘A Common Word’ collaboration on loving God and neighbors among Muslim and Christian leaders. [8] This effort was initiated corporately by 138 Muslim leaders led by HRH Prince Ghazi of Jordan, dozens of grand muftis, an ayatollah and leaders of many Islamic countries and Muslims scholars and 102 Christians including His holiness Pope Benedict, patriarchs, clergies and academia. This important breakthrough gives evidence that it is possible for Muslims and Christians to work together towards reconciliation and peace building while acknowledging the differences persisting between both faiths.

There have been also many voices critiquing interfaith diplomacy as the mask of hypocrisy in acknowledging the tension between Muslims and Christians. It is true that xenophobia, distrust, bigotry exist and wars are waged between some Muslim and Christian groups. However, a peaceful relationship between both faith adherents cannot be achieved unless their respective leaders set an example in extending their hands towards each other for forgiveness and reconciliation prior to working on tangible matters.

In spite the aforementioned pessimistic response, A Common Word initiative resonates in the hearts of some international and national faith related leaders though they were not involved with the initial founding of the collaboration. Among these leaders are non-Muslims and non-Christians.

One of the most significant offshoots from A Common Word initiative is the launching of ‘World Interfaith Harmony Week,’ a UN resolution for worldwide interfaith harmony that falls annually on the first week of February. It aims to promote harmony among all peoples regardless of their religions. This initiative was led by King of Jordan, HM King Abdullah II and HRH Prince Ghazi of Jordan as a follow-up of Prince Ghazi’s initiative on A Common Word. [9]

The initiative A Common Word could be gleaned also in the Philippines through the Magbassa Kita Foundation Incorporated (MKFI) and the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID). Magbassa Kita Foundation Incorporated is a humanitarian work established by former Senator Santanina Tillah Rasul, way back in the 1960s in response to the need to alleviate the very low level of literacy in the Southern Philippines. Its adult education programs were subsequently adapted by the Philippine government and recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Both organizations aim to cultivate harmonious and peaceful coexistence in the southern part of Mindanao where tensions exist among the Muslims, Christians and Lumads (a minority race with no specific faith tradition). Many of their projects focus on improving education among the marginalized Muslim youths. The mayor of Zamboanga City, Mr. Lobregat, a Catholic, strongly supports the program which addresses the needs of Muslim communities in this district. Such endeavors reaffirm the positive growth and awareness of religio-relative perspective in the area.

Interfaith engagement or dialogue should not necessarily be initiated to counter-react to a crisis. Rather communities can set up programs to prevent and derail such crisis. An example of a proactive approach is apparent in the interfaith work of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) which executed many interfaith projects decades before September 11 incident.

Two of the interfaith projects organized or participated by ISNA are: ISNA and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) collaboration in areas of poverty, education and anti-bigotry; and ISNA support to Interfaith Health Fair in Detroit where numerous Muslim and Jewish doctors, nurses and social workers were on hand to provide medical check ups and  meals for participants who are homeless.

Interfaith Initiative for Conflict Resolution in Indonesian

An understanding of the dynamism of religio-centric and religio-relative perspectives can best be studied by analyzing transformational faith-related experiences of a nation. This paper selects Indonesia as its case study. To facilitate a deeper understanding of the conflict, its contributing factors and the impact of the crisis on the citizens, the paper gives a brief background and some facts on Indonesia. Later, an analytical discussion will be presented on the way interfaith engagement was implemented prior to and after the conflict. This segment will also outline some of the policies that may have developed as a result of the crisis.

General background on Indonesia and the crisis in 1999 – 2000

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim-majority nation in the world. The religious population consists of  88.2% Muslim mainly Sunni with slightly over one million Shi’a, 5.9% Protestant, 3.1% Catholic, 1.8% Hindu and 0.8% Buddhist and 0.2% belong to other religions.[10] The Indonesians came in contact with Arab traders engaged in commerce with Indonesia in the fourth century CE. However, Islam began to be assimilated only in the beginning of the eleventh century through intermarriages and the movement of Sufism.  In the earlier days, Islam in Indonesian retained much of the previous blend of Hinduism, Buddhism and Animatism.

Christianity arrived in Indonesia during the sixteenth century through two means: Catholic missionaries brought by the Portuguese, and Protestant missionaries brought by the Dutch. The latter colonized Indonesia from the 17th century to 19th century. From the 20th century onwards, an increase in missionary efforts and the growth of both Roman Catholicism and various Protestant denominations took place.

