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Asian religious leaders say terrorism is anti-religious

Religious leaders from the Asia-Pacific region said in a joint statement at the end of this week's Yogyakarta meeting that inter-faith dialogue must be strengthened and fundamentalist groups condemned as an obstacle to peace.

AsiaNews reports that the 124 representatives of different faiths, together with politicians including Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, agreed that dialogue between religions and peace must be promoted in the region.

Fr Ismartono SJ, who represented the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Indonesia at the meeting sponsored jointly by Indonesia and Australia, told AsiaNews that the meeting was important because it facilitated the exchange of ideas between people from different religious groups strengthening their mutual bonds of friendships.

He said the meeting was "politically significant" because it saw all participants condemn the "extreme right and fundamentalist groups".

Monsignor Manuel Mousanto also said the meeting "strengthened inter-faith dialogue" and created "better understanding between Christians and Muslims," especially in Mindanao.

Delegates agreed that terrorism had no roots in religion and that it went against the ethical principles of "all faiths".

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said "terrorism is the enemy of all religions", and it is necessary to eliminate "religious and racial prejudices due to economic differences and discrimination between the rich and the poor that might spark conflicts".

"The bases of terrorism are structural injustices," Australian delegate Sister Patricia Madigan said. To defeat it requires "knowledge of, friendship with and mutual understanding between one another".

Terrorism is anti-religious, Asian religious leaders say ( 8/12/04)

Australia-Indonesia Joint Media Statement: International Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation: Yogyakarta (Foreign Minister 6-7/12/04)
Joint Press Conference, Interfaith Dialogue, Sheraton Mustika Hotel, Yogyakarta (Foreign Minister 6/12/04)
ACMICA member joins Government interfaith dialogue delegation (Australian Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs 24/11/04)
Trish Madigan OP: The threat of fundamentalism? Some Christian and Muslim Perspectives (Compass Theology Review Winter 2004)

Downer urges pulpit war against terror (CathNews 7/12/04)
Criticism of Downer list of peace pilgrims (CathNews 24/11/04)

Dialogue on Interfaith Co-operation concludes in Indonesia (Vietnam News Agency 8/12/04)
Religious leaders join to fight radicals (Reuters/ 8/12/04)
Inter-faith dialogue in Indonesia ends; RP offers to host next (Manila Bulletin)
International Dialogue on Interfaith Co-operation (ABC Radio The Religion Report 8/12/04)
Editorial: Bringing great faiths together (The Australian 8/12/04)
Summit to address Asia Pacific religious conflict begins (ABC Radio The World Today 7/12/04)
Make religious harmony a people's movement: Karan Singh (Catholic Bishops Conference of India 8/12/04)
Terrorism Demands Multifaceted Response, Says Vatican (Zenit 7/12/04)
Laws must offer protection to all religions, Vatican official says (Catholic News Service 7/12/04)
Vatican urges UN to recognize 'Christianophobia' on same footing as hatred of Jews and Muslims (Catholic News Agency 7/12/04)
Vatican 'Christianophobia' campaign criticised for double standards (Ekklesia 7/12/04)
Vatican presses the UN to recognise 'Christianophobia' (London Telegraph 7/12/04)
Religious curbs no laughing matter (Sydney Morning Herald 8/12/04)

9 Dec 2004