Interfaith leaders committed to peace at Assisi summit

din-syasuddin-assisi-2016-2Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Buddhist religious leaders applauded the “Spirit of Assisi” in interreligious meetings launched by Pope St. John Paul II thirty years ago in the Italian hill town.  At the conclusion of a four day peace summit of interfaith leaders in Assisi, representatives who addressed the gathering thanked Pope Francis for, in the words of the Muslim representative from Indonesia, “his endless commitment for peace.” Pope Francis arrived in Assisi Tuesday morning to attend the final day of the meeting, organized by the Sant Egidio lay community.

Din Syamsuddin, Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Indonesian Council of Ulama, expressed “high appreciation” to the lay Community of Sant’Egidio for “having kept alive the spirit of Assisi” by organizing the event each year.  Noting that Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country, Chairman Syamsuddin said the cooperation “has brought concrete fruits of peace such as our common work in interfaith dialogue, peace education among youth, peace process and conflict resolution in Mindanao, South Philippines.”

Violent extremism in the name of religion is an abuse of religion

The gathering each year has helped moreover, he added, “to materialize our common ideals for peaceful coexistence and collaboration.  To say, and to show, with concrete actions, that violent extremism in the name of religion is indeed misuse and even abuse of religion. Never violence can use the name of religion, never!”

The Spirit of Assisi, he insisted, “is the true dialogue of life that should be continued for the sake of our world,” and he added, “we want to strengthen our commitment for this noble cause.  Let’s walk together in unity and diversity on the path to peace.”

Jewish Rabbi: despite diversity, it is possible to become friends and live in peace

In his remarks, Rabbi Brodman, Chief Rabbi of Savyon, Israel, recalled his own childhood at a Nazi concentration camp, and his frequent talks to young people today “because [he] who does not know history is condemned to repeat it.”  The Spirit of Assisi, he affirmed, “is the best example for humility and holiness and it is the answer to the tragedy of the Shoah and of every war.”

In Assisi, he stressed, “we say to the world that it is possible to become friends and to live together in peace, even if we are different.”  With the courage of dialogue, he said, conflicts can be prevented and a human world created “where everybody can recognize in others the image of God.”

Anglican Archbishop: listen, eat, come and trust

In an ecumenical prayer ceremony in Assisi, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby reflected on the misconception in today’s world that money makes one rich:  “We think ourselves rich.  Our money and wealth is like the toy money in a children’s game: it may buy goods in our human economies which seem so powerful, but in the economy of God it is worthless.  We are only truly rich when we accept mercy from God, through Christ our Saviour.”

And, he offered this consideration about Europe:  “The greatest wealth in European history has ended in the tragedies of debt and slavery.  Our economies that can spend so much are merely sandy foundations.  Despite it all, we find dissatisfaction and despair: in the breakdown of families; in hunger and inequality; in turning to extremists.  Riddled with fear, resentment and anger, we seek ever more desperately, fearing the stranger, not knowing where to find courage.”

God, he said, “offers wealth that is real and will bring satisfaction.” In order to receive God’s mercy, one must listen to the “most helpless and the poorest;”eat “above all in the Eucharist, in sharing the body and blood of Christ;” cometo the Lord and trust in His mercy. “When we receive mercy and peace,” he said, “we become the bearers of mercy and peace.”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I: need for examination of conscience

In his remarks, the Patriarch Archbishop of Constantinople said peace “needs a few cornerstones to uphold it even when it is endangered.”

“There can be no peace without mutual respect and acknowledgment,” he added.  “There can be no peace without justice;  there can be no peace without fruitful cooperation among all the peoples in the world.”

He also said peace comes from “mutual knowledge and cooperation”, and spoke of the need for the leaders gathered in Assisi to revive these.

“We need to be able to ask ourselves where we may have been wrong, or where we have not been careful enough; because fundamentalisms have risen, threatening not only dialogue with others, but even dialogue within our own selves, our very own consciences. We have to be able to isolate them, to purify them, in the light of our faiths, to transform them into richness for all,” he said.

Buddhist priest:  prayers and dialogue a “shortcut to peace”

91 year old Koei Morikawa Tendaizasu, Supreme Priest of the Tendai Buddhist Denomination of Japan described being able to pray with world religious leaders at these interfaith meetings as “one of the most joyous occasions” of his life.

“History has shown us that the peace attained by force will be overturned by force,” he observed.  “We should know that prayers and dialogue are not the long way but the shortcut to peace…We cannot, however, overlook the current world movements which separate dialogue from unity and cooperation and demand isolation and power.”

