by Mathias Hariyadi
The testimony of Satya Tantra, a Muslim student at the Catholic University of Soegijapranata, attending Aseaccu event. A "wonderful opportunity" to an "inclusive" experience on a religious, human and social level. With him, a young Catholic, who sees possibility of a "society in which Muslims, Christians and Buddhists live happily together."
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – "I learned a very valuable lesson in life that you can live in harmony with others, regardless of the religion professed or ethnic group to which one belongs": This is what Satya Tantra, one Muslim student of the Catholic University of Soegijapranata (UNIKA Soegijapranata) in Semarang, in central Java tells AsiaNews.
The young university student, along with fellow student Catholic Lorentia Santoso, participated on behalf of their university in a student campus, 25 and 26 September. This was followed by a three-day (27-29) international conference on inter-religious dialogue.
The event was sponsored by Aseaccu (Association of Southeast and East Asian Catholic Colleges and Universities) in Banyu Urip, a remote village in the regency of Temanggung. The campus was attended by 81 students of 28 universities spread across 9 countries of East Asia and South-east, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist and Hindu. An interfaith group that has worked to promote the integration and mutual understanding welcomed the students.
Satya Tantra graduated high school in a state of Semarang; for his graduate studies he has chosen the Catholic university UNIKA Soegijapranata. From the experience in Banyu Urip, he claims to have learned "how our ancestors were able to successfully cultivate a climate of tolerance and strengthen sectarian harmony in society, regardless of the religion they profess." An atmosphere that he said he experiences every day in his university, where "I’m happy to study" and there are no incidents of discrimination "in spite of my Muslim identity."
For the young Muslim college student the campus was a "wonderful opportunity" and "inclusive" experience also from the religious point of view. Not only in having the opportunity to interact with students of other faiths, but also being able to engage with the same villagers. "I learned a lot of things from the Catholic community – he says – which thanks to its openness accepted me even though I am a Muslim." At first, "I was nervous", but "all of my fears were swept away."
His experience was shared by Lorentia Santoso, a Catholic, who attended the Jesuit high school in Semarang before enrolling at UNIKA Soegijapranata. Despite the dominant negative theme on media and social networks, says the young woman says, "here in Banyu Urip we experienced real confessional harmony of a society which lives happily Muslims, Christians and Buddhists all together". And even from a local Muslim leader "I learned that they share the desire to promote sectarian harmony." This is why initiatives such as this, she concludes, should be developed more often.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Christians represent 5.7 per cent of the population with Catholics just over 3.6 per cent.
The latter are an active part of society. Over the years, they have contributed to the nation’s development and played a major role in emergency operations, as was the case during the devastating floods of January 2013.
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