Study Tour of South Asian Muslim Leaders to Indonesia visit Jakarta, West Java and Yogyakarta.

The visiting program was held on January 26 to February 1, bringing the South Asian activist group consisting of participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The program was under The Asia Foundation (TAF) in South Asia together with TAF Indonesia and TAF Malaysia. The group consisted of ten participants coming from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka. The participants’ occupations were CSO activists, journalists, academics and community leaders who concerned on gender and women empowerment in their countries. The Indonesian visit was a part of the South Asian Muslim visit to Indonesia and Malaysia in order to enhance knowledge through exchanges ideas and experiences among the South Asian and Southeast Asian CSOs and strengthen the networks.

The Indonesia visit consisted of three visits to Jakarta, Cirebon and Yogyakarta. In Jakarta the group was taken to Rahima, a NGO that worked on gender issue and Fatayat NU that also shared common issue on gender and women empowerment. The second visit was to Fahmina in Cirebon. Fahmina held a special roundtable meeting with the delegation discussing gender issue particularly on Islamic normative texts and how they applied in the practice in the society based on Fahmina experience in Cirebon. During the two days visit in Cirebon, the delegation was engaged in four sessions of discussions talking on Indonesian Islam and the place of education in pesantren, Islamic discourse in pesantren on the role of ulama in gender issue, methodology of Islamic studies on gender in case of women leadership and case of violence against women. The group also had a chance to visit Women Crisis Center (WCC) Balqis and Sekolah Tinggi Agama Islam (STAIN) Cirebon. The visit ended in Yogyakarta where the delegation had to visit and meet organizations such as Pusat Studi Wanita (PSW) Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Yogyakarta, Center for Religious and Crosscultural Studies (CRCS) Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) Yogyakarta as well as having dinner with Prof. Syafi’i Ma’arif the chairman of Muhammadiyah. During the meeting with PSW UIN, the delegation and PSW engaged in a discussion talking on reflection and sharing experiences on Islamic law based on experiences on each participant’s countries. The delegation discussed on interfaith dialogue while meeting with CRCS team. In Yogyakarta the delegation did not waste time to visit Borobudur and Prambanan Temple that belonged to Buddhist and Hindu faith showing that pluralism and multiculturalism existing and preserving well in Indonesia that well known as predominantly Muslim population. The program was partnered with The Asia Foundation (TAF).

Training IPeace and Diversity Journalism and Cross-Cultural Dakwah: A Transformation towards Plural Media and Religiosity’.

The program took place at Hotel Jaya Raya Puncak Bogor joined by 30 participants for four days training started from February 1 – 4. It was attended by young journalists, CSOs activists and religious leaders from nine cities all over Indonesia such as Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Manado, Makassar and Ambon. The training invited prominent experts such as Prof. Dr. Komaruddin Hidayat of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta who talked on ‘Beberapa Catatan tentang Agama dan Media sebagai Instrumen Transformasi Masyarakat’, Dr. Imam B. Prasodjo of Universitas Indonesia (UI) who talked on ‘The Causes of Conflicts in Indonesia’, Maria Hartiningsih of Kompas talked on ‘Mengapa Jurnalisme Damai?’, Stanley Adiprasetyo of Institut Studi Arus Informasi who talked on ‘Konflik dan Ide Jurnalisme Perdamaian’ and Dr. Qodri Azizy of the Ministry of Religious Affairs who talked on ‘Cross Cultural Dakwah: Urgensi dan Metodologi’. The training was covered by media such as Suara Pembaruan, Kedaulatan Rakyat, Suara Merdeka and Republika. The participants were coming from media, CSO activists and religious community leaders. The program was fully supported by the European Commission (EC).

Regular Discussion ‘Post Tsunami of Aceh: From Reconstruction to the Issue of Christianisation’.

The discussion took place at ICIP office on February 17 and attended by 37 participants coming from various backgrounds such as CSO activists, media and academics. The topics covered were hit-disaster Aceh, cultural reconstruction post tsunami, inclusive versus excusive Acehnese culture, global assistance for Aceh and issue of proselytization of other religions other than Islam. The main speakers of the event were Fachry Ali of Universitas Indonesia and LIPI and Father Benny Susetyo of Indonesian Conference of Churches. The event was covered by Kompas as an article “Bencana Bebaskan dari Isolasi” published in February 19. The event partnered with the European Commission (EC).

Training IIPeace and Diversity Journalism and Cross-Cultural Dakwah: A Transformation towards Plural Media and Religiosity’.

