Indonesian Islam as an Instrument of Public Diplomacy

From left to right, Prof Dr Abdul Ghani Abdullah, Dr JM Muslims, Prof Dr James B Hoesterey, Dr. Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir, and Prof Dr Masykuri Abdillah on Public Lecture entitled "The Role of Religious Leaders in the Indonesian Public Diplomacy", Thursday (15/9).

From left to right, Prof Dr Abdul Ghani Abdullah, Dr JM Muslims, Prof Dr James B Hoesterey, Dr. Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir, and Prof Dr Masykuri Abdillah on Public Lecture entitled “The Role of Religious Leaders in the Indonesian Public Diplomacy”, Thursday (15/9).

SPs Building, UIN News Online – Professor of Anthropology from Emory University, Atlanta, United States of America, Prof Dr James B Hoesterey, stated that Indonesian Islam could be an instrument of public diplomacy to the Western world. It is because Indonesian Islam is emphasized by the importance of fraternity and harmony.

“Indonesian Islam deserved to get praised due to its moderateness and tolerance,” said James when speaking at a public lecture entitled “The Role of Religious Leaders in the Indonesian Public Diplomacy” in graduate school (SPs) UIN Jakarta, Thursday, (9/15).

In addition to James, Indonesia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir also present as a speaker. The director of UIN Jakarta graduate school (SPs) Prof. Dr. Masykuri Abdillah, the head of UIN Jakarta Senate Prof. Dr. HM. Atho Mudzhar, MA, the professor from the Faculty of Syari’ah and Law UIN Jakarta Prof Dr Abdul Ghani Abdullah, and the Head of Master (S2) Study Program SPs UIN Jakarta Dr. J.M. Muslimin, MA are also present at the event.

According to James, Indonesian Islam is not identical with violence. Instead, Indonesian Islam was identical to peace and mutual respect. In his lecture, James also appreciated the birth of Islam Nusantara (Islam of the Archipelago) movement that was initiated by Nahdlatul Ulama and another mass organization such as The Muhammadiyah. Although there are pros and cons of Islam Nusantara, it is referred to as an example of public diplomacy to introduce more moderate Indonesian Islam to the Western world.

“Another example of the public diplomacy instrument is Ayat-Ayat Cinta the movie,” said James who has ever studied the ups and down of KH Abdullah Gymnastiar (Aa Gym), the caretaker of Pondok Pesantren Daarut Tauhid, Bandung, West Java.

So, whether Islam Nusantara can be exported to the West? James argued Islam Nusantara should not be exported, but rather the Ulemas of Indonesia that should be sent to the Western world, including the academicians.

“As the biggest Islamic mass organization, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah also expected to synergize to build rahmatan lil ‘alamin society of Islam.” He said.

Meanwhile, Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir, explained, as a pluralist nation, Indonesia should be able to solve the problems that arise because of the diversities. As had been done by the Prophet Muhammad Shalallaahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam (PBUH) through the Pact of Medina.

The Pact of Medina can cover all ethnic groups, tribes and religious people of Medina.” He said.

For Information, according to the Nadhatul Ulama’s website, the term “Islam Nusantara” could be regarded as a concept which is “empirical, distinctive, contextualized, indigenous, vernacularized with social reality, culture, and literature in Indonesia.” (ns/ika p/umar)