Indonesian Presidential Special Envoy visits WCC to promote interreligious dialogue

Photo: Valter Hugo Muniz/WCC

In an encounter with Dr Syafiq A. Mughni, Special Envoy of the President of Indonesia for Interfaith and Intercivilizational Dialogue and Cooperation, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed his appreciation for the Special Envoy’s promotion of human rights, and stressed the WCC’s commitment to cooperation in confronting xenophobia and Islamophobia. “We have to see human rights as universal principles”, said Tveit. “It is our duty as human beings and also as Christians to fight for the rights of everybody”.

Tveit added: “I have learnt that Indonesia has the biggest Muslim population in the world. That shows how crucial are the interreligious relationships for you. I think you have an important task, not only for your country but also to be a model for the world beyond.”

Tveit continued: “We cannot give up. We have to believe in this project of one humanity. We need strong partners like you and your government to show what we want, what we need.”

Mughni visited Geneva on 3-5 July in order to meet with faith-based organizations represented in the city.

“I have worked with several churches in Indonesia in the humanitarian context, but this is the first opportunity I have to learn about the World Council of Churches”, said Mughni, expressing particular interest in the WCC’s work in the field of interreligious dialogue, and inter-religious cooperation for justice and peace.

Many of the 27 WCC member churches based in Indonesia are engaged in interreligious dialogue with Muslim communities. “Though Christian communities have been among those targeted by some extremist elements in Indonesia – such as the May 2018 attacks on churches in Surabaya – there are also strong and constructive relationships between churches and Muslim partners in the Indonesian context which we hope can contribute to wider inter-religious harmony and peace in the country”, said Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, who led and ecumenical delegation visit to Indonesia in February 2019.