Indonesia as facilitator in Muslim-Western relations

December 1, 2006

Author: Mohammad Yazid

Source: Peace Journalism

Jakarta – Muslim-Western relations have proven to be very fragile, particularly after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. Interfaith ties across the world have become increasingly turbulent. Some in the West view all Muslims as terrorists, and anti-West movements have cropped up in many predominantly Muslim countries.

The only way to overcome these tensions is dialogue, which can serve as a bridge between faiths, cultures and civilizations. In this way, the two sides can reach points of understanding for mutual respect.

Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world and a “moderate” Islamic stance, has the potential to act as a facilitator and help ease the strained relations between Muslim societies and the West. There are several important points from the country's past that point to its potential to act as a bridge between the Western and Muslim worlds.

First, by adopting Pancasila as the state philosophy and the 1945 Constitution as the legal basis of Indonesia, the founding fathers succeeded in laying a solid foundation for the creation of peace in the country, despite the existence of various religions, ethnic groups and races.