Christians and Muslims agree on the legitimacy of evangelization

“Religious freedom does not mean that we agree, but that we live in peace with our deep differences. "

Last week, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) signed a declaration of cooperation with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), an Indonesian Muslim association that has between 30 et 50 million of members according to estimates and whose name means "Renaissance of religious scholars".

On the opening day of first international summit on religious freedom which took place in Washington from July 13-15, Yahya Cholil Staquf, UN Secretary General and EAJ General Secretary Thomas Schirrmacher signed the “Declaration of the Nation's Mosque”.

Declaration that calls for "the emergence of a truly just and harmonious world order" and intends to establish a "global alliance to prevent the political militarization of identity and the spread of communal hatred" reports Christianity Today.

“Evangelicals yearn for proselytism, just like Islam. So naturally there will be competition. But we have to make sure that this competition takes place in a peaceful and harmonious environment, ”said Yahya Cholil Staquf.

For Thomas Schirrmacher, “the cooperation of the EAJ with NU” is the “product of an in-depth theological dialogue, against the academic tendency to minimize claims to the truth”. "We work together for the right to convert each other" added the theologian.

Because this declaration is above all an encouragement to respect for religious freedom and to peace despite the difference.

“Religious freedom does not mean that we agree, but that we live in peace with our deep differences. "

It also includes the recognition of a “deep agreement” regarding “love of neighbor, human dignity and help for vulnerable people”.

If Indonesia is an officially secular and democratic country where the press is free, "in recent years, moderate Islam has been losing ground and society is becoming radicalized" reports the NGO. Open doors which ranks the country 47th out of the 50 countries in the world where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

At the International Summit on Religious Freedom, Yahya Cholil Staquf asserted that “if necessary, traditional societies must make changes to their own values”.

He particularly pointed to the category of "infidels", which according to him "has no legal relevance in the context of a modern nation-state" reports the Indonesian newspaper Suaramerdeka. He added that abolishing the category of "non-Muslims" will allow "to coexist peacefully with others".

"We must continue to obey our religion, but at the same time make peace with others" a keep on going the Muslim leader. “We hope the world will join us. »He concluded.

Sam Brownback, co-chair and initiator of the Summit welcomed the speech by the Secretary General of NU. "The world really needs the role of Nahdlatul Ulama for a more harmonious future of civilization," said the former ambassador for religious freedom.

Camille Westphal Perrier

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