Discussing Religous Life in Indonesia: The Delegation of European Union Interfaith Scholarship Visit to UIN Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta

In order to strengthen cooperation with the European Union and to campaign for harmonious life among religious communities in Indonesia, the Center for Religious Harmony Ministry of Religious Affairs organized the Indonesian Interfaith Scholarship (IIS) program. This program is an annual agenda that has been started since 2012 and was the follow-up dialogue between religions held by Indonesia and the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

In this year, UIN Sunan Kalijaga became one of the visit destinations of the Indonesian Interfaith Scholarship program due to its expers in the field, in addition to its visits to several religious centers and places of worship such as the Istiqlal Mosque, Borobudur Temple, Saint Ignatius Church, and so on. This activity was followed by nine members from European countries (Spain, England, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Ireland, and Holland). As a resource person, present in the event, Prof. Machasin, Prof. Noorhaidi Hasan, Prof. Shafa'atun Almirzanah, Dr. Fatimah Husein, Prof. Ratno Lukito, Dr. Suhadi, Dr. Al Makin, and Dr. M. Sodik. The visit was held on Friday, August 8, 2017 at UIN Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta.

In the discussion, it is explored that Indonesia is a model of a country with a harmonious life between the majority of Muslims with other religion. Prof. Noorhaidi emphasized that there are at least 5 things that give optimism that Indonesia will remain a tolerant country, namely: 1. Pancasila as the basic principle, 2. The existence of a consistent civil society organizations to promote tolerance, 3. The emergence of Muslim middle-class society, 4. Millitary reform, and 5. Democracy. Prof. Syafa'atun Al Mirzanah added that the movement of intolerance and radicalism occurs because of religious illitearcy, the deeper a person understands his religion the more tollerant he will become.

Vice Chairman of the Religious Harmony Center of the Ministry of Religious Affairs Muhammad Diansyah said that through this IIS program, the Ministry of Religious Affairs would like to give the delegates an opportunity to see in firsthand the religious life in Indonesia, especially in the field of cultural, religious and social diversity. "All delegates of this program can become Indonesian ambassadors in promoting the life of Indonesian religion and culture to the world, especially the European community," he said.

Participants expressed their interest to see the religious life in Indonesia, its tolerant social life, and the harmonious relationship between the religious community and the state.