Cooperation between Christian and Muslim scholars and practitioners from Indonesia and The Netherlands has a clear potential to foster mutual understanding and tolerance in both countries, especially as both of them are facing the challenges of multicultural society. This is one of the important conclusions that can be drawn from an interfaith conference called costly Tolerance, that was held at the Muslim university UIN Sunan Kalijaga in Yogyakarta, from 9‐12 March 2015. A shared history offers particular perspectives with regard to the issues at stake.
Both Christians and Muslims are challenged to re‐interpret their holy scriptures with a view to current national and international social and political developments, and to counter the abusoof their deepest convictions for reasons of political gain or the justification of violence.
The conference was organized under the auspices of the Netherlands‐Indonesia Consortium forMuslim‐Christian Relations, which was founded in 2010 to strengthen exchanges beyond national and religious borders.
Presentations on the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures of both religions went together with case studies on sensitive experiences in both countries. Well‐known theologians and philosophers as well as talented young scholars contributed their findings and views.
The attendance of practitioners from both countries, who shared their experiences in the field with the academic world, proved to be an asset to the ongoing discussion. A representative of the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs, Prof. Machasin, was one of the keynote speakers. The chairperson of the protestant Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), Rev. Henriette Hutabarat‐Lebang underlined the commitment of the PGI to tolerance and to interfaith and Netherlands‐Indonesia exchanges. All in all there were 13 speakers from the Netherlands, 23 from Indonesia, whom hundreds of students and lecturers listened to and debated with.
The Consortium started in 2010, as an initiative of the Duta Wacana Christian University and Kerk in Actie (Protestant Church in the Netherlands), and has developed into a network of Christian and Muslim scholars, religious leaders and practitioners. In 2014 a book was published as a result of common research, called Muslim‐Christian Relations Observed Comparative Studies from Indonesia and the Netherlands (eds. Volker Kuester and Robert Setio). This book was presented at the conference, as well as a website.