R20 seeks involvement of major religions in tackling global problems

Jakarta (ANTARA) – The Religion 20 (R20) Forum, hosted under Indonesia’s G20 presidency, was set to discuss the role major religions can play in tackling global problems, according to the Nahdlatul Ulama Executive Board (PBNU).

“For the first time, the G20 summit officially included a discussion of how major religions could mobilize to address pressing global issues as the key event,” said PBNU Chairman Ishaq Zubaedi Raqib, chairman of the PBNU Communications and information institute.

The R20 meeting, part of the G20 Sherpa Track engagement group, is organized to encourage discussion among world religious leaders so that religion can provide a solution to various problems.

Raqib said the R20 Forum is mobilizing global religious leaders to ensure that religions remain relevant and can provide concrete solutions to global problems rather than exacerbating the problems.

The main aim of the R20 Forum is to prevent identity issues from being used as weapons, to prevent group hatred and to protect residents from violence and conflict, he stressed.

He added that the R20 encouraged honest and realistic discussions among religious communities and instilled moral and spiritual values ​​in geopolitical and economic structures.

“The NU and the Center for Shared Civilizations Values ​​(R20 Secretariat) recognize our challenges in Indonesia and have invited the Mecca-based secretary of the World Muslim League, Syaikh Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Issa, to become co-chair of the R20,” it said. Raqib.

Aside from the World Muslim League, Nahdlatul Ulama has also partnered with the World Evangelical Alliance since 2019, which represents 600 million Protestants in 143 countries, he noted.

He added that the Secretary-General of the World Evangelical Alliance, Thomas Schirrmacher, will attend the R20 forum in Nusa Dua, Bali, in November next year.

Earlier, PBNU Chairman Yahya Cholil Staquf noted that some 160 interfaith figures in the world and 250 domestic participants, totaling 400 figures, are expected to attend the R20 forum in Bali.

The PBNU started the forum in February 2022 and has communicated its intention with the government ever since, he noted, adding that after communicating with various parties, including President Joko Widodo, the organization is empowered to host the forum.

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