Radicalism is not part of Indonesian culture and will stall the country's growth, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said at a recent speech in Nias.
The vice president was speaking at the opening of the 16th Assembly of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI), the nation's largest Christian organisation, which hosts a major gathering every four years in different parts of the archipelago.
"Radicalism does not align with the nature of Indonesia's culture and values. Our country always appreciates differences," he said at Gunung Sitoli , Nias's capital city, on November 11th. "In fact, that is one of our foundations. Letting radicalism grow means that we are letting go of our foundation."
He added that it was crucial that everyone contribute to Indonesia's future and development.
"If radicalism continues, we will not able to develop. Therefore, we need to unite to fight radicalism, injustice, and poverty in Indonesia. Without uniting ourselves, we will fail," Kalla said.
"Injustice and poverty can trigger radicalism. Therefore, we need to work on all aspects within all elements of society."
To combat these problems, the government recently launched card-based programmes aimed at bringing health,welfareand educational benefits to millions of people.
Event participant Dona Aritonang said Kalla's comments should resonate with all Indonesians.
"His speech generally calls for people to work together, to unite and understand and acknowledge differences," Dona told Khabar Southeast Asia, adding that Kalla's speech was well-accepted by the audience. "We need to work together and put aside our religious and ethnic differences."
PGI General Secretary Gomar Gultom said the message of tolerance is always promoted by his organisation, which includes both Protestants and Catholics.
"We will continue to embrace our religious practices by living in tolerance. We are also continuing to build our capacity at the national level to encourage other people to reject extreme fundamentalism and radicalism," he told Khabar.
Gomar added that PGI will work with other religions as well.
"We want to ensure that we have the same goals in keeping peace and tolerance in our country, as we all agree that security is key for development," he said.
PGI Executive Secretary Jeirry Sumampow said they will work hand-in-hand with the government and the community to address poverty, injustice and radicalism.
"We are one country, one nation, one language," he said.
Ahmad Fajar Razak, a Muslim cleric in North Sumatra, said Kalla's speeches inspired listeners of all faiths.
"We agree that education and unity are important factors that we need to work with," he told Khabar.
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