MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, BERLIN – Plurality is human destiny. God created mankind in different races, ethnicities, languages, cultures, and religions. Differences do not indicate divisions, segregation, and supremacy of one over another. Diversity is a treasure. It is the social, cultural, intellectual, spiritual, and moral foundation for the world’s beauty, peace, happiness, and prosperity.
“In reality, however, differences could become sources of tension, conflicts, or wars among cultures, religions, and nations. This happens due to conflict of interest, superiority syndrome, greed, extremism, hatred, and power domination. Discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and other negative behaviors towards others remain nowadays,” said General Secretary of Muhammadiyah Abdul Mu’ti in the Sant’Egidio international forum on “The Art of Living Together in A Shattered World” in Berlin, Germany on Tuesday (September 12).
It is also a reality that people from different cultural, religious, political, and national backgrounds could live together peacefully despite the clash of cultures as a challenge of multicultural society. They are realities of cultural, political, and even religious and cultural convergences. People live together in peace and build new societies and cultures in unique ways.
There are at least five foundations for building a culture of living together. First, have a positive mind toward differences with the belief that their differences are human nature as the will of God. Second, accept others with total respect and sincerity. Third, explore common values for unity and tolerance at providing accommodation for others with complete understanding. Fourth, build Common Grounds based on shared interests, benefits, and mutual partnership. Fifth, work together for the common good by sharing, receiving, and caring society.
In building a culture of living together, we need an inclusive education. We need to open doors of education for all without discrimination, exclusion, and rejection on behalf of religions, cultures, races, and social classes. It is essential to create schools as a meeting and melting point by intensifying interaction and cross-cultural understanding and allowing students to experience living together with others from different backgrounds.
Abdul Mu’ti also shared an experience of Indonesia cultivating a plurality of religions and cultural diversity. Indonesia has the Pancasila as the foundation and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika as one of the nation’s pillars. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika literally means unity in diversity. Nevertheless, in the current context and the country’s future, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika might be translated as unity is diversity, meaning that unity is not uniformity. It implies the importance of building unity without negating, neglecting, or excluding diversity.
“We are united because we have common values of one humanity, one destiny, and one responsibility to live together in peace and harmony,” exclaimed Mu’ti.