(Vatican Radio) The Catholic Church in Indonesia is calling on the government to combat Islamic radical groups and to preserve the country’s multi-cultural and multi-religious identity.
Indonesia is preparing to host two major Catholic youth events during 2016-2017. The first event is Indonesian Youth Day, which takes place from 1 - 6 October, 2016, in Manado. The next year, Indonesia will host Asian Youth Day from 30 July – 6 August, 2017, in Yogyakarta.
Father Agustinus Ulahayanan serves as the executive secretary of the Indonesian bishops' Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
Listen to the interview by Stefano Leszczynski with Father Agustinus Ulahayanan:
He told Vatican Radio relations between the majority Muslim populations and Christian minority have traditionally been good in the country, but have recently been upset by new religious groups.
“They have a kind of intolerant way of thinking, and we are trying to observe this and to respond to it, but we do it together,” Father Ulahayanan said.
He said Christians and Muslims have agreed to tackle extremism from within their own ranks.
“For example, if the intolerant people or activities come from [the Muslim people], those who are moderate, they will be in the front to handle it,” – he continued – “he same thing also for the Christians, and the Christian people – Catholic or Protestant – will be the first person to respond to the problem.”
The priest also said the two communities continue to work together to combat extremism, as well as cooperate on economic, social, and educational issues.