Address : Jl. Imam Bonjol 39, Jakarta 10310
Tel/Fax : (62 21) 327478 - (62 21) 3918529
e-mail : obelix@link.net.id; cutmutiah@dnet.net.id



STOP the slaughter!


Jakarta, Indonesia
February 14-19, 2000
Related Report by Professor John Raines (22 January 2000)

Papers and Images from the Trialogue


In light of the recent rapid social, political and economic developments in Indonesia, we, the members of MADIA (Masyarakat Dialog Antar Agama) or SIDA (Society for Inter-Religious Dialogue) feel compelled to state our convictions and views, and to appeal to all well-intentioned people and parties, as follows:

  1. We are deeply concerned to observe current social, political and economic evelopments in Indonesia, and in particular the extent to which noble religious values are often debased and reduced to mere ritualistic symbols that are rigid, desiccated and far removed from the essential truths which underlie all religions.
  2. We are deeply concerned to see how the diversity of religious beliefs, cultural values, ethnic groups and races present in Indonesia is not being accorded the respect it deserves, as a direct result of conscious efforts to instill and foster a culture of  uniformity.  
  3. We are deeply concerned to observe how often religious symbols, as well as ethnic and racial diversity, have been misused as tools for political engineering and business interests for the advantage of certain groups and individuals and at the expense of society at large.  
  4. We are deeply concerned to witness the culture of violence which has become a standard practice in effecting political change in Indonesia, and the lack of respect for human values and dignity which result from such violence.  
  5. We are deeply concerned that none of the above problems has received serious attention from, or been openly, critically and seriously discussed by, either the nation's power elite or its religions leaders.  
Based on the above concerns, we, the members of SIDA, an organization representing people from all religious denominations bound together by individual religious beliefs which celebrate and give thanks for diversity, which we see as a gift from the One Almighty God, The Creator and Protector of Life, call on all well-intentioned people and parties to sincerely strive to:
  1. Respect and celebrate diversity, which is a gift from God the Creator and Protector of Life.  
  2. Cease all political engineering practices that use religious symbols to nurture a culture of violence in Indonesia.  
  3. Stop all divisive practices which pit religious, ethnic, racial and social groups against one another, and which, if unchecked, will lead to the destruction of society and the nation as a whole.  
  4. Work to create a climate and opportunities for meetings between diverse religions, ethnic groups, races and social groupings, which allow honest, open, critical and respectful discussions between them.  
  5. Promote dialogue and compassion as means for resolving political disputes, conflicts of interest and differences of perception.  
  6. Demand responsibility and accountability from the political elite and power-holders for all abuses of diversity, which have placed a heavy burden on the people of Indonesia.  
Jakarta, 25 May 1998
Committee, Members and Supporters of SIDA

Amanda Suharnoko  (Chairperson)
Jeirry Sumampow (Secretary)

4-JUN-1998 10:19:13.06 

Dear Friends, 

As you know, Indonesia now facing a very critical situation, not only in terms of economic but, more importantly, in the basic of our existence itself. In light of that situation, SIDA (Society for Inter-Religious Dialogue) or MADIA (Masyarakat Dialog Antar Agama) recently  released a statement of concern and an appeal concerning our present situation in Indonesia. We are very concerned with the dangerous situation that can lead to the disintegration process in Indonesia. 

Here I forwarded our concern and appeal. Please feel free to give us comment, and please join us in prayer for Indonesia. If you agree, please distribute this statement of concern and appeal to your friends or to whom it may concern. We believe that "PRAYER CAN CHANGE THINGS". Hope you agree with us. 

In love, 
Trisno S. Sutanto 

M A D I A 

Address : Jl. Imam Bonjol 39, Jakarta 10310 
Tel/Fax : (62 21) 327478 - (62 21) 3918529 
e-mail : obelix@link.net.id; cutmutiah@dnet.net.id


MADIA (Masyarakat Dialog Antar Agama), or in English SIDA (Society for Inter- Religious Dialogue), was born out of a hope. Or even a utopia, a vision of the future as yet unclearly formed, yet inviting further exploration. Because everything begins with shared hopes. 

MADIA grew out of relaxed discussions, informal chats between individuals and groups with diverse roots, which then began to resonate with a common purpose. On 10 November 1996, which coincidentally is National Hero's Day, these individuals and groups decided to meet to share their concerns and hopes in the office of the late KAIROS, a church-based monthly magazine. In attendance that day, in their personal capacities, were people from a wide variety of religious backgrounds: Paramadina, KWI (Indonesian  Bishops' Conference), The Center for Research and Development of the Indonesian Churches Association (PGI), IAIN (National Institute of Islamic Religion) Jakarta, and KAIROS as the host. The concerns and hopes that flowed and developed that day became shared concerns and shared hopes, which began to bind the members of MADIA together. 

The seeds of MADIA had been planted. The common concern of MADIA's members was that the walls between religions and faiths in the nation were strengthening, leaving less and less room for sincere, honest, open and critical inter-religious dialogue. We were concerned that the history of interaction between the various religions and faiths, both nationally and internationally, had been coloured by mutual suspicion, chauvinism, condescension, traumatic conflicts and exclusive and arrogant theologies. 