The Dutch sustained good diplomatic relationship by supporting pre-existing Islamic governance structures so it could continue its trading business in this region. Their non-intervention on Islamic religious matter strengthened the authority of rural Islamic boarding schools and mystical leaders. Towards the twentieth century, these leaders later became the founders of independence movements, which merged around either Muslim or popular nationalist parties.

Since Indonesia’s independence, there has been an increased observance in the less culturally-influenced towards the more universal form of Islam. This country is not an Islamic state even though its inhabitants are predominantly Muslims. Today, the largest Muslim organizations in Indonesia are the “traditionalists” (Nahdlatul Ulama) and “modernists” (Muhammadiyah). In post-colonial Indonesia, several presidential regimes – most notably that of President Sukarno (1945-1967) and President Suharto (1967-1998) – created public policies that favored some religious groups.

President Sukarno established the Pancasila or Five Principles as the foundation of its new constitution, “Belief in the One and Only God; just and civilized humanity; the unity of Indonesia; deliberation for consensus; and social justice for all of Indonesia’s people.” Later, under President Suharto, the government officially recognized five religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Pancasila, the influence of shari`ah in national policy and the position of official national religions are still debated in contemporary Indonesia. Some Islamic groups demand for more compliance between official law and shari`ah and advocate for a completely Islamic state. However, Muslim proponents of pluralism and liberal Islam, as well as members of other religions, favor the freedom of religion and the secular state.

The largest Muslim organizations in Indonesia, Muhammadiyah (1912) and Nahdlatul ‘Ulama (NU) (1926), coming from the modernist and neo-traditionalist movements respectively, are committed to upholding Pancasila. They do not advocate instituting a Muslim state and instead promote a pluralistic, democratic state.

Organizations such as the Liberal Islam Network (1999) are dedicated to advancing liberal Islam. They aim to defend civil liberties such as freedom of expression, minority rights, women’s rights and freedom of religion. Although there are several political parties that have been founded on religious grounds, elections routinely demonstrate the general population’s support for Pancasila and for continuing a history of tolerance and diversity for the many religions co-existing in Indonesia.

Indonesia guarantees religious freedom to six officially recognized religions, however frequent conflict happens; the largest scale of religious violence happened in 1999-2000. Some of the riots were between Muslims and Christians. In Sulawesi, more than 1000 people are believed to be killed. In 2006, the government executed three Christian ministers who incited the religious violence in Poso, the place where violence was triggered by a brawl between Christian and Muslim gangs in December 1998, which sparked the religious violence in 1999. Many protested the execution of the three Christians and criticized the government for not punishing Muslim instigators in the same fashion.

After the 1999 -2000 event, a peace agreement was signed between two parties in 2002, but some sporadic incidents still happened after that. Between March 1996 and August 2005, about 180 churches were destroyed, burned or closed by force. Other incidents that can be cited are: the closure by force of more than two dozen churches in West Java by the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) in 2003; the imprisonment of believers from the “Sang Timur” Catholic School; the conflict between Muslim residents and members of a Christian Batak Church; and violent attack against followers of the Muslim Ahmadiyah sect.

The Christians were not the only people who were attacked. In Ambon city, the provincial capital of Maluku, both Christian churches and mosques were burnt down along with hundreds of houses, banks, shops, stalls, vehicles and government buildings. Around 20,000 people were forced to flee their homes and take refuge in military headquarters, houses of worship and other facilities.[11]

The unrest saw a number of people being injured, properties being burned down, people seeking refuge at worship places, schools being destroyed and people tortured to death. In short, all suffered the same fate.  In this fight, the Muslims and the Christians look at each as ‘you versus me’ and not as ‘us – Indonesians,’ the Abrahamic faiths adherents who share many common values. This version of religiosity is articulated by some scholars as religio-centric.

While some media coverage tried to portray the core reason of the unrest to violence between the Muslims and the Christians, religion was not the main contributing factor to it. Religion became a scapegoat to Indonesia’s economic crisis which was an aftermath of the financial crisis that hit Asian economics beginning July 1997. Before this crisis, the exchange rate between the rupiah and the dollar was roughly 2,600 rupiah to 1 USD.  The rate plunged to over 11,000 rupiah to 1 USD in January 1998. The currency devaluation contributed to a sharp decline in the purchasing power as the increase in the price for basic goods outpaced wage increment.