The program took place at Hotel Permata Bogor on March 11- 14. The training workshop was joined by 30 participants coming from various backgrounds and occupations in different regions in Indonesia. The participants were journalists, CSO activists and religious community leaders for four days training coming from nine cities namely Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Makassar, Manado and Ambon. The training presented a number of prominent and high profile experts such as Prof. Dr. Komaruddin Hidayat of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta who talked on “Agama, Media dan Transformasi Masyarakat’, Dr. Moeslim Abdurrahman og Muhammadiyah and Al Maun Foundation who talked on “Islam sebagai Kritik Sosial dan Reinvensi Islam Kultural’, Maria Hartiningsih of Kompas who talked on “Jurnalisme Damai-Multikultural’, Dr. Siti Musdah Mulia of the Ministry of Religious Affairs who talked on “Pluralisme Agama dan Masa Depan Indonesia”, and Ichsan Malik of Institut Titian Perdamaian who talked on “Analisis dan Perspektif Resolusi Konflik di Indonesia”. The training was covered by media such as Media Indonesia, Medan Pos, Radar Yogya and the Jakarta Post. The program was fully supported by the European Commission (EC).

Visiting Fellow Program I

The program invited Dr. Yoginder Singh Sikand from India. He was selected due to considerations and criteria determined by ICIP. Dr. Sikand was to stay in Indonesia for 25 days started from April 1 – 25. During his fellowship he mainly stayed in Jakarta and had a chance to visit and hold series of discussions with ICIP’s networks in Bandung and Yogyakarta. In the discussions he and local panelists talked on religious pluralism, interfaith dialogue, progressive understanding of religions, global challenges and religious responses. The visiting fellow aimed to provide an opportunity from foreign activist/academic figures to see and experience Indonesian multiculturalism and publish series of academic writings of his/her experiences as the outcome. The program expected to promote Indonesian to wider and global societies in particular related to multiculturalism, diversity and democracy both in normative and practice levels. Yoginder Singh Sikand did his B.A.(Hons.) (Economics), from St. Stephen's College of the University of Delhi, 1985–88, followed by M.A. (Sociology) (1990–92) and M.Phil. (Sociology), from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 1992-94. Thereafter he received a PhD in history on the Tablighi Jama'at from Royal Holloway College, University of London 1995-98. He has been a Post-doctoral fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London (1999–2001), and the International institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World at the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands (2002–2004). The visiting fellows program was fully supported by The European Commission (EC).

TV Talk shows

TV talk shows in Jakarta at TVRI Central Station for six series every Thursday, 11.00 pm – 12.00 am from March 24 – April 28 with title of the TV talk shows “Religion and Mass Media in a Multicultural Society”

TV talk show I presenting K. H. Hussein Muhammad of Fahmina Institute Cirebon, Prof. Dr. Franz Magnis Suseno of Sekolah Tinggi Filsafat (STF) Driyakara Jakarta, Adi Suripta of Parisadha Hindu Dharma, and Dr. Syafii Anwar of ICIP as the resource persons.

TV talk show II “Political Crisis and the Future of Pluralist Democracy in Indonesia” featuring Prof. Syafi’i Ma’arif of Muhammadiyah, Dr. A. A. Yewangie of Persatuan Gereja Indonesia (PGI), Endy Bayuni of the Jakarta Post and Dr. Syafi’i Anwar of ICIP as the speakers.

TV talk show III “Pluralist and Multicultural Education in Indonesia: Challenges and Opportunity” featuring Dr. Bernadette N. Setiadi of Universitas Katolik Atma Jaya, Prof. Komaruddin HIdayat of UIN Syarif HIdayatullah Jakarta and Syafiq Hasyim of ICIP Jakarta as the resource persons.

TV talk show IV “The Urgency of Interfaith Dialogue and Tolerance in a Pluralist Society” presenting Dr. Moeslim Abdurrachman of Muhammadiyah, Romo Benny Susetyo of Konferensi Wali Gereja Indonesia, Herman Endro of Majelis Agung Budha Therevada Indonesia and Syafiq Hasyim of ICIP as resource persons.

TV talk show V “Religious Radicalism and the Threat to World Peace: featuring Dr. Nathan Setiabudi of Indonesian Churches Association, Putu Setia of Tempo Magazine, Dr. Bachtiar Effendi of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta and Dr. Syafi’i Anwar of ICIP as the speakers.

TV talk show VI “The Role of Religion in Civil Society” presenting Dr. Musdah Mulia of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Dr. Martin Lukito Sinaga of Indonesian Churches association, Chandra Setiawan of Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace and Dr. Syafi’i Anwar of ICIP as the resource persons.

The TV talk shows program was partnered with the European Commission (EC).

Regular Discussion “Bombing: Why It Reoccurred?”

The event took place at ICIP office on June 9 and attended by more than 30 participants coming from various backgrounds. The discussion featured Dr. Thamrin Amal Tamagola of Universitas Indonesia (UI) Depok and Budi Widjardjo of Institut Titian Perdamaian as the resource persons who discussed issues on violence, communal conflict and structural social injustice.