On the other hand, we were bound together by a shared realization of the imperative for dialogue, which we saw as perhaps the most important imperative of  the future. We were convinced that due to the frenetic flow of modern communication, dialogue between religions had become more important than ever before, and would become an undeniable part of each religion and faith in the coming millennium. 

We believed that the heritage of each religion and faith would have to be examined critically and re-formulated as a result of dialogues between different religions and faiths. In other words, we were convinced that inter-religious dialogue would play an important role in the future 'fate' of all religions and faiths. We also believed that the imperative for dialogue was a personal calling in line with our own spiritual destinies. This awareness underpinned our hopes, and challenged us to take concrete steps to foster mutual understanding between religions and faiths, and to create a forum where different religions and beliefs could meet to share experiences, concerns, and hopes. Through this forum, we hoped to nurture deeper inter-religious and inter-belief understanding, and thereby create a new domain where our religious and spiritual heritage is scrutinized and creatively redefined through genuine and meaningful dialogue. 

The above convictions culminated in our decision to form MADIA as a forum for dialogue. Subsequent meetings were held in the PGI conference room, where Confucianists, Buddhists, Brahma Kumaris Sisters began to play an active role. As a starting point, we decided to hold monthly inter-religious dialogues.  Our first dialogue was sponsored by Paramadina. Thus, MADIA was officially born. 

As a vehicle for dialogue, MADIA is very "fluid" and open to participation from any party. With such openness, it is not surprising that types of beliefs and spirituality that are not officially recognized by the government have also played a role, as seen from the participation of Brahma Kumaris Spiritual Tradition and the Baha'i religion. The creation of an organization was not our main priority, and from the beginning MADIA was at heart an experiment. There was no official membership in MADIA; there were no official staff except for a coordinator who served mainly to communicate with the diverse parties involved. 

The experiments in dialogue continued for two years, until national upheavals compelled us to address the organizational issues that we had tended to put off. In short, we felt we needed a formal organization in order to effectively tackle the serious inter-religious issues that began to be seen at work in the Situbondo riots of 1996 and in the mistreatment of our Confucian colleagues. In line with these developments, our dialogues became more socially oriented, and MADIA began to enter the world of politics for the first time. 

Dialogues were held in a variety of venues -- belonging to Moslem, Christian, Confucian and other organizations according to which religion or faith was sponsoring each meeting. Another unique feature of the MADIA experiment was that the prayers used to open and close each meeting were performed according to religious or spiritual persuasion of the host venue. Thus, we all learnt to pray with our Moslem, Catholic and Buddhist friends, and learnt to meditate in the spiritual heritage of Brahma Kumaris. In MADIA, we celebrated diversity, which we believe is a gift from God, the Creator and Protector of Life. 

Each of us feels that the experience of attending two years of the MADIA experiment has enriched and expanded our respective religious convictions and perspectives. And the concerns and hopes which bound us together at the beginning have continued to strengthen. Even so, we all realize that the concerns that have motivated MADIA remain a vast and increasingly complex challenge and there is much work to do. Yet we believe that our calling to foster honest, critical, and respectful dialogue between religions and faiths will continue to unite and bind us together in rising to the challenge. The vision of a utopia continues to beckon as we strive together to move closer to God the Creator and Protector of Life. 

We invite you and all well-intentioned people to join us in celebrating the diversity that we have inherited, to deepen our understanding and respect for all religions and faiths, and to enrich our religious perspectives and convictions in the process. 


Amanda Suharnoko 
Bernardita, SPC 
Budhy Munawar Rahman 
Chandra Setiawan 
Darius Dubut 
Debra H. Yatim 
Djohan Effendi 
Helen Quirin 
Herman Setyadi 
H.S. Achadiena 
Ioanes Rakhmat 
Ismartono, SJ 
Jeirry Sumampow 
John D. Soleyman 
Kautsar Azhari Noer 
Komarudin Hidayat Martin
 L. Sinaga 
Mudji Sutrisno, SJ 
M. Wahyuni Nafis 
Mulyadi Wahyono 
Sulaiman Manguling 
Trisno S Sutanto 


      Chairperson : Amanda Suharnoko
      Vice Chairperson : John D. Soleyman 
      Second Vice Chairperson : Budhy Munawar Rahman
      Secretary : Jeirry Sumampow
      Vice Secretary : Trisno S. Sutanto
      Treasury : Chandra Setiawan
      Vice Treasury : H.S. Achadiena 
Date: Thursday February 17, 2000
Venue: The Borobudur Hotel, Jakarta
Time: 8:30am 4:30pm
Related  documents, 1998
Memorandum from Indonesian Students Abroad
Andrew Trigg's article concerning confrontation of students and military
"Dialogue and Democratization: The Challenge for Indonesia":
Colloquium to be held at Sharpless Hall Auditorium, Haverford College, 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA 19041, Friday December 11, 1998, 7:30 P.M. 
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Posted 4 June 1998 
Last revised 7 May 2002
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