“In order to create a world with virtue where abhorrence exists and with love where hatred exists, we clergy must pray together hand in hand and continue to do our very best.”

Victim of Syrian war: Before, there was no difference between Christians and Muslims

One of the many victims of conflict attending the summit, Tamar Mikalli described being heartbroken when saying the name of her home city of Aleppo, Syria.

“I remember my many Muslim and Christian friends.  Now distinctions are made between Christians and Muslims, but before the war there was no difference.  Everyone practiced his or her own religion, in a land that formed a mosaic through different cultures, languages and religions.”

“When the heavy bombings were close to our houses,” she said, “we met with our neighbours, sharing bread and water, the most precious goods that go missing during wartime.  We encouraged each other and prayed.”  She explained how she and her family escaped to Lebanon and then finally were given refuge in Italy where they are doing their best to integrate, and asked for prayers “for peace and love to return to Syria and all over the world.”

Archbishop of Assisi:  need for a “world-scale policy of brotherhood”

Archbishop of Assisi, Domenico Sorrentino, described the interfaith summit as offeringa spirit of prayer, understanding, and peace that aims at being an answer in a world darkened by many wars. Wars that sometimes, improperly, even blasphemously and in satanic ways, weave religious banners.”

Addressing Pope Francis, Archbishop Sorrentino said, “during this year…you have taught us to live this culture of peace as the culture of mercy. That is a culture of love, capable of caring, of being moved, and of forgiving, according to the Evangelical beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”.

By practicing and testifying to our religious beliefs and by respectfully listening to those of others during such meetings, he said, “we have experienced true friendship.”

“But we need to go further. Our friendship must turn into a contribution for a world-scale policy of brotherhood.”

“Is it possible,” he asked, “for humanity to perceive itself as one single family? We believers think it is possible. This is the motive for our work, while we search for what unites us together and disregard what divides us.”


Pope, Refugees and Religious Leaders Pray for Peace

ASSOCIATED PRESS ASSISI, Italy — Sep 20, 2016, 2:50 PM ET

din-syasuddin-assisi-2016-3Pope Francis met with war refugees and religious figures on Tuesday in Assisi, the Italian hometown of the tolerance-preaching St. Francis, for a day of prayers for peace, openness toward refugees and calls for religions to marginalize fundamentalism.

He lamented in a prayer service in St. Francis Basilica that refugees from conflicts often receive “the bitter vinegar of rejection.”

“Who listens to them? Who bothers responding to them?” Francis said. “Far too often, they encounter the deafening silence of indifference, the selfishness of those annoyed at being pestered, the coldness of those who silence their cry for help with the same ease with which television channels are changed.”

Throughout his papacy, Francis has decried those who turn their backs on those fleeing wars and poverty.

Orthodox leader Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, exhorted fellow participants to work to isolate fundamentalisms, which threaten “our very coexistence,” from their religions.

A Muslim speaker, Din Syamsuddin, president of the Indonesian Council of Ulema, lamented that lack of peace in the world is expressed in injustice, terrorism and other evils, and that some groups use the name of Islam to carry out violent acts.

Francis told participants: “Peace alone is holy, not war!”

Later, the names of countries where war or other violence is raging were read aloud, in alphabetical order, with a tall, slender candle lit for each place. Places cited included Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, Mexico, Ukraine and Mindanao in the Philippines.

Participants signed an appeal to the world’s leaders to eliminate the “motives” of war such as greed for power and money, including in the arms business, and the thirst for vengeance.

Earlier, after chatting individually with each of dozens of participants, Francis dined with them in the Franciscan convent. The diners included 12 refugees from war and conflicts in Nigeria, Eritrea, Mali and Syria.

At the end of the day, an Armenian woman from the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo addressed the participants. Tamara Mikalli said that when she pronounces the name of her city her “heart tightens.” She recounted that she fled with her family to Lebanon after their house was bombed and reached Italy thanks to a “humanitarian corridor” that saw Syrian refugees flown from Lebanon.

Another woman, from Eritrea, identified only as Enes, recounted that during lunch the pope asked each of the refugees how they reached Italy. “I told him I made a voyage in boat, navigating in the Mediterranean after crossing the desert,” the Italian news agency quoted her as saying.

Still another participant in Assisi was a young girl, identified only as Kudus, who had already met the pope. She was one of 12 Syrian refugees who flew to Italy with the pontiff from Lesbos, the Greek island where thousands of refugees landed after fleeing across the Mediterranean on smugglers’ boats.