Visiting Scholars II

Prof. Asma Barlas of United States (US) was selected for the visiting fellow program because of her progressive views on women in Islam. She has also written a number of books and articles about gender based on Islamic perspective. Her book titled Believing Women in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an (University of Texas Press, 2002) has been translated into Bahasa Indonesia with the title Cara al Qur’an Membebaskan Perempuan. The Indonesian book version was launched when she was in Indonesia with ICIP. The visiting scholar program of Prof. Barlas covered delivering public lectures in numerous universities, CSOs and pesantren.

On June 18, she was a resource person at a workshop held by Komnas Perempuan and spoke on the women movement in US. Furthermore she made numerous visits including to the Center for Pesantren and Democracy (CEPDES) that led by Lily Zakiyah Munir, Lakpesdam NU, the Wahid Institute, Paramadina Islamic Study center, Puan Amal Hayati and met Ibu Sinta Nuriyah the wife of K. H. Abdurrachman Wachid or famously called Gus Dur. Prof. Barlas also had an opportunity to deliver a public lecture on June 19 in UIN Syarif HIdayatullah Jakarta and attended by 109 participants.

On June 21, ICIP organized a meeting with numerous NGO groups at Wisma PKBI Jakarta. In this occasion she spoke on terrorism in large term with the audience. According to her terrorism in larger aspect happened everyday and she mentioned that any attempt to discredit women could be referred as terrorism act. Prof. Barlas strongly suggested a re-reading of whole verses of Qur’an so that Muslim understood the real and important message within the Qur’an that liberating all human kind including women.

Prof. Barlas also attended the launching event of her book at Gedung Muhammadiyah Jakarta that published by Serambi book publishing. In this occasion she shared her personal motives behind the book writing. The Indonesian version of her book was reviewed by Sukidi Mulyadi and Dr. Jalaludin Rakhmad. The launching book was attended by 100 participants that mostly were women. During the scholar visit program, Prof. Barlas was interviewed by several media such as Kompas, Jakarta Post, Syir’ah and Gatra.

Besides Jakarta, she also went to Padang and on June 27 Prof. Barlas gave the public lecture at the State Islamic University Imam Bonjol Padang. It was attended by 296 participants mostly were academics and students. After delivering the public lecture she went further to visit Muhammadiyah quarter in Padang and had a meeting with the board of committee. As for the final activity of the visiting scholar, she visited Yogyakarta on June 29. There she also gave her public lecture on the methodology she used to understand Qur’an at the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS). She also had a chance to visit Borobudur temple and met several local activists while in Yogyakarta. The program was partnered with The Asia Foundation (TAF).

Visiting Fellow Program II

The program invited Prof. Dr. Abdulkader Tayob, held the chair in Islam, African Publics and Religious Values at the University of Cape Town South Africa. He has published writings on Islam in South Africa, modern Islamic thought and Islam as well as the history in religions. He led a number of research initiatives and projects as well as convened workshops and conferences.

He was in the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) chair at Radboud University in Nijmegen the Netherlands. The program took place in Jakarta, Bogor, Padang and Yogyakarta over a period of 25 days from July 6 – 29. The title of this visiting fellow program was “Politic Identity in the Muslim World” that covered issues on identity crisis, modernization, secularization, authenticity in Islamic discourse, and Sharia implementation in the Muslim world. During the trip to the mentioned cities, he had chances to meet and share insights and experiences related to the covered topics with the local NGO’s, CSOs and academic institutions. The program was partnered with the European Commission (EC).

Visiting Scholar II

ICIP invited Prof. Abdul Aziz Sachedina from the Department of Religious Studies Cocke Hall University of Virginia Charlottesville. The visit began on September 24 to October 3. Similar to Prof. Barlas who previously joined the visiting scholar program, Prof. Sachedina program in Indonesia was to meet and give lectures to numerous NGOs and educational institutions. As for the opening of the program he went to visit TAF Jakarta to share and discuss on issue of Islam and civil society in particular in Indonesia case. During the discussion Prof Sachedina shared a storing that according to Iranian experience, it’s important for the local people not only to participate but also to engage the program by themselves. The dissemination of ideas on democracy and gender equality should be started from the local and indigenous people and not to be forced by the outside. In replying to this comment, Dr. Robin Bush of TAF commented that such approach has been applied particularly in pesantren to introduce and promote ideas for example gender equality and democracy.