Ref: The Fianancial and Economic Crisis: Evolution, Causes and Lessons Learned by Parliament of Canada

The impact of lower real wages pushed many poor people below the poverty line. The sharp recession caused the contraction of GDP by 13.1 % and only 0.8% growth in 1999. [12] The situation got worse when the agricultural output, the economic sector composing the bulk of the employed Indonesians, was affected by poor weather, natural disasters, and civil unrest. The tension which ushered rioting and nationwide unrest pressured the public and forced President Suharto to step down after 30 years in power. Consequently, political turmoil was at its peak.

Rising prices, food shortages, devaluation of rupiah and massive unemployment widened the gap between the rich and the poor and this led to greater tension. Many of the privately owned commerce and economic entities were controlled by Chinese-Indonesians. Even though Chinese Indonesians comprised only 3 to 4 percent of the population, they have much influence and disproportionate control of the Indonesian economy. The Chinese came to Indonesia during the period of Dutch colonization and have taken up business and professional employment.

Historically, the Indonesian Chinese went through great discriminatory practices, bear up with prejudices and even violence and were once purged during the anti-communist movement that took place under the Suharto governance in 1965. Many of them are Christians, Mahayana Buddhists and Confucians. Their high financial status provoked resentment causing the outbreaks of the anti-Chinese violence. Soeharto’s son-in-law, General Prabowo Subiyanto, helped fuel anti-Chinese sentiment by labeling them “traitors” who fled with their money abroad. After the riots in the cities of Jakarta, Solo, and Surabaya, the situation worsened especially for ethnic Chinese women who were submitted to mass rapes and other forms of sexual assault in a systematic, organized fashion.

Interfaith Initiative Before and After the Conflict and Analysis on the Initiatives

The convergence of various factors in the field of politics, socio-economics and religion may have been contributing factors to the turmoil in 1999-2000. Even though faith seems to have the least influence in these, the unrest had its significant impact on religious communities. Given that Indonesian culture is rich in hospitality, it is difficult to imagine the absence of engagement between the faith traditions.

The pressure from the economic crisis has wiped away so much of their harmonious community life. Furthermore, interfaith initiative is not new in Indonesia. The first formal inter-religious conference took place way back in November 1967. It was sponsored by the government to develop some strategies for resolution towards religious related social problems. In this conference, the participants proposed a concept of inter-religious harmony which can foster engagement so that every religious community can live together peacefully and respectfully.[13]

In 1969, the government issued a joint decree with the minister of religious and internal affairs in preserving harmony among the members of religious communities. This decree was renewed in 2005. The decree mandates government leaders in each provinces and districts to take part in sustaining harmony among religious communities and to support the communities to establish a forum called Inter-Religious Harmony Forum (Forum Kerukunan Umat Beragama – FKUB). Its aim is to build dialogue among religious leaders, accommodate aspirations from religious organizations and communities, and to give recommendations to the government on the feasibility of erecting places of worship. Members of this forum are religious leaders from the various traditions.

The unrest in 1999-2000 and the sporadic religious problems that continuously take place in Indonesia to date indicate that the country needs to institute certain mechanisms to help strengthen the systems concerned.  This can be improved first by studying the available reports but unfortunately, many reports are not properly documented, making it difficult to evaluate. Many cases, especially violence towards the ethnic Chinese women have not been thoroughly investigated because in-depth information is not available for certain reasons.

One possibility could be the inadequate infrastructure to support the execution of tasks mandated to the government leaders of each province and district. This infrastructure needs to include training for the religious leaders to run the Inter-Religious Harmony Forum and systematic documentation and reporting to the central governance.

The fact that the country comprises 17,000 islands with about 243 million population makes any management overarching in a widely disperse geographical area and diverse population extremely difficult.  Under these circumstances, a decentralized system as such can function well with the empowerment and competency of the leaders in si-tu which can only be made possible through proper training. It is understandable that this task was unmanageable during turmoil.

However, as Indonesia’s economy recovers and the political environment becomes stable, the renewed decree may have greater potential of success with good management.

Today, the number of local NGOs dedicated to interfaith and pluralistic concerns has increased. This could be an indication of a positive outcome of the initiatives that were launched in 1967 and 1969 by the Indonesian government. This attests that the common vision to cultivate a harmonious pluralistic society does resonate among the public.

Perhaps in the next decade, especially, with President Obama’s speeches on Indonesia as a model for religious tolerance in November 2010[14] plus the improvement in media technology and the inclusion of the studies on pluralism in learning institutions, the interfaith initiative in Indonesia will grow exponentially.

