The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia and The Association of British Muslims (AOBM) are going to organise an official opening ceremony at the House of Commons on 4th November 2019 at 5pm-7pm to welcome a group of five Muslim scholars (Ulama) from West Java, Indonesia, who are visiting the United Kingdom. The Five scholars are going to give public talks about the cultural and religious diversity in Indonesia in schools, universities, religious organisations and local communities across the UK. They will be divided into five cities; London, Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham – where both the Ulama and local communities will learn from each other about cultural diversity and interfaith experiences.
The opening ceremony will be attended by H.E. Dr. Rizal Sukma, Indonesian Ambassador to the UK, Ireland and International Maritime Organizations, Mohammed Abbasi of The Association of British Muslims, Members of Parliament, Moazzam Malik Director General for Country Programmes at the UK Department for International Development and representatives of religious communities.
This visit is part of the English for Ulama programme with the objective to prepare Ulama to be agents of change who will bring the message of world peace from an Islamic perspective to the global community. The five scholars were selected to join the two-week training organised by the British Council to improve their English alongside expanding their understanding of Islamic teachings and learn from multifaith and multicultural communities within the UK. The five were selected out of 30 Ulama in West Java who completed their training and selected from 265 potential candidates across West Java.
H.E. Dr. Rizal Sukma, Indonesian Ambassador to the UK, Ireland and International Maritime Organizations said at the event, “The English for Ulama programme visit to the United Kingdom is a breakthrough for Indonesian diplomatic efforts. As a country with the largest Muslim population, it is an important action taken by the Provincial Government of West Java to showcase, deliver and spread peaceful Islam (Islam rahmatan lil-alamin) from the perspective of Indonesia to the world. Through this visit, the British public can learn about the life story of Islam in Indonesia through direct dialogue between the five Ulama with the heterogonous group of Muslim communities the UK.”
“When the five ulama go back to Indonesia, we hope they will educate and inspire the larger ulama communities based on what they have learned from their visit to the UK and become international peace messengers and actively engage in various global issues from an Islamic perspective.” Rizal continues.
Ridwan Kamil, Governor of West Java, Indonesia said, “English for Ulama aims to prepare West Java ulama to become agents of change which supports the vision and mission of West Java provincial government: ‘Jawa Barat Juara Lahir Batin’. Jabar Juara Lahir and Batin programme is committed to guarantee the development of West Java society will not only focus in technology and infrastructure but also in strengthening religiosity – the spiritual element of our society. Through the improvement of English language capacity and the visit to UK, the five Ulama will be the leaders in bringing the message of world peace at international interfaith dialogue from Islamic perspective including the message of Islam Wasathiyah and Islam Rahmatan Lil Alamin. We thank you for the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia and The Association of British Muslims (AOBM) who help us organising the programme in the UK. Hopefully there will be more of this kind of initiative in the future.”
Paul Smith, Director of British Council Indonesia said “We are delighted to be working with the West Java Provincial Government to develop the English language capacity of West Java citizens, including Ulama in West Java. English is the most widely spoken language in the world and is an essential 21st-century skill which will help Indonesia build its global outreach.”
“Today marks another important milestone for our English for Ulama programme. We are thrilled to celebrate the five young ulama delegates from our training programme who are visiting the UK. They will be sharing the story of Indonesia as a leading nation in the championing of diversity and pluralism and of international understanding through Islamic values and teaching. With its vast archipelago of cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity, Indonesia is an example of one of the world’s most populous countries which strongly promotes values of tolerance and of peaceful Islam to contribute to a peaceful and more harmonious world.” Paul continues.