Konradus Epa – The Community of Sant'Egidio, an Italian-based Catholic lay group, and Indonesia's biggest moderate Islamic organization have signed a pact to continue working together to promote interfaith peace and carry out humanitarian work in the predominantly Muslim country.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) sealing the pact was signed by Marco Impagliazzo, the lay group's president, and Yahya Cholil Stafuq, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, on June 9 in Rome.
The MoU formalizes a long-standing collaboration between the institutions on issues such as interreligious dialogue, humanitarian work and the promotion of peace.
Under the agreement, both organizations will commit themselves to further the development of interaction with institutions, governments and associations.
Eveline Winarko, a coordinator of the community in Indonesia, said the MoU aimed to increase and strengthen collaboration between both organizations in Indonesia.
"The MoU is a five-year commitment that should make it easier for the community to conduct its activities in Indonesia," she said.
A Nahdlatul Ulama spokesman could not be reached for comment.
The community arrived in Indonesia in 1991 by focusing on the poor by helping provide meals for and educate impoverished people regardless of their religion.
It signed a similar MoU with Muhammadiyah, the second-largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, in 2012.
The Community of Sant'Egidio has 500 members in Indonesia working in several regions in the country.