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April 19, 2011

Nahdlatul Ulama Holds Book Talk on Wahid-Ikeda Dialogue in Jakarta

Zgurovsky-Ikeda Dialogue Published

JAKARTA, Indonesia: On April 19, 2011, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), one of the largest Islamic organizations in the world, hosted a book talk, "Dialogue of Civilizations on Tolerance and Peace," on the published dialogue of the same title between former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid (1940-2009) and Daisaku Ikeda. The Indonesian edition of their work, Dialog Peradaban untuk Toleransi dan Perdamaian, was released by Gramedia Pustaka Utama, Indonesia's largest publisher, in December 2010, while the Japanese edition was released in early autumn 2010.

In the dialogue, the authors examine the role and responsibilities of religion in modernity, identify the values and ideals shared by Islam and Buddhism and emphasize the need for both individuals and institutions of faith to work together to advance peace worldwide.

The book talk was organized by Lajnah Taklif wan Nasyr Pengurus Besar Nahdlatul Ulama (LTN PBNU), NU's public relations arm, with the support of the Wahid Institute, Gramedia Pustaka Utama and Soka Gakkai Indonesia. Some 280 people, including members of the local media, attended the event.

In his opening remarks, NU Chairman Dr. KH Said Aqil Siradj thanked those who had worked to publish the dialogue and invited readers to ponder the themes of peace and tolerance introduced in the book.

Among the guest speakers at the event were NU Vice Secretary General Dr. H Abdul Mun'im DZ, Wahid Institute Director Yenny Wahid and cultural figure Romo Muji Sutrisno. Dr. Mun' im noted that Mr. Wahid and Mr. Ikeda share a profound respect for and understanding of one another's culture and cited the book as a model on which to base dialogue between civilizations.

Mr. Wahid served as President of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001. In 1984, he assumed leadership of the NU, which provides funding for schools, hospitals and other initiatives to fight poverty. He and his wife, Shinta Nuriyah, first met Mr. Ikeda in Tokyo in April 2002 at the former Indonesian president's request.

[Adapted from an article in the May 4, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]

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