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Interfaith Tolerance In an Indonesian Village

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Hindu New Year in Bali, Indonesia Image: theatlantic
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Every year, the day after Nyepi – the Hindu New Year’s Day in Indonesia – a parade of relatives and friends descends on the home of Sucipto, a Hindu community leader in Glanggang Village of Malang regency in East Java.

The well-wishers are not just Hindus, but Muslims too. This religiously diverse village is like many others in mostly moderate, Muslim-majority Indonesia – it has nurtured a tradition of interfaith tolerance for decades.

Nyepi lasts for three days and its mood – both joyful and contemplative – infects the whole village.

Hindus stay home and remain quiet on Nyepi, which fell on March 9 this year, but the following day is for visiting.

“More guests come in the evening. My living room can’t hold any more,” Sucipto told BenarNews from his home where the coffee table was laden with snacks, bananas and mineral water for visitors (below).

Image Source: BenarNews

Muriadi, Sucipto’s former junior high school mate, visits Sucipto on Nyepi every year. And every year, Sucipto shows up on Idul Fitri, Islam’s most festive day, at Muriadi’s house.

“We respect each other’s belief,” Muriadi said.

Muriadi says he has taught his children that same spirit of tolerance.

“It seems natural, as the neighborhood has been practicing religious tolerance for such a long time,” he said.

Another visitor was Sucipto’s Muslim niece, Wahyuni. Every year, her family makes the 50-kilometer (31-mile) trip by motorcycle from their home in another village to pay respects to Sucipto. Interfaith relations are a family affair.

“Our family members vary. Some of them practice Hinduism, some Islam, and others are Christians. We respect each other,” said Wahyuni.

Day of Silence

About 170 of 1,000 families in Glanggang Village practice Hinduism. The rest are Muslims and Christians, both Protestant and Catholic.

Traditional Hindu ornaments, called penjor, decorate front yards in the Karang Tengah neighborhood, where the Eka Kapti Hindu temple and a mosque stand 100 meters apart.

The whole village was silent on Nyepi, when Hindus cannot work, go out, light fires or use electricity. Although not required or requested to do so, many Muslims observed the same restrictions.

Kasir, who is Muslim, turned off all the lights in his house and stayed home much of the day.

“It is my way to show respect to those who observed the day,” he said.

Another Muslim, Misenah, did not run her tempeh-making business because the machines that make the fermented soybean cakes are noisy.

“No, I don’t mind to halt production for just one day. It’s my way to respect them,” she said.

Mosques in the village announced the call to prayer on loudspeakers, but Muslims went home quickly afterward, Kasir said.

Sucipto, for his part, says he has attended Qur’an recitals or other religious activities held by his non-Hindu neighbors.

He joins others neighbors to clean up the village’s cemetery complex twice a year: to welcome Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, and Hindu Nyepi.

Kasir, meanwhile, helped stage manage the Tawur Kesanga ceremony, the day before Nyepi, when Hindus make and burn ogoh-ogoh, ornate paper sculptures symbolizing evil spirits, in a nearby field. (Source- BenarNews)

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  • Akanksha Sharma

    Nyepi is a day of complete silence, everyone including tourists, remain confined to their homes or hotels and special police ensures that everything is closed including the airports, ( although the hospitals and hotels stay open); that the streets are empty (except for ambulances); that no electricity or lights are being used.

  • Akanksha Sharma

    Nyepi is a day of complete silence, everyone including tourists, remain confined to their homes or hotels and special police ensures that everything is closed including the airports, ( although the hospitals and hotels stay open); that the streets are empty (except for ambulances); that no electricity or lights are being used.

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War against terror is fight between moderates, extremists: Jordanian King

The Jordanian King arrived here on Tuesday on a three-day state visit. Earlier this month, King Abdullah had hosted Modi in Amman.

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War against terror is fight between moderates, extremists: Jordanian King, Abdullah II. Wikimedia commons
War against terror is fight between moderates, extremists: Jordanian King, Abdullah II. Wikimedia Commons
  • Jordanian King Abdullah II said that war against terrorism is not a fight between religions
  • He says that it is between moderates and extremists
  • The king also targets media which portrays terrorism in a wrong way

Visiting Jordanian King Abdullah II on Thursday said that the global war against terror was not a fight between different religions but between moderates and extremists.

King abdullah said terrorism is not about fight between religions. Wikimedia Commons
King Abdullah said terrorism is not about the fight between religions. Wikimedia Commons

“Today’s global war against terror is not a fight between different religions or people. It is between moderates of all faiths and communities against extremism, hate and violence,” the King said while addressing a conference on ‘Islamic Heritage: Promoting Understanding and Moderation’ here in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“What is heard in the news and what is shown about religion is what separates people,” he said.

He added that around the world, suspicions are inflamed by what different groups don’t know about others.

“Such ideologies of hate distort the word of God — to stir up conflicts and justify crimes and terror.

“We need to take these things seriously…they should never be allowed to distract us from the truth that faith should draw humanity together.”

Also Read: Documentary ‘Salam Neighbor’ shows Daily Life of Syrian Refugees in Jordan

He said faith inspires countries like India and Jordan where different religious and ethnic groups have lived together.

“It is faith that brings together different civilisations together.

Modi visited Amman a weeks ago. Wikimedia Commons
Modi visited Amman a weeks ago. Wikimedia Commons

Compassion, mercy, tolerance are values shared by billions of Muslims and non-Muslims around the world.”

“These values put us together to act for our coming future,” he said.

The Jordanian King arrived here on Tuesday on a three-day state visit. Earlier this month, King Abdullah had hosted Modi in Amman. IANS