SHILLONG, Oct 03: The Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad K Sangma is attending the first Indonesia – India Interfaith Dialogue in the Indonesian island of Java, which is being led by Minister of State of External Affairs M.J Akbar.
“Indonesia – India Interfaith Dialogue has the potential to emerge as an effective forum to nurture peace and harmony not only in the two countries but also in the region and in the world,” Conrad has said in this regard.
He also said that all religions are based on peace for all mankind and that it is a crime against God to use religion as a platform to incite hate, conflict, violence, war or terrorism. The Chief Minister also expressed concern over the global trend towards insularity and felt that this could lead to greater social tensions and strife in the world.
The dialogue aims to promote pluralism and eradicate radicalism. The three-day programme comprises of a forum discussion, visit to places of worship and dialogues between Hindu, Islamic, Christian and Buddhist religious leaders of both India and Indonesia.
During the programme, the members held discussion on the theme – “Sharing of Best Practices, Lessons Learnt and Way Forward” at Yogyakarta, a city in Java Island.
The Indonesian delegation at the India-Indonesia Interfaith Dialogue (IIID) was led by Vice Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs A M Fachir.
Earlier this year, during Prime Minister Modi’s talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the two leaders had agreed to organise the Interfaith Dialogue in Indonesia, which will be followed by a similar dialogue in India next year to promote pluralism and eradicate radicalism.
It is being held as an innovative mechanism to promote pluralism and tolerance, and to provide a platform for Indonesian and Indian religious scholars, youth and civil society leaders to join hands in improving relations across religions and cultures, combat prejudice, tackle radicalism and build conducive conditions for long-term peace, the statement said.
The participating delegates will be visiting Prambanam and Borobodur Temples, along with Zen Ling Gong Temple, Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Church, Santo Antonius Catholic Church and Syuhada Mosque in Yogyakarta, a statement by Indian Embassy in Indonesia said.
During the discussions, delegates shared their common commitment to ancient philosophies of ‘Bhinneka Tinggal Eka’ or ‘Unity in Diversity’ and ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ or ‘The world is one family’, the statement said.
Earlier, Akbar delivered a memorial lecture at the prestigious Gajamadah University to mark the beginning of the year-long celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.
He also unveiled a photo exhibit on Gandhi and inaugurated a film festival on movies and documentaries showcasing the life of the towering Indian leader.
Akbar welcomed the timing of the maiden IIID to coincide with the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Gandhi, stating that there could be no better symbol for Interfaith Dialogue than Gandhi.
The minister extended an invitation for Indonesia to attend the second IIID in India in 2019.
According to the Pew Research Center, Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population. India is home to the world’s second largest Muslim population.
The delegates recognized the importance of interfaith and faith-based organizations and religious leaders in fostering a culture of peace and preventing violent extremism in the world and agreed on the need to enhance partnership to realize practical and concrete cooperation among interfaith and faith-based organizations as well as religious and traditional leaders with policy makers between India and Indonesia so as to promote harmony and peace.