2016-03-10 15:08:00

Nuns and Muslim women join to promote peace in Indonesia

Hundreds of Catholic and Muslim women in Ungaran, Indonesia, have committed themselves to work together to promote peace.

The group formed the Sisterhood of Interfaith Women following their March 9 meetings held at Christ the King Church and Jami' Istiqomah Mosque, which sits adjacent to the church. About 400 women, including about 130 nuns, participated in the event.

"We, women from different religious backgrounds, realize that a true sisterhood is the desire of each person. Thus, we commit to move and to continue moving so as to become promoters of peace according to our own faiths, religions and beliefs," they said in a statement.

The meeting was facilitated by the Semarang Archdiocese's commission for ecumenical and interreligious affairs.

"As faithful from different religious background, we commit to keep learning, understanding and materializing our own religious teachings as good as we can and to live in harmony within our families and communities as well as the society and the nation," they said.

Divine Providence Sister Yulia Marselina Silalahi, who coordinated the meeting, said Catholic nuns and Muslim women are natural allies.

"We are actually the same. We both wear veils; we both have the desire of building a true sisterhood. That's why we hold such a dialogue. There's no way that we can respect our differences if we don't sit together in dialogue," she told ucanews.com.

She noted that their Central Java region has a reputation for tolerance. Still the group hopes they can serve as a model in tolerance and acceptance for local residents. "Preserving tolerance isn't easy though. That's why this meeting is important," she said.

Misbahatul Hidayati from the Institute for Development, Democracy and Media, noted that many Muslims viewed Catholic nuns "as a group of exclusive women."

"There was no forum or situation which could unite us," she told ucanews.com.

She suggested that the next meeting should embrace women from other religious backgrounds. "Such a wall emerges because we dont know each other. As a result, social conflicts can happen," she said.

(Source: UCANews) 

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