The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has raised the issue of religious freedom during discussions with officials from the Indonesian government. Dr Idowu-Fearon met Professor Din Syamsuddin, the Special Envoy for Interfaith & Inter-civilisation Dialogue & Cooperation for the Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and diplomats from Indonesia’s London embassy, for talks at Lambeth Palace this week. They discussed a range of topics, from freedoms for Christians in Indonesia, to the nature of the Anglican Communion.
Professor Syamsuddin briefed the Secretary General on the Inter Religious Council in Indonesia, which brings together leaders of eight different religious groups; and said that faith groups work together on common concerns, including religious extremism. The professor said that the Christian church was growing in Indonesia, with congregations up by 200 per cent in the past 10 years; and that the Indonesian government now had more Christians holding ministerial posts than ever before.
Professor Syamsuddin and Dr Idowu-Fearon agreed that there was “a need to work together” to counter the rise of extremists, which they described as “a common enemy for Christians and Muslims”.
The Secretary General spoke about his experience of Chrisian-Muslim relations in Africa, and briefed Professor Syamsuddin on the work of PROCMURA – the Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa. He also spoke about the new Peace Commission in Kaduna.
Speaking after the meeting, Dr Idowu-Fearon commented: “I was grateful to have this opportunity to spend time with Professor Syamsuddin and I value the opportunity to develop our work in this important area.”