The beauty of humanity is now being echoed throughout the world from a forum of world religious leaders in Bali, Indonesia.
If the humanist figure KH Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) were still alive, the grandson of the founder of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) would smile, or even be proud, because the gathering of interfaith leaders in the world on November 2-3 2022 was his dream.
Gus Dur who served as the fourth President of Indonesia was also a religious and pluralist figure. However, he preferred the phrase “The humanist died here” written on his tombstone.
When delivering testimony to Gus Dur’s 11th Haul at the East Java PWNU Building, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa stated that Gus Dur preferred to be called a humanist (humanitarian figure), because tolerance existed when a person’s humanity side was more dominant.
Gus Dur’s humanism side had been spread to foreign countries. In the United States, he once said, “in my country, I protected minorities, so please protect minorities in your country as well.”
With his humanism value, the General Chairperson of the Nahdlatul Ulama Executive Board (PBNU), KH Yahya Cholil Staquf (Gus Yahya), ensured that the conduciveness of the life of the nation and state will continue to run.
Gus Dur’s view was also promoted at the G20 Religion Forum (R20) in Nusa Dua, Bali, November 2-3, 2022. The event gathered religious leaders with main participants from other countries including G20 member countries and non-G20 member countries. Indonesia was the initiator and the host of the first R20 forum.
A total of 32 countries confirmed to attend with 338 participants, 124 from abroad. The forum presented 45 speakers from five continents, including Rabbi Prof Alan Brill (the United States), Rabbi Prof Silvina Chemen (Argentina), Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah (Nigeria), Elder Gary E Stevenson (the United States), H Imam Addaruqutni (PP Muhammadiyah), KH Ulil Abshar Abdalla (PBNU), and a series of inspiring women.
These human values were mentioned by the Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) while attending the virtual opening of the G20 Religion Forum (R20). According to Jokowi, religious figures from different religions have been a major part of Indonesia’s struggle for independence.
These different religious figures also became the main part to unite Indonesia in 1945. Indonesia was united by tolerance and unity, namely Bhinneka Tunggal Ika or unity in diversity. Mutual cooperation across religious leaders who are united in diversity and diversity has become the pride of Indonesia.
Different religious figures are also important to make the government’s development programs a success, such as the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic with mosques, churches, temples, monasteries, and pagodas, as community literacy centers.
Moreover, R20 is also important to prevent identity issues and limit the spread of group hatred and violence.
Related news: Jokowi urges religious leaders to help in reducing world rivalry
Minorities are being heard
The R20 forum was positioned to use religions as a solution, not a problem. Jewish rabbi Silvina Chemen appreciated the Plenary Session 4 G20 R20.
Chemen expressed her appreciation to the organizers of R20 for providing space for minorities to be heard. She is a female rabbi, a minority in the male-dominated rabbinical world who lives in Argentina, which is not the strongest country in the world. As a minority, she felt appreciated.
The R20 Forum initiated by PBNU has provided space for people who need to be heard to unite and become stronger, as well as providing space for people to provide answers to various difficulties currently being faced by the world.
Religion can contribute to humanity through many things, not limited to worship/activities in their respective places of worship. Through this forum, all return to deepening the teachings of the ancestors and the teachings of their respective beliefs to seek points of peace, justice, and humanity. Each human being must be able to live without distinguishing each other.
R20 was also considered as a strategic forum by Professor Ahmet T Kuru from the United States University of San Diego. He said that minorities often experienced discrimination and exclusion from the majority. This happened in various places with diverse ethnicity and religion.
Therefore, the fulfillment of the rights of minority communities is one thing that can become a solution for the realization of world peace. The fulfillment of minority rights is really promising.
If religion can play its role, it can function as a solution to human problems, not as a problem.
Kuru saw that there had been efforts to realize the vision, whether from Judaism, Islam, or other religious groups. This can be seen from the presentations of each delegate on the traditions of Judaism, (Christian), Mormons, and Islam in fulfilling the rights of minorities.
A similar statement was also conveyed by the Director of Beit Midrash for Judaism and Humanity, Rabbi Yakov Nagen from the United States. He was grateful to be in the R20 event which was an important forum to bridge various religious viewpoints in various parts of the world. For the Middle Eastern people who have suffered so much, they needed religion to unite the people.
Rabbi Nagen, who currently also serves as Director of The Blickle Institute, believes that the collaboration between PBNU and the Muslim World League (MWL) in initiating R20 is the main gateway to achieve global peace, including in the Middle East.
R20 has brought hope and peace in reducing various conflicts between humans, ethnicities, and religions in the name of religion, even though religion teaches dialogue and peace with fellow humans. The differences are natural laws to get to know each other. Moreover, Indonesia has proven that unity actually brings progress, including Bali which is known as Hindu Island that opens for all religions.
Related news: Providing added value to G20 Summit through R20
Related news: Minister asked to ensure peace for religious adherents