Islamisation and Christianisation

The CDCC held a public discussion on a book entitled “Islamisation and Christianization”, authored by Rev. Dr. Richard Daulay, the priest of Methodist Church of Indonesia) on Wednesday, 18 February 2015. The book was reviewed by Prof. Dr. Franz Magnis Suseno of Driyarkara College of Philosophy of Driyarkara, and Prof. Dr. Sudarnoto Abdul Hakim of the Jakarta Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University. With the enthusiastic birth of the new era of “Reformasi”, which is expected to make the nation of Indonesia become one of the biggest democratic nations that respects human rights, also came along friction and even bloody conflict within the diverse communities. According to the book, one of the causes was the rise of political Islam, which had long been oppressed by the New Order regime in power. The book argues that political Islam has now been utilizing the process of democratization and openness to materialize agenda of its own. This book highlights the efforts of political Islam circles which were considered as trying to marginalize the role and participation of the Christian community in Indonesia political scene, as well as discussing the Christian community attitude facing the development of the country’s political situation which is perceived increasingly deviating from the Pancasila and the 1945 National Constitution. The discussion was well attended by many inter-faith activists such as Theophilus Bela, The Sri Lanka Council of Religion for Peace President, Ven. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Anunayake
Thera said that they reject such abuse and pledge to counter extremist religious interpretations and actions with our authentic primary narratives of peace. He went on to point out the similarities between Islam and Buddhist teachings, including ideals of peace and compassion for all of mankind. The two religions not only respect human life, but the dignity of it as well, hoping to “ensure basic human rights without discriminating between race, color, language or religion.” Chandra Musaffar, the president of International Movement for a Just World, said, “If we want peace and justice, it is very important for Buddhists and Muslims to come together because these are two major world religions.” He added that they plan to use social and alternative media to boost positive messaging for the two religions. The chairman for the Indonesian Ulema Council, Prof. Dr. Din Syamsuddin, who is also President of Muhammadiyah, said that extremism p r i m a r i l y d e v e l o p e d t h r o u g h r e l i g i o u s misunderstandings, hoping that the leaders of religious communities would spread the Yogyakarta Statement in their communities. Below is part of the Yogyakarta Statement: We, Buddhist and Muslim leaders, recognize that our followers have developed together a harmonious relationship, which has become the foundation for building peace and prosperity in many parts of the world. Buddhism and Islam share in their respective scriptures and other canonical texts the importance of holistic and positive peace, which encompasses the notions of inner peace, peace among humans, and peace with nature. We reaffirm that Islam and Buddhism are religions of mercy and compassion committed to justice for all humankind. Both traditions respect the sacredness of life and inherent dignity of human existence, which is the foundation of all human rights without any distinction as to race, color, language, or religion. We reject the abuse of our religions in support of discrimination and violence. Buddhism and Islam have been misused by some for their own political purposes to fuel prejudice and stereotyping and to incite discrimination and violence. We categorically reject such abuse and pledge to counter extremist religious interpretations and actions with our authentic primary narratives of peace. We also recognize the need to strengthen governmental measures to prevent religiously motivated discrimination and violence. Based on universally accepted international legal instruments such as Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, we call on all states to take measures to fulfill their responsibilities to protect their citizens from religious and racial hatred, and incitement to discrimination and violence in the name of religion. Freedom of expression includes the obligation to respect each other. We reaffirm our fundamental common values shared by our respective scriptures and other canonical texts as follows: Religious Diversity and Peaceful Co-Existence, Universal Mercy and Compassion, Universal Justice, Human Dignity and Non-Violence , Living in Harmony with the Environment, Pluralism, Tolerance, and Religious Freedom, Rejection of Hate, Hate Speech, Retaliation, and the Importance of Self-Introspection. Based upon our shared core values mentioned above, We commit ourselves, through the facilitation of the core group of the International Forum on Buddhist Muslim Relations (BMF: International Network of Engaged Buddhists, International Movement for a Just World, Muhammadiyah and Religions for Peace), to implementing the agreed upon action plan and working to further strengthen BMF to serve as a platform for intra-religious and inter-religious initiatives in education & advocacy;enable rapid reaction/ solidarity visits/ early warning/ conflict prevention in the event of conflict;develop and provide tools and materials for constructive engagement and strategic common action, and; develop the effective

While technology is replacing or at least changing the nature of many functions and methods of traditional diplomacy such as routine consular activities, communications, and information gathering, at the same time it is leading us to re-assert the importance of other core issues and techniques, including language use, negotiation, and such elements where human creativity can be assisted but not replaced by machines. The Internet has reinforced the importance of texts as the key medium of modern human communication, in a variety of forms such as e-mail, websites, and hypertextbased documents. And for diplomacy texts have always been crucial: the richness and complexity of diplomatic activities, including negotiations, representation, social activities and media coverage is crystallised in texts – diplomatic documents. On a human level, information and communications technology (ICT) has increased opportunities for direct communication between people, making awareness and understanding of cultural differences in communication more and more important. At the same time, ICT is changing the way we use language to communicate: indirectly, as fast and personal communication leads to less formality; and directly, as we begin to explore new possibilities for enriching our communication with ICT-based tools. Dr. Jovan Kurbalija is the founding director of DiploFoundation and head of the Geneva Internet Platform. He is a former diplomat with a professional and academic background in international law, diplomacy, and information technology. In 1992, he established the Unit for Information Technology and Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta. After more than ten years of training, research, and publishing, in 2002 the Unit evolved into DiploFoundation. Since 1994, Dr Kurbalija has been teaching courses on the impact of ICT/ Internet on diplomacy and ICT/Internet governance. Currently, he is visiting lecturer at the College of Europe in Bruges and the University of St. Gallen