First India-Indonesia Interfaith Dialogue begins in Java

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Jakarta | Published: October 3, 2018 6:21:04 PM

The first India-Indonesia Interfaith Dialogue, decided during the maiden visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, began Wednesday in the Indonesian island of Java in a bid to promote pluralism and eradicate radicalism.

India Indonesia Interfaith Dialogue, java, Narendra Modi, Indian Embassy, M J Akbar, India-Indonesia tiesA seven member Indian delegation led by Minister of State of External Affairs M J Akbar attended the three-day dialogue, ?Sharing of Best Practices, Lessons Learnt and Way Forward? at Yogyakarta, a city in Java known for its traditional arts and cultural heritage, it said. (Photo source: Twitter/@mjakbar)

The first India-Indonesia Interfaith Dialogue, decided during the maiden visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, began Wednesday in the Indonesian island of Java in a bid to promote pluralism and eradicate radicalism. The dialogue comprised a forum discussion, visits to places of worship, and dialogues between Hindu, Islamic, Christian and Buddhist religious leaders of both the countries, the Indian Embassy said in a statement. A seven member Indian delegation led by Minister of State of External Affairs M J Akbar attended the three-day dialogue, ‘Sharing of Best Practices, Lessons Learnt and Way Forward’ at Yogyakarta, a city in Java known for its traditional arts and cultural heritage, it said.

The Indonesian delegation at the India-Indonesia Interfaith Dialogue (IIID) was led by Vice Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs A M Fachir. During Prime Minister Modi’s talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the two leaders had agreed to organise the Interfaith Dialogue in Indonesia in early October 2018, 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 visit Prambanam and Borobodur Temples, along with Zen Ling Gong Temple, Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Church, Santo Antonius CatholicChurch and Syuhada Mosque in Yogyakarta, it said. During the discussions, delegates shared their common commitment to ancient philosophies of ‘BhinnekaTinggalEka’ or ‘Unity in Diversity’ and ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’ 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.

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