Asia Interfaith Forum 2017 “Religious Radicalism: Challenge, Response, and Action” (1)

16th – 19th October 2017 Venue: Cikopo, Hotel, Puncak Bogor – Indonesia

DAY 1  (16 OCTOBER 2017)

Activity 1: Opening

The event was opened by the Director of Pusat Pesantren Studies (PSP or Center for Pesantren Studies) Achmad Ubaidillah on 16 October 2017 at 05.00 pm. As part of his opening speech, Achmad stressed that every participant has their own experiences on facing various issues related with interfaith dialogue, as well as religious radicalism. Therefore, the event was expected to be a forum where the participants can share and exchange their knowledges and expertises. Furthermore, the participants were expected to be able to formulate a common action plan to encounter religious radicalism.

Subsequently, after the opening speech by Achmad, Deputy Press Attache of the Embassy of the United States of America in Indonesia Gurdit Singh delivered his perspective about the event. According to Gurdit, the forum would be an opportunity for the participants to share best practises in their respective countries in building interfaith dialogue, as well as responding to religious radicalism.

Activity 2: Introduction

After opening ceremony, participants were invited to give brief introduction about themself, including their name, institution of origin, as well as their experiences in maintaining interfaith dialogue and responding to some issues related to religion and the surrounding social issues.

The introduction session suggested that the participants of the event comprised of academia, journalist, as well as interfaith and women activists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, and Bangladesh (see Annexe 1: List of Participants). In terms of religion, participants of this event were not limited to Muslims, but also the followers of Christianity, Buddhism, Confusianism, and Bahaism.

The session also suggested that participants in general identified the importance of crafting messages to be delivered to media, especially social media in countering religious radicalism, since social media has been propaganda instrument for disseminating the ideas about radicalization. Furthermore, the participants also suggested that the problems on religious radicalization in many cases were related to social problem, such as poverty and women’s issues.

Activity 3: Wishing Tree

The organizing committee of the event distributed pieces of leaf-shaped papers to each participant. After introducing themself, each participant was requested to write down about their expectation from this event. Subsequently, at the end of introduction session, participants hanged the papers on branches of a wishing tree, which was located on a corner of the conference room (see Annexe 2: Expectations of Participants).

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