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By Cl. Fabianus Karo, SDB

       Wisma Don Bosco, Jakarta - Indonesia, 28 November 2022 -- A three-day Interfaith Youth Camp was held from November 18 - 20, 2022 at Pondok Pendawa, Tegal, Banten province near Jakarta. Among the 30 participants were 19 young people of Christian and Muslim faith and 11 facilitators of YIPC (Youth Interfaith Peace Committee). Most of the Muslim participants were the Ahmadiyya and Nahdatul Ulama (NU) adherents. The Christian group was composed by Catholics, mainly by the candidates to priesthood.

       Among the Catholic group in the camp were five young Salesians from Don Bosco Wisma Postnovitiate formation community: Wilfridus Pita Raja, Arnoldus Yanur Bate Gope, Ambrosius Otu, Anselianus Agung Sife and Fabianus Karo.

       The Peace Camp is inspired by the pluralism of religion, culture, ethnic, race, and language practised in Indonesia. We believe that diversity in our country must be maintained as our unique contribution to the world. And YIPC is moving with this vision, making grow the seeds of peace and union in diversity. The 3 day program helped the participants to know deeper each other, throw away the deeply rooted stereotypes based on the exclusive perspective and ignorance of other religions.

       The first part was an invitation to know ourselves, our weaknesses and strengths and learn to accept ourselves as we are, also accepting our bitter past. The key word was accepting own self and accepting others. Making peace with own self is the way to live in peace with others.

       It was an opportunity to deepen our perspective about the conflict between Muslims and Christians in our country. The members of these religions often go deeply into the conflict with blame, insult or despise each other. We can see the churches and mosques burning or witness the worship place building ban by the majoritarian population in some corners of Indonesia. It is the reality in our multi religion country. Mr. Gerald, one of the YIPC committee members said “We have to begin from this room of YIPC to love and respect each other”.

       The second day was dedicated to reflection on the Laudato Si spirit. We explored the causes and factors that contribute to the environment destruction, global warming or pollution. And also try to find some way how to heal our common home with our small contribution, which means making peace with Mother Earth.

       On the last day we tackled our personal relation with God. We realized our sins and faults in the eyes of God and return to God through our conversion. The spirit of repentance was made concrete in three actions: Do FOR, Do WITH and Do BY God.

       We ended up this camp with forgiving each other as the symbol of peace and reconciliation and the beginning of new era: Peace and Unity. Building peace not through violence but with love. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Violence is the weapon of the weak”. And we believe that any violence will only bear another new violence.

       We are convinced that A popular terminology often used by those peace lovers is no peace without reconciliation. Peace is something practically found when reconciliation gets place in the heart of every person. Peace and reconciliation are inseparable. They have to walk together in the circle and dynamic of human life. However, to reach up there, we need to know, understand, and love our neighbor.

       YIPC (Young Interfaith Peacemaker Community) in Jakarta, saw the opportunity and possibility to contribute to peace through reconciliation by facilitating the encounter of young people from different religions. YPIC is the space of actualization of peace among the young people. The spirit of YIPC is building peace through young peacemakers. It has two pillars which be the guidelines in uniting the young: Education to Peace and Interfaith Dialogue based on Al-Quran and Bible.

       We wish that in the future more youth would take part in this significant initiative, especially from the Catholic side, like in the previous years when the Christian part was composed of five different groups.

       Blessed are the builders of Peace!

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