Fr Charlie Burrows: To Win Peace you need “Boots on the Ground”

burrows2Today the blog features a new guest post from Fr Charlie Burrows, a priest with Oblate Mission Development, an office of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He has served in Chilachap on Java’s southern coast for the past 40 years, spearheading a sustainable development programme in the region which has included building roads, dykes, schools, a maritime academy, and establishing banks.

Fr Burrows has worked hard to build good relations with local Muslims and his vision of fostering peace through “boots on the ground” is through establishing sustainable socio-economic projects – rather than responding with the boots of the troops of war. He describes how this has worked out in his local context, with Muslims rejecting the Salafi’s “anti-Pluralist message”.

Fr Charlie Burrows on “Boots on the Ground”

Cilacap, November 25th 2015.

With the downing of the Russian Passengers Plane, Bombing in Beirut, Paris attacks – ISIS invites the West to a war clash of Civilizations (Un-civilizations) and the West responds or rather reacts.

The Basis of this is the WAHABI Fundamentalist Ideology of Saudi Arabia and they finance Islamic groups to teach this fundamentalist and anti-pluralist ideology. Their medium is the Salafi’s and this group is going into villages with lots  of money – dispensing “charity”  on condition of accepting their ideology.

In my local context, they have tried to influence the poor farmers of the reforesting program on  Nusakambangan – building a mosque. We countered with help to build a small Mushola up in the hills, with a moderate Muslim Imam. Also when they tried to do jungle training my man reported to the Police and the training was called off. The farmers send information to the Police and Military  and the Military built an outpost over the Salafi’s   facilities and reports are for the past few months “No Activity” .

When the farmers listened to the Salafi’s Anti Pluralist message  they quietly rejected it except for a few who were given money etc. They know we are non Muslim and “Protect” them from the “powers that be”.

They have also come into the sea villages with the same results – rejection.

Example – Pelindukan Village which is 100% Islam and work with us on a Rice Field Reclamation Project People from the Purwokerto State Univ. Sudirman and the Purwokerto Mohammadian Univ. visited the key person we work with. He explained how they were very happy with “Pluralism” and  if they intended to lessen this – they were not  welcome.

How much does it cost to “make peace”?

How much does it cost to “make war”?

From 2010 to 2013 we had + 150 projects affecting positively + 400.000 people —  99% Muslims – cost € 790.000 + €.2 per person!!!

We must proclaim an ideology of peace hearts and mind.

“When will they ever learn”?

To win the peace you need “Boots on the ground”.




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