Local religious leaders sign peace declaration

Karawang, W Java (ANTARA News) - Several inter-religious leaders of Karawang district, West Java, signed a peace declaration at the district government`s hall here Friday.

Head of Karawang district, Ade Swara, warmly welcomed the signed declaration, saying that it was absolutely needed as part of the government`s efforts to maintain peace and harmony in the area.

The peace declaration was believed to be able to help society members and government to maintain Karawang district`s areas to remain free from incidents of sectarian conflicts, he said.

None of the world`s religions taught violent actions. "Thank God, Karawang district`s condition remains conducive until now," he said.

The peace declaration was signed by such figures as Aji Mubarok Rahmat representing Islam, Agustinus Nainggolan (Christianity), Agustinus Made (Catholics), Jero Mangku Wayan Wirdiasa (Hinduism), Romo Suarnyo (Buddhism), and Wawan Kurniawan (Konghucu).

Religious intolerance remains a serious threat to Indonesia as shown by two recent incidents of religious violence.

On February 6, a deadly attack on Ahmadiyah followers occurred in Umbulan village, Pandeglang district, Banten province.

Two days later, another sectarian incident happened in Temanggung district, Central Java.

In the Cikeusik attack, three Ahmadiyah followers who believed in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the sect in 1889, as a prophet after Muhammad (peace be upon him), were killed.

In the Temanggung incident, at least two churches and a Catholic school complex as well as a number of vehicles were destroyed.

The Temanggung incident itself was believed by the Central Java provincial police to have been provoked by misleading information disseminated to the public through short message service (SMS) saying that the defendant of religious blasphemy case, Antonius Richmond Bawengan, 50, would have a light punishment by the Tamanggung district court.

Central Java police chief Inspector General Edward Aritonang recently said that the court`s panel of judges sentenced him to five years in jail.

The two churches, a Catholic school complex as well as a number of vehicles had become the target of mass attacks following a clash during the court session on the religious blasphemy.

KR-MAK/R013/HAJM

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