Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta has held a public lecture entitled ‘Religion: Cause of Violence or Peace?’ on Tuesday, March 27th 2018. The lecture was organized by Postgraduate School Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta in collaboration with Master of International Relations Department and Master of Islamic Studies Department. The lecture was attended by master students from International Relations and Islamic Studies department.

One of the keynote speakers, Mr. David Cortright, as Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Damehas expressed his point of view on peace in religious context. According to Mr. Cortright, peace does not mean the absence of conflicts, as conflicts still do exist even in a family. Religions often encourage believers to care for the orphans, uphold justice, and hospitality, but the idea about the ‘otherness’ tend to bring believers into violence. However, peace is about preventing conflict from becoming violence. Unnecessary violence will lead conflict into war, Mr. Cortright also recalled his experience as the former US army in Vietnam War.

People should strive to transform conflict into justice by non-violence means. We should follow the path of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King, and Abdul Ghaffer Khan who have successfully transformed religious teachings into peace and justice means. “Non-violence is not pacifism, but active engagement. There is often a cost that we have to pay when we choose to stand for justice. Without killing, we have to prepare to suffer.” Mr. Cortright added.

The second speaker, Mr. Martinus Sardi, Head of Center for Peace and Humanitarian Studies at Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta has also shared his experience regarding peace project in some conflict area, such as Palestine, Bosnia Herzegovina, and India. According to Mr. Sardi, most of the religious textbooks tell us more about the history of war rather than the history of peace. It is our task to extract more often peace values in religious context.

The lecture was ended with the question and answer session among the attendees. Both speakers have successfully brought up the topic into interactive discussion.