By Kathy Quiano from CNN
More than 4,500 Indonesian couples tied the knot at a Jarkarta sports stadium on Tuesday, in what the event’s organizers claim was the world’s largest interfaith wedding event.
The couples were married in Islamic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist and Hindu ceremonies – with each participating in whichever rites were appropriate. The event’s organizers said the mass wedding was aimed at helping poor couples who couldn’t afford to pay for their own weddings.
A humanitarian organization, Pondok Kasih Foundation, initiated the event and worked with Jakarta’s government and private sponsors to stage the mass wedding.
In a press release, organizers said the event was focused on promoting Pancasila, Indonesia’s state philosophy, which encompasses five basic principles that include belief in one God, just and civilized society, unity and democracy.
“Our value of Pancasila is facing increasing challenges,” the release said. “Our harmonious society is facing increasing threats from extremism and disturbance of public peace.”
Indonesia has seen an uptick in violent attacks from radical Muslim groups in recent years and some human rights groups warn of a general rise in religious intolerance. The Setara Peace and Democracy Institute has recorded a significant rise in attacks on religious minorities.
“We can all be united despite our differences in belief,” the organizers’ statement said, “and we can make a difference in our community that is in need…