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Indonesian Muslim leader meets pope to discuss humanity award

Former vice president among judges for the Zayad Award for Human Fraternity

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Indonesian Muslim leader meets pope to discuss humanity award

Pope Francis welcomes former Indonesian vice president Jusuf Kalla at the Vatican on Oct. 23. (Photo courtesy of Indonesian embassy at Vatican)

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Former Indonesian vice president Jusuf Kalla has met Pope Francis at the Vatican to get some insights from the pontiff about the criteria for the nominations for the Zayad Award for Human Fraternity.

Kalla, also chairman of the Indonesian Mosque Council, was among award judges who met Pope Francis for 70 minutes on Oct. 23 at the papal private library.

The award was initiated by The Higher Committee for Human Fraternity, an organization whose members are world leaders in the fields of religion, education and culture inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad At-Tayyeb, in February 2019 in Abu Dhabi.

Other judges include Catherine Samba Panza, former president of the Central African Republic, Adama Dieng, former vice general secretary of the United Nations, Cardinal Dominique Mamberti. prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, and Michelle Jean, former governor general of Canada.

The Indonesian embassy at the Vatican said in a statement that Pope Francis expressed his support for this award, which can spur the spirit of humanitarian fighters around the world in spreading the values of universal tolerance and harmony of humanity regardless of religion, ethnicity and class.

The pope also assured Kalla of his wish to visit Indonesia when the situation is conducive.

Kalla said he appreciated the pope’s good relationship with the grand imam and their cooperation to raise the global agenda on human fraternity.

"I conveyed the greetings of the Indonesian people and hope he will visit Indonesia," Kalla said.

Divine Word Father Markus Solo Kewuta, director of the Vatican Interfaith Dialogue for Asia and Pacific of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said what Kalla and his team are doing is an important effort to make the Abu Dhabi Document have an impact globally.

“The document as a guideline has a new dynamic to foster interreligious peace and a harmonious coexistence around the world,” Father Solo, a Divine Word missionary from Flores, Indonesia, told UCA News.

Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, a member of the presidential unit promoting communal tolerance, said the award is important in realizing long-lasting peace.

“The award wants to continue the document and the pope’s thoughts on fraternity, peace and the role of religions in advancing universal values,” Father Susetyo told UCA News.

He said Kalla’s involvement is important for Muslim-majority Indonesia to promote fraternity, peace and respect for pluralism.

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