DIALOGUE AND COOPERATION WITH MOSLEMS IN INDONESIA
By Sr. Aloysia Sri Hastuti, D.C
Sr. Christa Sunaryatun, D.C.
Indonesia has a population of more than 200 million people, of which 80% is Moslem. Therefore, difficulties for Christians can arise when they want to build churches, open social centers, start projects of development, etc. There is also a tendency of making Islam the state religion.
In spite of all this, it is possible to live in harmony by doing things together, e.g. joining forces in fighting poverty and injustice, involving Moslems in social and educational work, maintaining friendly relations, etc.
FORM OF DIALOGUE AND COOPERATION
Most of our houses are situated in Moslem quarters; the people in these quarters are mostly poor. As an example of how it is possible to work and live together, we mention here two communities.
1)The Regina Pacis community in Surabaya serves scavengers, who gather waste like plastic bottles and bags, etc. We began by visiting the head and his staff of this quarter We offered the people medical sanitary services. Gradually they accepted us. We provided a place of worship for the children and at the time of prayer we urge them to say their prayers. In this way we avoid the impression of Christianization.
On the whole we try to make them serve each other, forming groups of volunteers. We support family planning, which is not always a success. To overcome economic difficulties in their families we help them by giving credit and stimulating them to save their money.
2)In Jakarta we have our Rosalie Rendu community, in a fishermen community. The children do not go to school as they are needed for the work in their family. So, we teach them to read and write in their free time, and help the mothers to provide their families with healthy food. There are often threats from Moslems outside the village, but until now the difficulties could be overcome.
CHALLENGE AND SYMPATHY
When we have to face difficulties, improving personal relations is usually a good way of solving them. We avoid all that could be marked as proselytism, which is not always easy. We try to promote praying together on certain occasions and to help together victims of flooding and other calamities. We hope that by doing so, it becomes clear what the Catholic Church is, and how Catholics behave in a Christian way. We may be grateful that gradually people do accept us.