Muslim-Christian Youth Coexistence on Peace and Reconciliation in the Contemporary Era
2nd Prize in 22-24 age group
by Muhammad Ghifari from Indonesia
In this contemporary era, Antonia Marie De Meo (2023: iv), the Director of United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) in Freedom from Fear Magazine with the theme Extremism No Victory in Violence explains that in 2023 radicalization and extreme movements will appear with various patterns, forms, trends, and new vulnerable points for attacks, terrorism, and acts of violence that are starting to adapt to world changes. The most crucial issue is the relationship between terrorism and well-organized transnational crime, showing a symbiotic mutualism or mutual benefit.
In this context, Islam is still accused of being a religion that is synonymous with radical movements, extremism, and terrorism. Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban are examples of real organizations that act as radical movements and terrorism in the name of Islam. But in fact, the majority of Muslims in the world are not like them and even voice Islam as a religion full of compassion, peace, and moderation (P. Chimidi, 2017: 4). On the other hand, Kristen also experienced the same case. This message of the Christian god, which brings love and justice is often tainted by a small number of its followers with radical actions. For example, the case of the shooting of Muslim communities in New Zealand by terrorists in the name of Christ live on social media in 2019 which killed around 42 Muslims in their place of worship. 
Therefore, the two largest religions in the world have the same challenges to negate or fight radicalism and terrorism movements. Particularly, among the followers of the religions themselves, both Islam and Christianity, and generally for people in the world. The problem from my perspective is how can Islam and Christianity be promoted for world peace? Who is responsible for such things? So, what steps and strategies should be taken? To answer these questions, I see Muslim and Christian youth as having a significant role in answering these questions.
But why does it have to be Muslim and Christian youth? In my opinion, there are three reasons, namely: 1). Psychologically, the young generation’s first step is to think about their identity and have great enthusiasm to achieve what they want in order to move towards their maturity; 2). Radical movements in the name of Islam and Christianity are usually the perpetrators of the younger generation; 3). The role of peace and reconciliation has to be established by Youth generations as a counter to radical movements in the younger generation. On the other hand, as an initial process of forming a character full of the values of tolerance and peace in adulthood.
Now, what is the role of Muslim-Christian youth coexistence in the contemporary era? What strategic role and steps should be implemented, especially in negating radicalism, extremism, and even terrorism, which are important threats in the contemporary era? To answer two questions above, I think there are three steps that must be observed and implemented by Muslim-Christian youth coexistence.
First of all, Affirmation of the Value of Religious Moderation for young Muslim-Christian coexistence. Religious moderation itself, according to the Ministry of Religious Affairs Republic of Indonesia defined “As perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors of always taking centered positions, always doing enough, and not being extreme in practicing a religion”. This value will form a way of thinking that is full of peace and reconciliation as well as countering radicalism, extremism, and even terrorism in the name of religion. This value of moderation will illuminate or inspire the next steps.
Secondly, Expressing common ground, tolerance, and pluralism in Islamic and Christian religious texts. Here, Muslim youth must voice the values of social pluralism in the Al-Qur’an, especially in Al-Baqarah verse 62; Al-Hajj verse 40; and Al-Hujurat verse 13. Not only Muslim youth, but Christian youth must also voice these values in Colossians chapter 3 verse 11, Romans chapter 14 verses 2-6, and Luke chapter 9 verses 46-47.
Thirdly, Conferences and Publications. The last step is the role of coexistence through scientific conferences, inter-religious dialogue, and writing in international journals. In this context, Muslim-Christian youth have to part in activities such as the Interfaith Conference at the United Nations, Religion Dialogue, Al-Azhar Conference on Religious Dialogue, and Christian Youth Conferences. Not just following, religious youth must write scientifically in international journals such as Islam Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations (Taylor & Francis), and Islamochristiana (Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies).
The role of Muslim-Christian youth coexistence in explaining peace and reconciliation is very important in order to create a world society full of peace, tolerance, and love for us all. The three steps in the form of affirming the value of religious moderation, calling for tolerance and pluralism values, conferences, and publications played by Muslim-Christian youth should not be underestimated. Therefore, the coexistence of young people based on these five steps will negate movements of radicalism, extremism, and even terrorism intellectually and down to earth as well as public sphere.
 https://ctc.westpoint.edu/christchurch-attacks-livestream-terror-viral-video-age/ accessed on 03 September 2023
Fatmawaty, Riryn. 2017. “Memahami Psikologi Remaja”, Jurnal Reforma, Vol. VI (2). 55-65.
Marie De Meo, Antonia. 2023. “Staying ahead of the curve in efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremist”. Freedom from Fear; Extremism No Victory in Violence No Peace without Development Justice and Inclusion. New York: United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
P. Chimidi, Alex. 2017. “Moderate Muslims and Islamist Terrorism: Denial and Resistance” in Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Studies, vol. 8 (2). International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT). 1-28.
Rhodes, Ron. 2000. Find It Fast in The Bible. Oregon: Harvest House Publishers
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