I am very honoured to chair this session of the opening ceremony of this Meeting dedicated to the role of the three great religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, for building peace.
I come from Indonesia, a land which is marked by religious diversity. It’s the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, but also with many other religious communities. That’s why, living together, and guaranty a peaceful coexistence is our main task. Our founding fathers have built our country on the principle: Unity in diversity.
As chairperson of the Indonesian Conference for Religions and Peace, I have started cooperating with the Community of Sant’Egidio in many fields, promoting peace in our society, rejecting violence and death penalty. Despite of our differences, the fundament of our life is the same, as one humanity. We work together, with the same concern, to make a society free from violence, which is a crucial problem in many of our societies.
Just a few weeks ago, in Jakarta, I took part in an important conference to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Community – and I take this occasion to congratulate all of you, friends of the Community, for this important anniversary - people of different religious, ethnic cultural background, got together to discuss a concrete way to peace in our society.
That’s why I am so grateful to the Community of Sant Egidio for gathering us, every year, from different places of the world, to talk, to discuss, to testify that we can work together, to pray.
In our world, filled with divisions, hostility and – most of all – injustice and poverty, too often religions are used as fuel to conflicts and hatred.
On the contrary religious people have a big role to play to promote cooperation and to build a civilization of living together in our societies.
I remember the impressive Meeting of Naples last year. There I felt that building a world without violence is really possible. And we can do it.
This year we are in Cyprus. We are here to say that Peace is the name of God and men and women of religion can and want to support those who are working to build a peaceful world.
We can be united, keeping our diversities, making them a source of richness instead of a reason of conflicts.
But we need to be allied to perform this unity.
Living together in diversity is the way to future. The world of tomorrow has to be a world of coexistence or it will not be at all.
The civilization of peace, topic of this meeting, is our task, and will be the result of the alliance of us, as men and women of religion. This is why we are here