Buddhist leaders attend Indonesia's Muslim congress opening

by Bagus BT Saragih , The Jakarta Post , Mac 23, 2010

Makassar, South Sulawesi (Indonesia) -- The opening ceremony of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) congress Tuesday represents the largest Islamic organization’s commitment to religious harmony.

Wearing orange monk’s robes, two Buddhist leaders stole the spotlight among the thousands of NU members participating in the congress.

One of the Buddhist leaders, Bhikkhu Dhammasubho Mahathera, said his presence was a show of support for the NU.

"Harmony can only happen in this country through communication among various religious groups," he said before entering the Celebes Convention Center for the opening ceremony.

The other Buddhist leader, Siriratanu, said Buddhists in the country respected the NU as the biggest Muslim group in the country.

"We are here particularly to honor Gus Dur," he said, referring to the late former president and former NU chairman Abdurrahman Wahid, who was known as pluralism advocate.