World’s largest political network endorses the G20 Religion Forum:

“[T]he R20 functions as an inclusive, cross-cultural platform designed to infuse the world’s political and economic power structures with moral and spiritual values”

BLED, Slovenia — On 18 May 2023, the world’s largest political network, Centrist Democrat International (CDI) — which has 109 member parties in 83 countries — unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the G20 Religion Forum (R20) at its General Assembly, held in close proximity to the Church of the Assumption of Mary (photo above), an ancient pilgrimage site that lies at the heart of Slovenian identity.

The resolution, submitted by Indonesia’s National Awakening Party (PKB), “calls upon [CDI] member parties, and all G20 Member States, to cooperate in securing recognition of the R20 as a permanent G20 Engagement Group,” “as a means of providing a seat at the G20 table for religious communities and their leaders.”

As the resolution points out, “religious believers constitute the single largest demographic within the human family, whose share of the global population is estimated to exceed 80%.”

“Noting with approval that the R20 explicitly seeks to ‘ensure that religion functions as a genuine and dynamic source of solutions, rather than problems,’ on the world stage,” the resolution “encourages [CDI] member parties to join Nahdlatul Ulama and the Government of Indonesia in facilitating ‘the emergence of a global movement, in which people of goodwill of every faith and nation will help bring the world’s geopolitical and economic power structures into alignment with the highest moral and spiritual values, for the sake of all humanity.’ (Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Central Board and Founding Chairman of the R20).”

PKB Chairman H. Muhaimin Iskandar, Deputy Speaker of Indonesia’s House of Representatives, is Vice President of CDI and a member of its Executive Committee.

C. Holland Taylor (center) introducing PKB’s resolution on the R20 at the CDI General Assembly in Bled. Mr. Taylor is accompanied by the Honorable Faisol Reza (center left), a PKB member of Indonesia’s House of Representatives, where he chairs Legislative Committee VI.

Mr. Taylor — Special Advisor for International Affairs to the General Chairman, Nahdlatul Ulama Central Board — has worked closely with PKB, since 2018, to promote Humanitarian Islam and the Movement for Shared Civilizational Values within CDI, which was formerly known as Christian Democrat International.

PKB, which played a key role in Indonesia’s transition from military dictatorship to the world’s most successful Muslim-majority democracy, was founded in 1998 by senior Nahdlatul Ulama leaders including H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid, KH. Cholil Bisri, and KH. A. Mustofa Bisri.

The CDI Executive Committee Meeting and General Assembly were hosted by the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) and its president, H.E. Janez Janša, who has served three terms as prime minister of Slovenia: 2004 – 2008; 2012 – 2013; and, most recently, 2020 – 2022.

Prime Minister Janša with CDI President Andrés Pastrana Arrango, former president of Colombia, who addressed the inaugural R20 Summit of International Religious Leaders in Bali

A prominent dissident in the 1980s, Mr. Janša’s arrest by the communist government of Yugoslavia, on 31 May 1988, triggered mass protests against the government and accelerated the process of democratization, known as the Slovenian Spring. The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights was established following Janša’s arrest, which became the largest grassroots civil society organization in Slovenia, gaining over 100,000 members within weeks.

Mr. Janša served as Minister of Defense from 1990 to 1994, a post he held during the Slovenian War of Independence.

At the CDI General Assembly in Bled, Mr. Janša introduced a Resolution on Global Security, Peace, and Freedom, which referenced a prior PKB resolution and reads, in part:

With respect to the Resolution on promoting solidarity and respect among the diverse people, cultures and nations of the world, adopted by the IDC-CDI Executive Committee on October 1st, 2020, and in light of the increasing gap between declared principles and reality, which is exacerbating general insecurity and a crisis of trust, IDC-CDI:

  1. Is committed to promoting the strengthening of values that are grounded in fundamental principles such as life, family, dignity, freedom, property, and prosperity. These values serve as a civilizational cultural code that affirms tradition, history, and historical memory, while also enabling a forward-looking focus on the future. By upholding these values, IDC aims to contribute to the development of a more free, just and prosperous society, grounded in a deep appreciation for the cultural and historical heritage of its people.
  2. Calls for consistent respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the protection of the moral and/or cultural values of all individuals. Their comprehensive implementation prevents intolerance and divisiveness and enables the inclusion of diversity.
  3. Warns of the dangers of the old and new extreme interpretations of the world with the goal to radically change our way of life as it has been gradually shaped over centuries. Invasive practices that are produced or supported by extremist regimes, radical political frameworks such as Sao Paulo Forum and international criminal networks (such as drug cartels, criminal networks for human trafficking, etc.) also threaten our culture and way of life from the outside.
  4. Supports the gradual green transition and at the same time warns against the so-called green ideology, which ruins the very economic foundations needed for a reasonable transition, putting in danger especially small and medium-sized enterprises and putting many hardworking families at risk.
  5. Underlines the ultimate importance of freedom of expression. There is no democracy if the freedom of expression of every individual is not respected and protected. Promoting transparency, accountability, and the free flow of information in society and globally is at the same time essential as the main tool to increase resistance to disinformation.

CDI delegates assembled in the garden of Vila Bled, the summer residence of Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito, where Tito hosted leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement including Indonesian President Soekarno, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser

In keeping with the traditions of Christian Democracy, which inspired the establishment of IDC – CDI following the horrors of World War II, the Slovenian Democratic Party arranged for CDI delegates to visit the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary, which has been closely associated with Slovenian national identity since the first Slavs arrived in the Alpine region of Bled in the 7th century CE.

As Mr. Janša told Mr. Taylor during their visit to the island, “This is what enabled us to survive [a thousand years of conflict and occupation by foreign powers, culminating in the Second World War and Communism] with our identity intact.”

CDI delegates (above) approaching the Church of the Assumption of Mary, which is situated on an island in the center of Lake Bled

President Pastrana and Prime Minister Janša ringing the bell of the Church of the Assumption of Mary — known as “Our Lady of the Lake” — accompanied by prayers for global peace, security, and freedom

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