Islam in the Face of Global Challenges: Perspectives from the First International Forum on New Directions in the Study of Islam

May 14, 2023

Contributor: Kante Hamed | Editor: Dadi Darmadi

UIII recently organized "The First International Forum on New Directions in the Study of Islam in the Face of Global Challenges." The event took place on May 10, 2023, at the UIII Rectorate Building. The forum aimed to bring together academics, specialists, and Muslim figures from around the world to discuss the current challenges facing the Muslim world and explore new avenues for Islamic studies.

The Center of Islam and Global Challenges, in collaboration with the Faculty of Islamic Studies, played a crucial role in organizing the forum. Ambassadors from various Islamic and Arab nations, including H.E. Abdel Moneim Annan (Ambassador of The Syrian Arab Republic), Houssein Sidi Abdellah Deh (Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania), H.E. Mr. Ouadiâ Benabdellah (Moroccan Royal Ambassador), H.E. Abdulla Salem Obaid Salem Aldhaheri (UAE's Ambassador), H.E. Dr. Yassir Mohamed Ali Mohamed (Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan), H.E. Sheikh/Mohamed Bin Ahmed Salim Al Shanfari (Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman), and Mr. Lotfi IA Alriani (Minister Plenipotentiary for the Libyan Embassy) attended the event.

The forum commenced with the screening of the video profile of the Faculty of Islamic Studies, followed by an opening speech by Prof. Noorhaidi Hasan, the Dean of the Faculty. Prof. Hasan expressed his gratitude to all the ambassadors for their presence and provided an overview of the forum's topic, objectives, and visions. He also highlighted the strategies adopted by the Faculty of Islamic Studies to address the challenges posed by a globalized world and emphasized the potential contributions of Islamic studies at UIII.

Prof. Hasan challenged the misconception that studying Islam has no relevance to addressing current needs and difficulties. He emphasized that contemporary Islamic studies are essential in addressing various challenges faced by Muslim countries today, such as conflicts, poverty, unequal access to education, gender equality, global warming, and crises related to health, food, and energy. The study of Islam can contribute significantly to tackling these issues.

Prof. Hasan also aimed to overcome the perception that the study of Islam is limited to specific centers, proposing a shift towards connections, exchanges, and networks. He emphasized that every country possesses unique strengths in the study of Islam, and through collaboration, Muslim countries can offer new and distinctive perspectives. Prof. Hasan believed that by raising new issues and innovative perspectives, the voices of Muslim countries would gain prominence in the global academic discourse, shaping the understanding of Islam worldwide.

The rector of UIII, Prof. Dr. Komaruddin Hidayat, delivered a welcoming speech, providing a brief background on the establishment of UIII, the Indonesian International Islamic University. He also introduced a new Master's program specializing in "Traditional Islamic Studies," which will offer a comprehensive curriculum for individuals interested in studying classical or traditional Islamic disciplines.

Another significant highlight of the event was the official introduction and opening of the "Center of Islam and Global Challenges," led by Dr. Muhammad Al-Marakeby. The center aims to engage Islam in dialogue with various global challenges and showcase its potential in inspiring creative approaches to problem-solving. Dr. Al-Marakeby expressed the center's aspiration to become a hub of excellence for research and training, contributing practical solutions to pressing global issues.

The attending ambassadors shared their insights on the challenges faced by the Muslim world and the potential role of education in addressing them. The discussions focused on opportunities for collaboration between UIII and their respective nations, drawing from their countries' experiences in academic research and education.

The participation of these esteemed ambassadors significantly enriched the event by offering their expertise and perspectives on the difficulties and opportunities encountered by the Muslim world. Their involvement highlighted the importance of international cooperation and dialogue in effectively addressing the complex issues impacting the global Muslim community.

UIII presented the participating ambassadors with their souvenirs before a prayer and group photo opportunity. The forum provided a venue for academics to exchange knowledge and viewpoints on the difficulties the Muslim world faces. It also emphasized the significance of education in overcoming these challenges and the demand for fresh approaches to the study of Islam.

The success of this event opened the door for future forums and collaborations in the field of Islamic studies, allowing for continued exploration of new directions and innovative solutions to global challenges.