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Your location>Home>Publications>PeaceWays>Fall 2012

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Inter-religious Reconciliation
Nadine Hoover, Coordinator, Asia/West Pacific program of Friends Peace Teams.

As this story indicates sometimes the peacemakers themselves, by their presence alone, bring reconciliation.

Tonight I got the message and photos below from Zumrotin in Tondomulyo outside of the city of Pati, Central Java, Indonesia. I thought you might like to see them. On his own, Peter Watson (Aotearoa/New Zealand Yearly Meeting) stayed at the Friends Peace Teams guesthouse at Peace Place, Central Java for the month of May 2012. He visited Sun and Zum's family in Tondomulyo for a week, working in the fields, playing with the children, helping with the bio-gas production and joining in the gotong-royong (community cooperative work day) to raise a gravel road. He certainly made an impression!

In June 2012, when John Michaelis (Australia Yearly Meeting) and I arrived in Tondolmulyo, the head of the village for the first time shook our hands, received us in his home and spoke to us like friends. Sun, Zumrotin's husband, reported that police say this rural village has the worst violence in the region. Tondomulyo has long been known for its militant Islam as well. When we first arrived, the Imam did not speak to us and would not get anywhere near us, as touching us would have been considered "unclean." Last year he was ill and asked us to pray for him, "each according to his own faith," which so shocked those standing around us a number of them literally fell back when they heard it. But to see us sitting and chatting in his front room was so ordinary that one would have to know the background to recognize it as extraordinary.