Indonesia will host a conference of Asian Muslim and Christian leaders from Feb. 26 to March 1, a report said on Wednesday.
Under the theme “Bringing a Common Word to Common Action for Justice,” the religious conference will be jointly held by the International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS), the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) and the Indonesian Church Association (PGI), at the Acacia Hotel in Central Jakarta.
The conference is also supported by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference and the Christian Conference of Asia.
“This forum is hoped to be able to strengthen the personal relations between Muslim and Christian leaders so that they can be open to each other and be able to conduct joint actions to overcome problems of justice and socioeconomic conflicts,” ICIS secretary general Hasyim Muzadi was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.
Hasyim said the conference would also be used to address the cases of intolerance that have afflicted Indonesia in recent times.
“There are cases of intolerance, but these are not thoughts of intolerance and we will explain this,” Hasyim said.
He said the trigger behind cases of intolerance in Indonesia were most often not religious fanaticism but instead other socioeconomic and political factors.
PGI secretary general Reverend Gomar Gultom was also quoted by Antara as saying that in many cases, religion was used to hide other interests, including local political considerations.
He said he hoped the conference could explore the role of religion in battling corruption, human trafficking and environmental problems.
“It is hoped that a declaration such as that of the Asia-Africa conference, but from religious leaders on how … new hope for civility in Asia can be produced,” said Benny Susetyo, the secretary general of KWI.
The conference will involve some 150 participants from 20 countries and will be opened by Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali.
Among the speakers are leading religious thinkers such as India’s Asghar Ali Engineer, Archbishop Ferdinand Capalla from the Philippines, Archbishop Felix Machado from Hong Kong, Muhammadiyah leader Din Syamsuddin, and Indonesian academics Komaruddin Hidayat and Azyumardi Azra.
Former Vice President Jusuf Kalla is also scheduled to address the conference.
“The delegations will also visit groups active in handling migrant workers’ issues as well as those dealing with the environment, legal affairs and the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK],” said Nashihin Hasan, the head of the organizing committee.