Catholics in Pakistan

International Jesuit group learns about Islam in Indonesia

An international group of Jesuits recently gathered in Indonesia to learn more about Islam, diversity ‎and inter religious tolerance in the country with the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. Twelve ‎Jesuit priests from Germany, France, Nigeria, Turkey, India, Spain, Italy and Indonesia held a series of ‎session on Aug. 10 at Tebuireng Islamic Boarding School in Jombang, East Java.

‎”The gathering is part of regular meetings among priest who join the Jesuits Among Muslims (JAM) ‎programme and this year Indonesia is the host,” said the group leader Father Franz Magnis Suseno, a ‎Dutch-born Indonesian Jesuit who teaches philosophy and is noted for his initiatives in inter-religious ‎dialogue.

Interacting with students

Abdul Ghofar, the boarding school secretary said the Jesuits talked with students at the school to learn ‎more about their life experiences and what their faith means to them. When asked whether a non-‎Muslim could be enrolled at the school, Gofar said they do have non-Muslims studying there. ‎

Jesuit Father Ignatius Ismartono, one of the group members, said that through this encounter, ‎participants also learned about Nahdlatul Ulema, Indonesia’s largest moderate Islamic organization. ‎‎”We study about how Nahdlatul Ulema goes about living in harmony with others who are non-‎believers,” he told UCANEWS.‎

The Tebuireng Islamic School, that today has more than 7,000 students, was founded in 1899 by ‎Hasyim Asya’ri, a moderate Muslim leader belonging to the Nahdlatul Ulema. ‎

After the visit, the priests visited the grave of Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur, Indonesia’s fourth ‎president, and a former NU leader.‎ (Source: UCANEWS)

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