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Wednesday 25th of May 2022
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Dialogue to benefit all Muslims

Dialogue to benefit all Muslims

Islamic universities and NGOs from Indonesia and Denmark say that Muslims in the West and the East will benefit from mutual dialogues politically, socially and economically.

 

Islamic universities and NGOs from Indonesia and Denmark say that Muslims in the West and the East will benefit from mutual dialogues politically, socially and economically.

Ahmad Mojaddedi, chairman of the Danish Muslim Council, said Wednesday that mutual dialogues would enhance relations between Muslims in the West and the East.

He acknowledged that some people in Western countries might still consider Muslim extremists troublemakers that threatened the world.

“The emergence of extremism is due to a lack of knowledge about Islam, which actually upholds pluralism,” he said during a seminar titled, “Islam in the West and the East: Boosting Democracy, Human Rights, Freedom and Peaceful Coexistence,” held at the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) in Ciputat, Banten.

“Islam has been a progressive religion in the West because Western Muslims respect pluralism.”

Jorgen S. Nielsen, a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, said that Muslims in Europe had been actively involved in politics.

“We now have seven Muslims out of 646 people in the House of Commons in the UK,” he said, adding that the number of Muslim candidates for the position was expected to increase for the 2010 general
election.

Meanwhile, Zuhairi Misrawi, chairman of the Indonesian Moderate Muslim Society (MMS), told the seminar that mutual dialogues would promote sharing of knowledge between Muslims in the West and the East.

“A significant number of Muslims, ranging from workers, professors, students to soccer players, have migrated to the West,” he said.

He acknowledged that Muslims were well-treated in the West.

“For this reason, many migrating Muslims prefer to stay in the West rather than return to their home countries,” he said.

Nielsen added that continuous dialogue would uphold the strength of pluralism.

“Muslim countries in the world can learn a lot from Indonesia because many Indonesian Muslims respect pluralism,” he said.

He added that Muslim extremists were only a small percentage of Indonesia’s total number of Muslims.

The last census carried out by the National Statistics Body (BPS) estimated that the number of Muslims in Indonesia reached 189,014,015 million as of 2005, which accounted for 88.60 percent of the population.

Nielsen said Islam consisted of one-sixth of the world’s population of around 6 billion people.

Meanwhile, Zuhairi urged Indonesia to focus on increasing its education quality to produce modern Muslims with good characters.

“Education for Muslims should not only revolve around religion.

“Education is important for creating not only quantity, but quality also,” he said.

“They need political and economic education to ensure harmonious relations among themselves, and with other religions.”

Yudi Latif, a noted Islamic scholar, said Muslims could resolve many problems if they acted in line with the country’s Pancasila ideology.

Pancasila comprises of five interrelated principles consisting of the belief in one God, a just and civilized humanity, Indonesia’s unity, democracy guided by public consultation and consensus, and social justice for all Indonesians.

Yudi said the Pancasila was an integral part of the Indonesian Constitution.

“Its principles cannot be separated from the lives of Indonesians,” he said.

He said Muslims in the past had introduced peaceful religious practices.

“The nation has many Muslim scholars to look up to who introduced Islam peacefully into the country in the 15th century,” he said.

Responding to the speakers’ comments, Muhammad Hanafi, 21, a student at Syarif Hidayatullah UIN, said that many Muslim leaders had to think about enforcing more mutual dialogues in the future to hamper extremists’ efforts to destroy world peace under the banner of Islam.

He acknowledged that all Muslims were bothers.

“There is no difference between Western and Eastern Muslims,” he said.

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