Indonesian President Addresses Catholic Synod
President Abdurrahman Wahid has told a synod of Indonesia's Catholic bishops that fighting between followers of Christianity and Islam and among Muslims in the Southeast Asian country is a setback for all religions, Catholic World News reports.
"Religions in the country are undergoing trivialisation, a process in which religion is reduced into superficial elements and slogans, especially among the Muslim people," Wahid, a Muslim, said.
"Religion has been seen only as a formality by certain sides, taken as slogans and put it in an inhumane field, destroying our human instinct," he added.
The president's statement was clearly referring to conflict between him and his chief critic, Amien Rais, Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), who was former chairman of the Muhammadiyah, the second largest Muslim organisation in the country. Amien recently urged the president to step down because he was considered unable to cope with major problems in the country. Wahid, who was general chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim organisation in the country with 35 million followers, said the ongoing conflict between the two Muslim organisations must be managed, despite its complications, "because it has led to the tense situation we are facing at present."