Christians, including the pope, prayed in the basilica, while those from other religions, including Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and others, prayed elsewhere in the town. For centuries, Assisi has drawn admirers of the saint who abandoned family wealth for an austere existence of preaching tolerance.

Flanking the pope in the basilica was the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who decried how despite much wealth, people in Europe experience “dissatisfaction and despair, in the breakdown of families, in hunger and inequality, in turning to extremists.”

Earlier this week, Pope Francis urged people worldwide to pray on Tuesday for peace, whenever they could.

Francis took his papal name from the saint who was born in the Umbrian hill town, where Franciscans from the religious order founded by the medieval saint care for the basilica and its renowned artworks. St. John Paul II established the inter-religious prayer gathering in Assisi in 1986.


Frances D’Emilio reported from Rome. | AbcNews


Prof. Dr. M. DIn Syamsuddin

Din Syamsuddin Dapat Penghargaan dari Pemerintah Jepang

Din Syamsuddin

Prof. Dr. M. Din Syamsuddin

JAKARTA — Ketua Umum Muhammadiyah periode 2005-2015 Din Syamsuddin mendapatkan Penghargaan Menteri Luar Negeri Jepang 2016. Dari keterangan pers yang diterima, penghargaan Menteri Luar Negeri Jepang 2016 diberikan kepada 142 individu dan 31 organisasi di seluruh dunia.

Di antara para penerima penghargaan itu, terdapat dua orang penerima penghargaan atas jasa yang terkait dengan hubungan Jepang dan Indonesia. Din Syamsuddin memperoleh penghargaan dari Pemerintah Jepang tersebut atas jasanya memberikan sumbangsih dalam peningkatan hubungan saling pengertian antara Jepang dan Indonesia.

Penghargaan Menteri Luar Negeri Jepang dalam bentuk surat penghargaan dan cenderamata akan diserahkan kepada Din Syamsuddin oleh Duta Besar Jepang untuk Indonesia Yasuaki Tanizaki dalam waktu dekat di Denpasar, Bali.

Selain Din Syamsuddin, satu orang lainnya yang menerima Penghargaan Menteri Luar Negeri Jepang 2016 terkait peningkatan hubungan Indonesia-Jepang adalah Tsuneo Sengoku. Dia merupakan pemilik, pelatih dan kepala Sengoku International Judo Hall yang dinilai berjasa dalam mempromosikan Judo di Indonesia.

Penghargaan Menteri Luar Negeri Jepang dianugerahkan untuk menghormati para individu dan organisasi yang dinilai telah memberikan sumbangsih luar biasa.

Penganugerahan itu juga bertujuan agar setiap lapisan masyarakat di berbagai negara lebih memahami, mendukung, dan aktif melakukan kegiatan di berbagai bidang dalam rangka peningkatan hubungan masyarakat internasional, serta memberikan sumbangsih besar terhadap peningkatan hubungan persahabatan dengan Jepang.

Red: Esthi Maharani Republika.co.id

Obama sidesteps ‘genocide’ in new Armenia proclamation

President Barack Obama on Friday soothed a key foreign ally but antagonized some Americans with long memories, by issuing an annual proclamation commemorating the 1915 expulsion of Armenians from present-day Turkey that studiously avoids the term “genocide.”

In his eighth and final Armenian proclamation, Obama followed his past practice and that of previous presidents by finding synonyms for the word, which Armenian-Americans say is essential to an accurate description of what took place but that the Turkish government finds objectionable.

Obama used “Meds Yeghern,” an Armenian phrase sometimes roughly translated as “great catastrophe” or “great calamity,” to describe the events in commemorating their 101st anniversary. While Armenians consider the phrase essentially synonymous with “genocide,” it lacks the same global punch.

“Today we solemnly reflect on the first mass atrocity of the 20th century – the Armenian Meds Yeghern – when one and a half million Armenian people were deported, massacred and marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire,” the president said.

The White House issued Obama’s five-paragraph statement in advance of Armenian Remembrance Day, April 24. On that day in 1915, hundreds of Armenian intellectuals were arrested in Turkey and killed or exiled, the start of an eight-year-long mass ordeal.

“We honor the memory of those who suffered during the dark days beginning in 1915 – and commit to learn from this tragedy so it may never be repeated,” Obama’s statement said.