One of the leading interfaith organizations is Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace (ICRP) and the organization lists another 51 organizations throughout the country that are considered interfaith organizations. All have similar activities: organizing interfaith forums, dialogues, and events, and promoting pluralism and cooperation among the different faith adherents.

Some of the  interfaith organizations are; Indonesian Peace Building Directory, which supports interfaith and religious minority organizations; Institute of Human Assistance of Interfaith Community, founded by leaders of Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism and Hinduism; Liberal Islam Network which focuses on gender equality and interfaith dialogue; and Society for Interreligious Dialogue, the second oldest Indonesian organization involved in inter-religious dialogue that was established in 1996 which focuses on Indonesian religious leaders and youth.

The Pluralism Project of Harvard University did a study on ‘Religious Pluralism in Indonesia’ through its ‘International Portrait’ chapter and a report by Agus Hadi Nahrowi described in great length the activities that are organized by each interfaith organization. Interestingly, none of the description of the activities covered by the NGOs include restoration of the dignity, forgiveness and healing. The report from Oslo written in 2002 also had no record on these events as taking place in the interfaith initiatives.

Scholars however suggested that the primary distinction between an interfaith diplomacy (IFD) and other identity-based dialogues is that the IFD becomes a religious experience itself.[15] The book, Unity in Diversity writes that a successful IFD is transformative; it transform strangers into an interdependent relation with one another as a member of the community. For both faiths groups to be interdependent with one another, forgiveness and healing must first take place.

The collective memory from the past cannot be erased simply through this exercise. However, this is the stepping stone prior to addressing the commonalities on justice and human rights and partnership in building better communities. Between the Muslims and the Christians, the painful history from the ‘crusade’ or ‘jihad’ still lingers in the heart of the adherents and this pre-existing tension may emerge during discourse. Only forgiveness helps. Some scholars also suggest that discourse may begin with a prayer in a way that is most comfortable to the participants.

The scale of the death figures from its religious conflict is relatively low compared to many countries with much smaller population. Sudan, which has about 40 million people today, had 2.5 million deaths in its last 20 years of conflict. For such a big country with huge diversity of races and religions, Indonesia has been able to maintain a very high religious tolerance. President Obama during his visit to Indonesia affirmed this in his speech on the 10th November 2010.

Every country has its imperfections, but acknowledgement should be given to its national scholars, some of them paid a high price to voice their insights on religious pluralism and interfaith engagement. Among the leading scholars in this area are; H.A.Mukti Ali, a modern Islamic thinker, who pioneered the idea of inter-religious harmony in 1960 when he was the minister of religious affairs (1971-1978).  Mr. Ali developed a model of inter-religious harmony that was based on Islamic principles of justice, absolute freedom of conscience, the perfect equality among humans, and the powerful solidarity in social interaction, which serves as reference when dealing with inter-religious issues.

In studying the progress of interfaith engagement in a country, an analysis should also be made by reading reports from external parties such as the reports written by US International Religious Freedom Report (2006) and External report from The Oslo Coalition (2002). The latter wrote that the general impression brought home by the delegation was that of a strong and confident co-operation between the leaders of the mainstream churches and the dominant Muslim networks of NU and Muhammadiyah.[16]

During the Oslo visit to the various Islamic Boarding Schools in the rural NU-context of Jombang, teachers who were asked about their opinion on the current shari‘a-debate  responded saying they were against the inclusion of shari‘a in the constitution, since “Indonesia is pluralistic.” They also reported that many Muslims volunteered to protect churches during Christmas and Easter celebrations from being burnt.

The Oslo report and the various writings voiced the same tone that the development of the interfaith initiative in Indonesia looks very promising.  The interfaith activists, scholars and religious leaders have reached another milestone since 1999.

However, a few writings singled out that while the government generally respects religious rights, at some occasions, there are still religious discrimination and restrictions for unrecognized religions. Another weakness mentioned is that the government also sometimes tolerated abuse of religious groups by individuals, or failed to punish the perpetrators. For example, some of the inter-religious violence has been instigated by factions in the military and allowed to spread due to the lack of police and law enforcement.


