Religious Harmony at UIII Through APTEP Program 2024

June 13, 2024

Contributor: Supriyono | Editor: Dadi Darmadi

UIII, DEPOK – The Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII) has been chosen to host the Asia Pacific Theological Encounter Program (APTEP) 2024 initiated by the Jesuit Among Muslim in Asia (JAMIA) in collaboration with the Loyola School of Theology of the School of Humanities at the Ateneo de Manila University, the Philippines. 

Held from June 4 to 11, 2024, APTEP 2024 aims to venture and survey the history of the relationship between Catholics and Muslims using theological reflection through selected texts. It also discusses the development of social interactions between Catholics and Muslims as they unfolded across the centuries. 

Dr. (Romo) Gregorius Soetomo SJ, the program coordinator, explained that APTEP 2024 consists of 20 participants coming from eight countries including Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Angola, and Brazil. “They are all future leaders [Jesuits] and even some have already been leaders. For some participants, this is their first encounter with Muslim communities,” he explained. 

Dr. Soetomo elaborated that the main objective of the program is to introduce the participants to the real face of Muslim communities, and further to live and socially interact with them on day-to-day basis, hoping to increase the mutual understanding between the two religious’ communities. 

“We meet here in a natural setting. It means that we see the Muslim communities with our own eyes, not from the media, not from people, not from the unclear noises about Islam. The meeting here is the meeting of life, a meeting from human to human, so it definitely changes the way the participants think about Islam,” Dr. Soetomo said. 

During the event, the participants received lectures from UIII experts on different topics. Farid Fachruddin Saenong, Ph.D. delivered a topic ‘Al-Quran and Prophet Mohammad and Tradition: Interfaith Approach’, while Dr. Phil. Syafiq Hasyim discussed ‘Moderate Islam of Indonesia’. Additionally, Zezen Zaenal Mutaqin S.J.D focused on ‘Contemporary Issues in Islam’, and Aan Suryana, Ph.D shed light on ‘Islam, Politics, and Radicalism’. Lastly, Zacky Khairul Umam, Ph.D delivered a topic ‘Islamic Christianity’. 

“The exposition from the UIII experts made us realize that Islam or Muslim communities are not only one color. It really opens our eyes, that is why we are eager to visit some other kinds of Muslim communities later on, to enrich our understanding,” Dr. Soetomo said. 

According to Dr. Phil. Syafiq Hasyim, interim Vice-Rector for Research, Cooperation, and Community Engagement and Director of the Central Library, UIII is honored to have hosted the Asia Pacific Theological Encounter Program (APTEP) 2024 as it resonates with our value of religious harmony and interfaith understanding. UIII has the mission to promote moderate and peaceful Islam (Islam wasatiyya) the whole world, as a way to contribute to solving the global challenges through Islamic science and education.