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(Some participants of the international program to increase cross-cultural religious literacy)

IL News 010/2021

To strengthen the existence and peaceful collaboration among religious communities, we require planned and constructive steps. One of the effective approaches is maximizing the role of teachers or educators to instill tolerance values within the plural nation’s life.

Therefore, Institut Leimena in collaboration with Maarif Institute and supported by the Primary and Secondary Education Council of Muhammadiyah Central Board (PP Muhammadiyah), Islamic Boarding School Development Institute of PP Muhammadiyah, RBC Institute A. Malik Fadjar, and Templeton Religion Trust, held an International Program for the Capacity Building of Madrasah and Pesantren Teachers in Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy (LKLB).

The head of PP Muhammadiyah, Prof. Syafiq A. Mughni, Ph.D., in his keynote speech during opening the program, Monday (4/10/2021), asserted that education is a prominent vehicle to achieve the virtues of interfaith and intercultural relations.

“For Muhammadiyah community in particular and religious community in general, it should obviously be a foothold on which we step and uphold together, and we paddle amidst the plural life, so we can achieve the common goals we aspire to,” said Prof. Syafiq.

The capacity building program for the teachers of madrasah and pesantren is designed in a synchronous (online) and asynchronous (offline/independent) training model. The training has been conducted for three batches, on October 4-8, 2021 which was attended by 225 teachers, the second batch on October 11-15, 2021 attended by 239 teachers, and the third batch on October 25-29, 2021 with 194 teachers.

(Opening by the Executive Director of Maarif Institute, Abd. Rohim Ghazali, M.Si, Executive Director of Institut Leimena, Matius Ho, the Secretary of PP Muhammadiyah Primary and Secondary Education Council, Alpha Amirrachman, M.Phil., Ph.D. and key lectures by the Head of PP Muhammadiyah, Prof. Syafiq A. Mughni, Ph.D.)

Prof. Syafiq reminded that difference, plurality, or heterogeneity is a nature (given) since the Indonesian nation ancestors up to now.

“As a community organization, neither Institut Leimena nor Maarif Institute has prisons or police, yet we bear moral responsibility. All intellectual skills and heart we have should obviously be used as much as possible to uphold justice and peace, “said Prof. Syafiq.

In line with that, the Executive Director of Institut Leimena, Matius Ho, spoke that LKLB is a new approach to build a sense of understanding, respect, and genuine friendship among religious communities.

“As a country with the largest Muslim majority population in the world, madrasah and pesantren play a crucial role and will contribute to determining the face of religious harmony in the future,” said Matthew.

The Executive Director of Maarif Institute, Abdul Rohim Ghazali, stated that a teacher is an important component in the education process. No matter how good the subject will be in vain if it is delivered by a teacher who does not have the capacity.

The secretary of PP Muhammadiyah Primary and Secondary Education Council, H.R. Alpha Amirrachman, M. Phil, Ph.D, hopes that the capacity building program can encourage teachers to integrate LKLB principles in the classroom.

“We learn from anyone, anywhere. Insyaallah, the knowledge we gain is useful for our life, the life of our madrasah, and the life of our students in the future,” said Alpha.

The head of Islamic Boarding School Development Institute of PP Muhammadiyah, Dr. Maskuri, added that the members of Muhammadiyah union should not possess a myopic or narrow way of thinking, but broad and flexible, so they can get along with people with different cultures, religions, and others.

“Cross-cultural religious literacy is a new term, but for Muhammadiyah, it is familiar because KH Ahmad Dahlan, the founder of Muhammadiyah, has a very broad relationship, not limited to the internal Islamic religious figures but also outside Islam,” said Dr. Maskuri.

During the five-day training, the participants were called to understand LKLB by three competencies: personal competence, comparative competence, and collaborative competence. LKLB was simply drawn into “You, The Other, and What You Do Together”.

It refers to how we understand our own spirituality or religious teachings in dealing with other people (You), then how we understand the moral and spiritual framework of others as what they do (The Other), and finally, how we understand the common ground to build cooperation and collaboration with different people (What You Do Together).

The participants were invited to map the three competencies through sessions hosted by Prof. Dr. Alwi Shihab (Institut Leimena Senior Fellow), Prof. Dr. M. Amin Abdullah (Professor of Philosophy at Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta), Dr. Chris Seiple (Senior Research Fellow), Rabi Dr. David Rosen (Board of Director of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue), Pdt. Dr. Henriette T. Hutabarat Lebang, MA (Head of the Indonesian Bible Institute), Dr. Muhbib Abdul Wahab (Lecturer of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah), Drs. Unang Rahmat MM (Primary and Secondary Education Council of PP Muhammadiyah), Dra. Yayah Khisbiyah, M.A (Head Lecturer of Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta), and many more.

The training program is expected to open up a common ground, to build cooperation and collaboration among religious communities. In particular, LKLB values can be instilled into students to conceive virtues among society, nation, and state. (IL/Yan/Chr)