Jakarta, UIN News Online— Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA) again held ASEAN ‘Allamah Halaqah (meeting). This seventh time event was held in Jakarta, from 17 to 19 October 2017. A number of Muslim scholars and intellectuals from ASEAN countries are scheduled to attend, among others: Dr. Hambali Haji Jaili (Brunei Darussalam), Dr. Esmael Ebraham (Philippines), Dr. Ma ThanhThanh Hoang (Vietnam), Dr. Ahmad Kamel (Thailand), and others.

The current Halaqah focuses on the discussion of efforts to strengthen the competitiveness of Islamic education. A number of resource persons are scheduled to attend, among others: Prof. Dr. AzyumardiAzra (Professor of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta), Prof. Ronald Lukens Bull, Ph.D. (University of North Florida, USA); Syed Muhammad Khairudin Aljunied (National University of Singapore and Georgetown University USA).

What is the significance and urgency of implementing the halaqah in the context of religious life in ASEAN in general and Indonesia in particular, following excerpts of MORA Public Relation interviews with Head of Research and Development Agency and Ministry Training on Thursday, October 12, 2017:

What is the background of the implementation of ASEAN scholars 2017 halaqah?

HalaqahUlama ASEAN is a follow-up of halaqah held in 2016. Halaqah then recommended two things, namely: Islamic moderation and strengthening the competitiveness of Islamic education institutions. For that, halaqah this year will focus on the recommendation.

This Halaqah is an annual agenda. The title is now the seventh time. The first Halaqah was held in 2010. However, for the international scale halaqah is only the last two years, previously only the national level.

So what is the target of halaqah?

This year’s halaqah target is a formula of moderate Islamic development through the network of ASEAN Islamic education institutions. In addition, sharing experiences on the strengthening the competitiveness among Islamic education institutions in ASEAN.

The third target is to create a model of a competitive Islamic educational institution capable of responding to challenges in the ASEAN economic community. Islamic education institutions in the future must be able to produce alumni that are competitive and competitive. If in Indonesia, one example is MAN InsanCendekia. Madrasah graduates are widely accepted in the world’s bonafide campus, both in Japan, Europe, and America.

Who Participated in the Halaqah?

Halaqah will be followed by scholars from 10 ASEAN countries. There are at least 300 participants, consisting of: ASEAN Islamic educational institutions, pesantren scholars, religious university academics, bureaucracy, parliamentarians, representatives of foreign students in Indonesia, and community leaders.

In addition, there are also participants from China and Timor Leste. For speakers, we also present speakers from America, in addition to intellectual leaders from each ASEAN country.

In this forum, we want to be able to learn together, sharing experiences between countries about efforts to improve the competitiveness of Islamic education institutions.

This year’s Halaqah aims to “Strengthen the Competitiveness of ASEAN Islamic Educational Institutions”. What are the main considerations?

This theme is considered important, first because education has a central role. The education is everything. Through education, we want to change things that are substantial and fundamental. “Education is slow, but it is a powerful force.” or “Education is slow, but it is a powerful force.”

The first Qur’anic descendant is al-‘Alaq, containing the command of reading, and it is strongly related to education. With education, we can strengthen and strengthen competitiveness.

This Halaqah will be directed to three strategic issues, namely: first, the development of moderate Islam through the network of ASEAN Islamic education institutions; 2) strengthening the competitiveness of Islamic educational institutions in ASEAN, and 3) making the model of Islamic educational institutions competitive, capable of responding to challenges facing the ASEAN Economic Community (MEA).

What will be produced by Halaqah?

In addition to the exposure of resource persons, halaqah will also the Islamic educational institutions management sharing forum. It is expected to formulate any recommendations that can be followed up.

The recommendation will not only be given to the Director General of Islamic Education as the responsible institution of Islamic education in the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Moreover, recommendations will be directed to all institutions / ministries managing education. Also to the decision makers, organizations, and educational institutions themselves.

From this Halaqah, expected moderation of Islam rahmatanlilalamin, and competitiveness of Islamic education world will increasingly echo in ASEAN and beyond. (usa/kemenag)

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