Interfaith harmony week in RI kicks off to a tragic start

In News by Staff

The Jakarta Post

Ridwan Max Sijabat

Religious leaders and government officials called on the public to end prejudice and stop religious violence at the start of a religious harmony week on Sunday, when three Ahmadis
were killed.

The chairman of Muhammadiyah, the nation’s second-largest Muslim organization, Din Syamsuddin, made the call during the official opening of World Interfaith Harmony Week at the Jakarta Convention Center on Sunday, following an attack by 1,500 people on members of the Ahmadiyah faith, in which there were three killed and five seriously injured in Cikeusik in Pandeglang, Banten.

There were similar attacks against Ahmadis in Parung, Bogor, Sukabumi, Kuningan, West Java and Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.
Actor Butet Kertaradjasa conveyed his dismay. “While we celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week today, we witness dozens of Ahmadis being stabbed by others in the name of religion.”
Din, who chairs the Inter-Religious Council (IRC), stressed that religious communities and other social groups were obliged to foster religious harmony.

“As a pluralistic nation, we all have to enhance religious tolerance. Each community has to remain open to others, develop better communications and work hand in hand to develop the nation,” he said.
Din, however, refused to comment on the attack on the Ahmadis. “I need more information [before I make a comment],” he was quoted as saying by news portal kompas.com.

The event is part of the celebration of the UN’s official World Interfaith Harmony Week, launched on Feb. 1 this year, and observed on the first week of each February.

The UN General Assembly in November decided that the week should convey “the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship… based on love of God and love of one’s neighbor or on love of the good and love of one’s neighbor, each according to their own religious traditions or convictions”.

The idea was proposed in 2010 by Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad.
The event will be held annually in Indonesia to pursue and promote religious harmony in society,
Din said.

On Sunday, musicians and singers of different faiths such as Edo Kondologit, Rossa, Iis Dahlia and Cici Paramida sang at the event.
Also in attendance were People’s Consultative Assembly Speaker Taufiq Kiemas, Regional Representatives Council Speaker Irman Gusman, World Conference on Religion and Peace secretary-general William Vandley, Rev. Supriadi, Conference of Indonesian Bishops (KWI) chairman Mgr. P Mandagi, House of Representatives Speaker Marzuki Alie, Indonesian Confucians representative Wawan Wiriatma, Hindu community representative I Dewa Putu Sukardi and Buddhist community leader Philip Wijaya.

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