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Adelaide priest encouraged by inter-religious forum


Adelaide priest Father Michael Trainor was the only Australian to participate in a religious forum held in Indonesia this month.

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The R20 Religious Forum gathered more than 400 participants including 150 international participants.

Fr Trainor was also invited to prepare a brief paper prior to the conference which will be published with all other participant papers

Earlier this year the world’s largest Muslim organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, established the G20 Religion Forum, in conjunction with the Indonesian presidency of the G20, in order to foster a rules-based international order founded upon shared moral and spiritual values.

The Muslim World League — an Islamic non-governmental organisation headquartered in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which strives to build friendship between all nations and civilizations — is cohosting the R20 Summit alongside Nahdlatul Ulama.

The aim of the G20 Religion Forum (R20) was to leverage the ‘Group of 20’ (G20) Summit to help ensure that religion functions as a genuine and dynamic source of solutions, rather than problems, in the 21st century. The process consisted of speakers addressing five themes:

Each theme had a keynote speaker with a panel discussion from up to six presenters.

Fr Trainor said the papers helped expand his thinking on many inter-religious issues.

“I was deeply moved in several ways,” Fr Trainor said.

“Encountering leaders of other non-Christian traditions: Muslims, Jews, Buddhists  and other Christians; listening to the stories of the Catholic bishops of Nigeria and Iran and the issues they face from persecution and other factors that make religious life in their respective countries very difficult.

“It is very different from religious and Catholic life here in Australia—a sobering experience.”

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world—over 90 million. Fr Trainor said the conference was a showcase of Indonesia Muslim (Nahdlatul Ulama) openness with government support.

“The R20 forum conference allowed for meaningful inter-religious dialogue to happen incidentally,” he added.

“There are common themes emerging amongst religious moderates: peace, freedom, ecological concerns, role of religion in public life and its contribution to human dignity, foundational importance of dialogue.

“And htere is a growing desire internationally for inter-faith dialogue and to present religion not as a problem but as a solution.”

A statement emerged from the Conference to be presented to the G20 leaders:

‘The G20 Religion Forum (R20) calls upon people of goodwill of every faith and nation to join in building a culture of peace and global alliance founded upon shared civilizational values. The R20 also calls upon G20 leaders to secure its recognition as an official G20 Engagement Group.’



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