Strategic humanitarian assistance may end violent extremism: Indonesia interfaith group

Interfaith figures read an interfaith prayer at the Borobudur temple tourism park in Magelang, Central Java, on Dec. 31. The prayer was held to ring in 2016 during the Borobudur Night of Music, Lanterns and Prayer.
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/ANN

An interfaith and peace organisation has urged governments around the world to provide strategic humanitarian assistance to counter extremism and serve as a sustainable development agenda.

William F. Vendley, secretary of Religions for Peace, said on Tuesday that deradicalization measures and sustainability development were key to countering extremism. He believed that such efforts would not only help tackle growing radicalization but also contribute to human development.

"Governments have to engage more in development assistance to break down the wall between sustainable development and counter extremism," he said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Vendley suggested that countries co-operate with worldwide inter-religious communities to find the roots of extremism to understand the drivers of violence in the name of religion before proposing solutions.

Comprehending the living conditions of radical group members is also vital.

"We have to understand what drives people into violent extremism. Whether it is due to poor religious interpretation or the fact that their dignity is being abused," he added.

Extremism, he said, had led to the existence of radical groups and the refugee crisis.

The organisation pushed for co-operation among origin and destination countries to help create short-and long-term solutions amid the influx of refugees.

Governments must also engage inter-religious groups to counter extremism by promoting interfaith peace through narrative taught by respective religions, he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister AM Fachir said that Indonesia was ready to strengthen its co-operation with global inter-religious communities to promote interfaith peace to end extremism.

"We are committed to building diverse and tolerant communities," he said.