I have also seen that peoples and nations grow stronger, and build a foundation for a more just and tolerant future, by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past. President Barack Obama

But as with presidents including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush before him, Obama drew far more attention for the word he didn’t use than for the words he’d polished and made public.

As a candidate, Obama had sought Armenian-American votes by endorsing the “genocide” term as appropriate for the events that lasted through 1923.

“We have learned that there is a difference between campaigning and governing,” Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, said in an interview.

An exception was Ronald Reagan, who on April 22, 1981, issued a proclamation citing “the genocide of the Armenians” that preceded the Holocaust.

“Recognition of the Armenian genocide could have been a proud part of (Obama’s) legacy,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. “Instead, this decision will be just another sad milestone in the struggle to prevent genocide by exposing genocide and its perpetrators.”

Hamparian, who met with White House National Security Council staff Thursday about the issue, likewise blasted Obama for “caving in to pressure from Turkey and betraying his commitment to speak honestly about the Armenian genocide.” Other activists said much the same.

“America deserves a president who speaks truthfully and condemns all genocides,” said Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, adding that “selective acknowledgment . . . is indefensible, sends the wrong message and hurts U.S. credibility.”

In past debates, genocide-resolution critics have cautioned that the language could inject uncertainty into a restive region and strain relations with a strategically placed NATO ally. American warplanes make heavy use of Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base.

The country also is a serious customer of the U.S. defense industry, which further strengthens its hand. Last year, for instance, the Obama administration approved selling $70 million worth of “joint direct attack munitions” and $310 million worth of upgrades for the Phalanx ship defense system.

The Turkish opposition – echoed by some U.S. diplomats, military leaders and corporate executives – has also helped block congressional Armenian genocide resolutions for years. The latest House of Representatives resolution – introduced 13 months ago, with 66 co-sponsors – has still not had a hearing.

In 2000, then-Rep. George Radanovich, who represented much of the Fresno, California, area, came close to getting a genocide resolution to the House floor. But then-Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., yanked it, at the request, Hastert said, of the Clinton administration. Hastert subsequently joined a lobbying firm paid $35,000 a month by Turkey.

Michael Doyle: 202-383-0006, @MichaelDoyle10

Public Lecture of CDCC

Kenalkan Budaya Armenia, Dubes Anna Sempat Cekcok

Public Lecture of CDCC

Public Lecture of CDCC: “Armenia dan Armenians: History, Culture and Tradion” 22/4/16

JAKARTA – Centre for Dialogue and Cooporation Among Civilizations (CDCC) bekerja sama dengan Kedutaan Besar Armenia mengadakan acara yang bertema “Armenia dan Armenians: History, Culture and Tradion” pada Jumat (22/4/2016). Acara ini bertujuan untuk memperkenalkan kultur, sejarah, dan tradisi masyarakat Armenia.

Acara ini dihadiri oleh Dubes Armenia, Anna Aghadjanian; Ketua CDCC, Prof. Dr. Din Syamsudin; perwakilan dari Turki; perwakilan pemerintah Indonesia dari berbagai unsur; dan sejumlah awak media.

Armenia yang berbatasan dengan Turki, Georgia, Azerbaijan, dan Iran tercatat secara resmi sebagai Negara Kristen pertama di dunia. Dubes Armenia, Anna Aghadjanian memperkenalkan tempat bersejarah, daerah wisata, kebudayaan, bahasa, dan tari unik khas bangsa Armenia.

Selama ini, antara Pemerintah Indonesia dan Armenia diketahui telah menjalin sejumlah kerja sama yang melibatkan berbagai unsur dalam bidang akademik, parlemen, ekonomi, dan obat-obatan. Kedua negara juga telah melakukan ekspor dan impor, terutama dalam bidang kopi dan peralatan rumah tangga.

Sempat terjadi perdebatan antara Dubes Armenia dengan perwakilan Turki. Hal ini dipicu oleh pernyataan Anna Aghadjanian yang mengatakan bahwa Kerajaan Turki Ottoman melakukan genosida terhadap masyarakat dan menghancurkan gereja di Armenia.

Dialog yang diadakan CDCC sempat mengalami ketegangan akibat seorang mahasiswa Tajikistan bernama Bahroem secara diam-diam mengedarkan buku yang disebut sebagai Dubes Armenia sebagai “Buku Propaganda”. Buku tersebut diduga berisi bacaan sensitif yang membahas konflik antara Armenia dan Azerbaijan yang saat ini sedang terjadi di Nagarno-Karabakh.

Sumber: Okezone.com