The role of the Ministry of Religious Affairs that is to organize religious and social life in Indonesia attracted the curiosity of one of the participants of the seminar on Islam in Indonesia (El Islam en Indonesia) which was held at the Universidad Tecnológica del Perú (UTP), Lima, 16 May 2011. This participant wanted to know more about the functions of the Ministry of Religious Affairs that does not exist in Perú. The event was convened in corporation with the Cultural Center of Andalus and UTP.
In the seminar, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Perú and Bolivia, Yosef Berty Fernandez became the main speaker to explain the development of Islam in Indonesia. The Ambassador underlined that Indonesia is a country where Islam, democracy and pluralism can flourish together within the society.
The seminar was officially opened by the Dean of the Faculty of Human Rights, Political Science and International Relations, UTP, Doctor Miguel Ängel Rodríguez Mackay. He stated that the development of Islam as one of the monotheistic religions is important to be known by the Peruvian academicians and society, especially in this era of globalization. Furthermore, he stated that the development of Islam in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, is an interesting topic to be discussed in the middle of the growing negative attitude toward Islam.
In his presentation, the ambassador explained the history of the spread of Islam in Indonesia which was influenced by the process of acculturation / syncretism, the characteristics of Islam in Indonesia and the role of Islamic organizations such as Nahdhatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah. He also explained about the religious tolerance in Indonesia and the women´s roles in many fields, including in political realm. In addition, the ambassador explained about the recent challenges, such as the radicalism and the rise of religious violence. He stressed that all forms of religious violence are not supported by the majority.
In the end of the seminar, the group dance of the embassy performed two traditional dances with Islamic influences, namely Saman (the Province of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam) and Rentak Besapih (the Province of Jambi). The seminar is useful to project the image of Indonesia as a country where Islam, democracy and pluralism can develop harmoniously.