Interfaith Engagement towards Sustainable and Lasting Peace

Based on the studies done on various reports and discussions on Indonesia and the research on the interfaith initiatives that take place in areas where there are Christians and Muslims, the recommendations for a long engagement initiative between Muslims and Christians may consist of the following:

a. Educating the youths – this requires a systematic development of educational materials and pedagogy that allows conversation in a secured environment.

b. Training faith related and religious leaders on how to run an interfaith discourse that allows the sharing of spiritual experience in addition to finding solutions to conflict resolution and building the trust for interdependency towards one another. This mutually respecting discourse can be initiated by key change agents, such as the local governments or NGOs.

c. Developing partnership between religious leaders and all key parties to the conflict resolution, locally and internationally. This may include the non-mainstream  groups too, in addition to the partnership with the media which tend to write sensational reports to win popularity among the public.

d. Educating religious teachers and clergies on Islam and Christianity, especially on the ‘hospitality in hermeneutics’ [17] of the Bible and Quran and contextualized research work. Effort to facilitate their personal relationship development with adherents of other faiths need to be included in this transformational program.

e. Teaching and coaching the community members, perhaps through a centralized community center, on appreciation of others’ culture and religion. Such initiative can be edified by inviting the communities to organize an event together, for example, by celebrating the national day or other festivities.

f. Supporting the provision of the basic needs of both community members, such as having shelter, food, basic health care and education, including hygiene, and home economics and management.

g.  Developing interfaith related policies through competent and like minded team to implement the policies.

h. Advocating honor and respect towards each other’s spirituality and religious practices  is key to interfaith reconciliation. This cannot be ignored in every faith related initiative for peace.

Conclusion

The core of the Abrahamic faith projects a spirituality that characterizes the benevolent and beneficent way of religiosity. These values are the treasure of Christians and Muslims. Sharing these commonalities in all disciplines of life, politics, and economics will fuse members in a pluralistic community from being tolerant to being engage with one another. This relationship is to be cultivated in our daily life, with or without crisis. At times of conflict, the efforts of coming together in resolving conflicts by adhering to the common values and applying tactful wisdom, knowledge, efficient strategies, patient and love, and developing partnership with the right key parties, including the rightist and leftist, will be the best approach to crisis management. Long term solutions should be the motivational factors to interfaith initiatives in every conflict resolution. At the same time, the approach and engagement should always give room for each other to celebrate one’s own spiritual experience while walking through one’s life journey.

 

ENDNOTES

1 World Christian Trend, http://www.gordonconwell.edu/lifelong_learners/worldchristiantrends (accessed October 2010).

2 Ibid.

3 See, e.g. An-Naim, Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights and International Law, (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1990), 77.

4 Jubilee Debt Campaign (2010), see http://www.jubileeusa.org/ (accessed Dec 2010).

See Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, Genesis Chapter 15-17.

6 John Witte, God’s Joust God’s Justice – Law and Religion in the Western Tradition, (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2006), 77.

7 Pippa Norris, Rogel Inglehart, Sacred and Secular – Religion and Politics Worldwide, (New York: Cambridge Press, 2004), 4.

8 A Common Word is an initiative is a groundbreaking step towards reconciliation between Islam and Christianity led by Muslim and Christian leaders as a result of Muslim leaders’ invitation to peace in 2007.

9 Ref: http://acommonword.com/en/a-common-word/11-new-fruits-of-a-common-word/442-un-commends-a-common-word-a-common-word-leads-to-the-world-interfaith-harmony-week.html (accessed 4th December 2010).

10 Harvard University see http://pluralism.org/reports/view/32 ( accessed 3rd December 2010).

11 See http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/jan1999/indo-j30.shtml (accessed December 2010).

12 Asian Development Outlook 2001 : II. Economic Trends and Prospects in Developing Asia : Southeast Asia for Indonesia, see http://www.adb.org/documents/books/ado/2001/ino.asp (accessed 3rd December 2010).

13 “Kerukunan Umat Beragama: Pengantar” see http://www.humasdepag.or.id/kerukunan.php

14 “Obama Lauds Indonesia as a Religious Tolerance country,” see http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/11/09/indonesia.obama/ (accesses 5December 2010).

15 Mohamed Abu Nimer and others, Unity in Diversity – Interfaith Dialogue in the Middle East, (Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007), 15.

16 Report from The Oslo Coalition Report on Freedom of Relgion or Belief in 2002, see http://www.oslocoalition.org/html/project_indonesia/indonesia_project_report.html (accessed 5 December 2010).

17 See Miroslav Volf, “A Voice of One’s Own: Public Faith in a Pluralistic World” in Democracy and the New Religious Pluralism, ed. Thomas Banchoff  (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 280.

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