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Dialogue promotes student harmony

Nationalism 'should be actually based on our national spiritual values', says professor

Students participating in an interfaith dialogue in Central Java Students participating in an interfaith dialogue in Central Java
  • Robertus Sutriyono, Banyumas
  • Indonesia
  • July 6, 2011
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A group of nearly 100 university students from different religious backgrounds in Purwokerto in Central Java met at an interfaith dialogue to boost harmony among people of different faiths in the predominantly Muslim country.

Students of Catholic, Hindu, Muslim and Protestant faith representing several universities in the capital of Banyumas district gathered at Yos Sudarso School of Computer Science yesterday.

Ahmad Tohari, a member of the district’s Forum for Interreligious Harmony and co-spokesman for the event, told students that “we must be brave to compare our truthfulness and faith achievement.”

Tohari was joined by Rubiyanto Misman, a professor at the University of General Soedirman in Purwokerto,  and Father Robertus Suraji, chairman of Purwokerto diocese’ Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

“As a Muslim, I believe in the truthfulness of my faith. But as a human being, I must have a space to respect the truthfulness of the faith held by Father Suraji,” Tohari said.

Misman suggested that developing a spirit of nationalism should go together with efforts taken to instill spiritualism.

“The spirit of nationalism should be actually based on our national spiritual values such as cooperation, tolerance and dialogue,” he said.

A 20-year-old Muslim student, Awit Fajar, welcomed the program. “It is easier for us to build harmony through culture,” he said.

Fransiska Juniarti, 20, added that the program made her realize that as a university student, she should take part in encouraging interfaith harmony. “I did not pay much attention to this before,” she said.

Muhammad Roqib, coordinator of the event, said the approach aimed at uniting society as a whole.

“We try to develop the spirit of nationalism and spiritualism [among the students] so that it can become a catalyst for harmony in the society.”

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