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12 Octobre 2008

Pluralism RI's biggest asset

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Indonesians should base their lives on the values of pluralism and respect for differences which they have inherited from their founding fathers so as to allow people of different ethnicities and religions to work together for prosperity, religious leaders agreed on Saturday.
During a peace conference organized by Sant'Egidio community to celebrate its 40th anniversary, Catholic and Muslim leaders praised Indonesia's founding fathers for choosing Pancasila as the state ideology rather than Islam, despite the fact that the majority of the population were Muslims.
Forum attendants included chairman of the Indonesian Bishops Council Martinus Sitomorang, Sikh HS Dillon, chairwoman of the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace Siti Musdah Mulia and ambassadors from various countries.
Visiting president of Sant'Egidio Marco Impagliazzo told hundreds of participants that choosing Pancasila, which upholds unity and peace in diversity, had allowed the nation-state to survive the challenges of disintegration.
"I believe the path taken by Indonesia in these decades since independence in 1945 -- the path of unity and peace in diversity -- and the history of the Sant'Egidio these past 40 years, still can say much to the world. We can exist only if we are capable of living together," he said.
Sant'Egidio is a Christian community which is officially recognized by the Catholic Church as a "Church public lay association". The community, which was established in Rome in 1968, claims 60,000 members in more than 70 countries.
Beside regular religious activities, the community is very active in helping the poor with basic needs and free education as well as forging dialogues with members of other religions and non-believers.
Siti said Indonesia still had problems with pluralism, as some groups have tended to force their religious views on others.
"Our founding fathers have wisely picked Pancasila, and I believe our choice of pluralism is our strongest social capital for our national development and in preventing disintegration," she said.

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