Mar Aprem takes part in interfaith dialogue at conference

Jakarta, Indonesia: An interfaith conference of Asian Christian and Muslim leaders, jointly held by the Indonesian-based International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS), Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI), and the Indonesian Church Association (PGI), has taken several bold steps towards fresh perspectives in Christian-Muslim relations.  Photo Gallery
The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and the Christian Conference of Asia also supported the conference. The participants issued a major 10 point resolution termed the Jakarta Statement at the end of the five-day conference from February 26-28, 2013.
HG Dr Zacharias Mar Aprem, Diocese Metropolitan of Adoor (Kerala), who represented the Indian Orthodox Malankara Church at the conference says: “The conference was extremely useful and successful. About 134 participants from Asian countries and Australia took part. From India there were only 4 participants which included 3 Catholic Bishops including an Archbishop while I was the lone Orthodox participant.” numerous interfaith initiatives and meetings across the archipelago aimed at airing tensions and establishing interreligious harmony.
It was solely due to the initiative of Rev Dr Henriette Hutabarat Lebang, General Secretary, Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), that Dr Mar Aprem managed to take part in the Conference of Religious Leaders.
The conference theme was on Solidarity and Collaboration in Asia, Generating the Needed Synergy  “Love God, Love Neighbour, Love all Creation.”
Towards the end of the conference, Muslim and Christian religious leaders affirmed that both had frequently misunderstood one another which resulted in suspicion and lack of positive commitment from either side. They were urged to practise the dual commandment to love is a bold step towards fresh perspectives in Christian-Muslim relations. They felt that it also served as a catalyst for new initiatives to move beyond tolerance and mere coexistence to accepting the other in love and respect.
The religious leaders affirmed in the resolution to keep studying the social scenario,  interpret trends and caution society about adopting policies that can compromise common interests.
Their foresight, it was felt, could help prevent the outbreak of violence and their persuasive skills smoothen out a path for constructive dialogue and suggest relevant solutions. It was also felt that they could propagate concepts and relationships that are inclusive.
On corruption which was a serious anxiety in most countries of Asia, it was urged to root out the evil from society by Muslims and Christians joining hands together, tapping the spiritual resources of their faith and strengthening the values of good governance and the mechanisms of efficient administration. Religious believers ought to act as a moral force in society and urged the younger generation to take this challenge forward.
It was also decided that the religious leaders promise to attend to the healing of memories with reference to the painful events that have taken place in the common history of the two communities and to forgive all past injuries.
In the end, it was agreed that though both had often experienced painful encounters rather than harmonious living together. Due to frequently misunderstanding which resulted in suspicion and lack of positive commitment, a call was made to practise the dual commandment of love which in itself is a bold step towards fresh perspectives in Christian-Muslim relations.
The bond also served as a catalyst for new initiatives to move beyond tolerance and mere coexistence to accepting the other in love and respect. It was also decided to commit to share the fruits of the discussions with co-religionists in respective places and follow it up with more needed action.
On mass migration of workers to urban centres, the religious leaders were urged to find ways of being of assistance to families and communities that are left behind and to workers who are exploited or whose rights are being violated.
Religious leaders urged to attend to healing of memories with reference to painful events in the past and memories of mutual help and collaboration cherished.
In the end it was resolved to preserve and propagate the spirit of collaboration, mutual respect and understanding among people for the benefit of all humankind and the whole of creation.
On environmental problems in Asia, it called upon for greater social inclusion to ensure that nature is respected and sustainable styles of living and working are maintained.
The religious leaders also experienced playing Angklung, a popular musical instrument throughout Southeast Asia, and is made of two bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The participants also had exposure visits to Cathedral Church, Istiqlal Mosque. The Acacia Hotel, Central in Jakarata was the venue for the conference.



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