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WCC고위층, 인도네시아의 전통적 가치는 화합의 주된 요소

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2000-04-04 00:24
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Indonesia's traditional values are key to harmony, says WCC
official
ENI-00-0128

By Edmund Doogue
Geneva, 3 April (ENI)--Indonesia must find a way of restoring
the values of cooperation and tolerance - enshrined in the
traditional Indonesian beliefs of pancasila - to help end violent
conflict between Christians and Muslims in the world's fourth
most populous nation, according to the general secretary of the
World Council of Churches.

Dr Konrad Raiser, a German Protestant theologian, was speaking
to ENI after a visit to Indonesia (17 to 25 March). Dr Raiser,
whose organisation has a long-standing interest in Indonesia and
strong links with some of its churches, met religious and
government leaders during his visit to the South East Asian
nation. Indonesia's recent history has been troubled by a string
of virulent protests that helped bring about the resignation in
1998 of General Soeharto, the country's leader since 1968 who was
widely viewed as an authoritarian and corrupt ruler.

Dr Raiser's visit to Indonesia follows months of violence,
killings and arson between Christians and Muslims. The violence
continues despite - or some claim because of - a heavy military
and police presence in the troubled areas.

The communal violence, which has brought about dozens of deaths
and the destruction of many churches and mosques, particularly in
the city of Ambon, the capital of Maluku province (made up of
about 1000 islands approximately 2500 kilometres east of the
Indonesian capital, Jakarta), was one of the main subjects of
discussion between Dr Raiser and church and government leaders.

Despite the deep need for reconciliation and community-building
in Indonesia, the WCC's general secretary appeared optimistic
about the ability of the newly-elected president, Abdurrahman
Wahid, to bring about a change of political culture. Dr Raiser,
who was making the first visit to Indonesia by a WCC general
secretary for 30 years, told ENI that President Wahid had
overturned the authoritarian style which prevailed in Jakarta
until very recently, and was setting an example not only for his
own country but for the entire region. Describing the president
as one of the most impressive statesmen he had ever met, Dr
Raiser said President Wahid had already won the respect not only
of the Muslim community to which he belongs, but also of church
leaders and Christians generally.

Dr Raiser told ENI that the church leaders held a range of views
on the causes of the violence, but "they clearly agree that the
cause does not lie with the local Muslim and Christian
communities. It is essentially a problem induced from outside."

The root causes of the violence described by Indonesian church
leaders, were, Dr Raiser said:
? The resettlement of Muslim groups in new areas, some of which
were traditionally Christian-dominated;
? Government decisions changing the boundaries of districts.
These affected the balance of power in local government bodies,
some of which previously reflected the Christian dominance in
some areas;
? Church leaders "agree that the potential for conflict has been
deliberately fuelled from outside. Certain groups in the military
are interested in the destabilising effects of such a conflict
[between Christians and Muslims] as this would create a situation
in which the military, as the only force able to maintain order,
might regain its former position [of dominance]."
? Dr Raiser added that there was "a fourth element" - Muslims
who were being encouraged by some politicians who wanted to
promote a militant Islamic movement.

Asked if Christians were entirely innocent of violent acts, Dr
Raiser said that no conflict of this magnitude was a simple case
of "actors and victims" of violence. Christians were reacting as
they saw that "entrenched rights" in Christian-dominated areas
were under threat. Some resorted to violence when attacked, and
"thus not only churches and Christian homes, but also mosques and
Muslim villages have been destroyed". Other Christians realised
that the situation was more complicated. In some areas agreements
had been struck with Muslims to mutually defend each other from
"agents provocateurs" from outside. "We were told that some
Catholic priests had tried to prevent the conflict from
escalating, but to little avail."

"Church leaders continue to affirm," Dr Raiser told ENI, "that
if they were left to themselves - Christians and Muslims - they
could work out a settlement and engage in a process of
reconciliation."

He said the church leaders had told him: "If we could obtain the
total withdrawal of military forces, we could settle the
problems."

About 87 per cent of Indonesia's population of 213 million is
Muslim, about 9 per cent is Christian, and 2 per cent Hindu
(mainly in the island of Bali). Indonesia also has about 1.6
million Buddhists, mainly of Chinese origins.

"The Islam practised in Indonesia is a very tolerant kind," Dr
Raiser told ENI. "The militarism that has emerged recently does
not reflect the thinking of most of the Islamic community there."
He added that the Christian community was strongly "national" in
its outlook, and even that Christians had generally held
important positions in government and society.

"The challenge," Dr Raiser said, "is to re-appropriate the
tradition of 'pancasila', which provides for space for the
exercise of autonomy without breaking the commitment to the
essential values that have held Indonesia together."

The five principles of pancasila, enshrined in the Indonesian
constitution, are - belief in God, the unity of humanity,
representative democracy, nationalism and social justice.