The vice-president for global engagement at Georgetown University Professor Thomas Banchoff has expressed his admiration of the Document on Human Fraternity which was co-signed by His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders and His Holiness Pope Francis, as well as the document’s emphasis on promoting pluralism between people.
During a meeting with former Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs and member of the Muslim Council of Elders Dr. Muhammad Quraish Shihab, and Dr. Muhammad Zainul Majdi, member of the Council’s executive office in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, Professor Banchoff stressed the importance of promoting coexistence while praising the Muslim Council of Elders for its role in promoting peace and human fraternity in light of the many challenges facing the world today. Banchoff also praised Indonesia for being a positive model of interreligious and intercultural pluralism and coexistence.
For his part, Dr. Quraish Shihab and Dr. Zainul Majdi remarked that Indonesian people from various religious and cultural backgrounds have long enjoyed tolerance and peaceful coexistence amongst each other. This has been the case since Islam reached Indonesia through Arab merchants, who were known for their honesty, decency and morality, which in turn played a positive effect in achieving coexistence with the diverse local population.
At the meeting’s conclusion, both sides discussed the possibility of hosting a dialogue between religious leaders from around the world as part of the upcoming G20 summit. The meeting would be a collaboration between the Muslim Council of Elders in Indonesia, the Nahdlatul Ulama organization and the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.