During his stay he had a chance to visit numerous CSOs and NGOs such as The Wahid Institute, Kapal Perempuan, and Muhammadiyah. He also gave public lectures to Post Graduate Program UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta on religious pluralism its challenges to monopoly over salvation, Post Graduate Universitas Indonesia (UI) talking on the roots of democracy and liberalism in Islam, Paramadina University talking on human rights in Islam and the West, IAIN Imam Bonjol Padang talking on public role of religion; guidance or governance?. Then he travelled to Yogyakarta to speak at Universitas Gadjah Mada Yogyakarta on whether there is a tradition of non violence and pacifism in Islam and finally he closed the program by giving lecture at the CRCS UGM talking on the role of public religions in politics. He was also interviewed by Gatra Magazine. He also took his time to do sightseeing by visit numerous historical places such as National Museum, Grand Mosque of Istiqlal, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Ngarai Sihanouk, and Borobudur Temple. The visiting scholar program was partnered with The Asia Foundation (TAF).

Roundtable Discussion ‘Democracy and Democratization: Challenges and Prospects in Southeast Asia’ joined by Carmen Abubakar, Hamid Barra, Amina Rasul, Ahmad Somboon Bualuang, Dr. Suzaina Kadir, Dr. Bachtiar Effendi, Endi Bayuni and other prominent figures.

The event was held on December 5 – 7 in Hilton Hotel Jakarta. The main purpose of the event was firstly to disseminate the ideas of Indonesia’s moderate and progressive Muslims to larger audiences both in Indonesia as well as international community and also to bring the ideas of International moderate and progressive Muslim thinkers to Indonesian. Secondly ICIP regarded the event as a vehicle for promoting progressive Indonesian Muslim thinking outside of its usual realm. Cutting-edge, progressive thinking was lacking in Indonesia due to lack publication from Indonesian language to Arabic or English. Thirdly the event could pave a way to deepen and amplify moderate Muslim thought within Indonesia by bringing together high profile, like-minded thinkers from other parts of Muslim as well as Western part. Eventually ICIP regarded the event to establish a formation of a regional and international network of moderate and progressive Muslim thinkers. This kind of network urgently needed, not only to provide support and solidarity for solitary fighters in the battle against militancy, but also to counter the strong linkages that existed already regionally and internationally among hardliners and extremist organizations.

The event was attended by numerous prominent figures from the Philippine, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. The delegation of the Philippine included Carmen Abubakar, Hamid Barra, Amina Rasul, Edmund K. Usman, Fatmawati Salapuddin, Randolph Parcasio, Alberto Olermo and Bart Guingona. The delegation of Thailand included Sukree Langputeh, Tayudin Osman, Ahmad Somboon Bualuang, Suthisak Duereh and Pakorn Priyakorn. The delegation of Malaysia included Shanon Shah, Kamar Oniah Kamaruzaman, Nazim Abd Rahman, Yusril Muhammad, Zakaria Haji Ahmad, Azril Mohd. Amin and Md. Khaldun Munip b. Abdul Malek. The delegation of Singapore included Suzaina KAdir, Mohammad Nizam bin Ismail, Syed Farid Alatas, and Arzami Salim. As for Indonesia the delegation included Bambang Harymurti, Bachtiar Effendy, Didi Hilman, Hamid Basyaib, Endy Bayuni, Musdah Mulia, Sri Yunanto and Fuad Jabali.

The event was opened by welcoming remarks from Dr. Syafii Anwar, Dr. Robin Bush of TAF Indonesia, Ms. Amina Rasul of Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID), Mr. Andy Andrews of TAF Malaysia and K. H. Abdurrahman Wahid who delivered speech on “Reflection on Islam and Democratization in Southeast Asia”. Moreover in the next day the roundtable discussion was also opened by H. E. Hassan Wirajuda as the Indonesian Foreign Minister to give the keynote address on Islam and democratization in Southeast Asia, its challenges and opportunities and continued with more keynote speeches by H. E. Amien Rais former of Head of Indonesian People Consultative Assembly as well as Muhammadiyah chairman and H. E. Surin Pitsuwan the former of Thai Foreign Minister who also the Secretary General of ASEAN.

The issues discussed in the roundtable could be divided into three parts: (1) discussion on the meaning of democracy; (2) current situation of Muslim relation to democracy and democratization; (3) steps to be taken to make democracy more meaningful for Muslim community and global citizens in general. All of these issues were discussed in Southeast Asia context. It could be concluded that all participants agreed that democracy was a system to be upheld and promoted by Muslim in the Southeast Asia, however it seemed that there had been an agreement in normative level that democracy and Islam were compatible. The issues discussed then were not so much on normative term but more likely on the practical term where democracy applied and Muslims had to live with. It was in the context, the participants in the meeting were divided in various camps defending on the issues they faced in their own countries and more importantly depending upon whether they were from Muslim majority or minority countries. The program was partnered with The Asia Foundation (TAF).