Contributor: Kante Hamed | Editor: Supriyono
The Faculty of Islamic Studies (FIS) at the Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII) organized on April 14, 2023, a Ramadhan program called FIS-FAST-FEST which aimed at promoting productivity during the fasting month: “To Fast So Not Furious.”
Opened for the public, the event was attended by the UIII academic community and the public outside the university. Among the attendees were Prof. Noorhaidi Hasan, the Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies, and the secretary Dr. Yanwar Pribadi.
Spoke at the event were Mr. Wahyudi Akmaliah, a member of the National Research and Innovation Agency's (PMB-BRIN) Research Centre for Society and Culture, and Mr. Yahya Fathur Rozy, an MA student at the UIII’s Faculty of Islamic Studies who is also Editor in Chief of IbTimes.id, a website that promotes moderate and wasatiyya Islam.
Mr. Rozy addressed the topic "Promoting the Diversity through Cyberspace" in which he questioned the extreme and puritanical contents that could easily be found now on certain Islamic websites.
"For example, when someone types the word jihad in Google, what comes out is always about war, in contrast to the fact that the word jihad itself has various meanings in Islam, other than fighting,” Mr. Rozy said.
He explained that it happened because certain parties circulated and promoted false information about Islam in order to further their own hidden agendas, which here include the ignorant and even terrorist groups.
To address the issue, Mr. Rozy claimed that there are five recommendations on how to win the Islamic discourse in cyberspace, namely creating a clear identity, being human, being consistent, leveraging different kinds of media platforms, and using appealing graphics for the content.
In this occasion, Mr. Rozy also discussed his experience in promoting moderate Islam through IbTimes media, in which he strategized by challenging preconceived notions, providing a variety of content options, following current trends to increase traffic, understanding the social media personalities, and encouraging collaboration.
Meanwhile, in quite a similar topic, the second speaker Mr. Akmaliah spoke about "Being A Cool Muslim in the Digital Age". He began his presentation by discussing how Westerners and Orientalists have portrayed Muslims as being backward, lazy, and ignorant.
In this case, he elaborated that Islam is constantly associated with violence, bombing, terrorism, anti-entertainment, etc., especially in the wake of the 9/11 WTC event. As a result, it is necessary to give Islam new faces that counter the above narratives, he said.
Mr. Akmaliah outlined how Muslims might embrace cosmopolitanism and mount internal opposition in the digital age by dealing with pop culture, including music, films, television, sports, and more.
In this regard, he mentioned Amena Alsameai, a Yemeni Hijabi Muslimah who works as a singer in America, as an example. Additionally, he gave instances such as Muslim characters from the Marvel Universe. These are illustrations of how Muslims in this day use popular culture to redefine who they are, Mr. Akmaliah stated.
As the two speakers finished delivering their materials, the event was eventually closed with a performance by two FIS Master’s Students. Muafiqul recited a poem by Nizzar Qabbani titled "Al-Quds / Jerussalem", while a song ‘We Will Not Go Down’ was performed by Dimas Maulana in the background. The performance was dedicated as support for the Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict.