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Muslim, Christian leaders meet for Asia summit

Religious and political challenges on agenda

Muslim, Christian leaders meet for Asia summit
Archbishop Fernando Capalla, Hasyim Muzadi and Nazaruddin Umar speak to reporters in Jakarta

More than 100 representatives from 16 Asian countries kicked off the 4th Conference of Muslim-Christian Religious Leaders of Asia in Jakarta Tuesday, aiming to bring “a common word to common action” for justice in the region.

“Bringing Common Word to Common Action is our theme now. In order to bring common word to common action, we must overcome and solve many problems -- religious, political and social,” said Hasyim Muzadi, secretary-general of the International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS).

The ICIS, the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference and the Communion of Churches in Indonesia organized the program, which will run until March 1, with the support of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) and Christian Conference of Asia.

“We get together here to make our ideas a reality,” Muzadi said.

He hopes religious leaders from Asian countries in attendance, including India, Indonesia and the Philippines, will form an Asia-level forum for interreligious dialogue. “The soul of religions is in Asia, not in other continents,” he said.

Archbishop Fernando R Capalla said injustice, disharmony and disorder in the region can be traced back to the absence of love in neighborhoods and communities.

“From the side of FABC, we believe that such situation can be restored if we follow the teaching of the Holy Bible and the Holy Qu'ran, which is to love God and to love thy neighbor. Justice is an expression of the love of God and the love of neighbor,” he told

The Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali, Nasaruddin Umar welcomed the attendees, saying it “is a witness to a strong commitment from three religions [Catholic, Islam and Protestant] to promote the values of harmony.”

Besides plenary sessions, the four-day program also includes discussions and exposure visits to six organizations’ offices such as the Migrant Care and the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace (ICRP).


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