Presently, religion often became the source of violent conflicts, persecution and misunderstanding. But religion also became a catalyst for peace and reconciliation. At the same time the position of the state as stakeholders related to religion has an important role to manage and rule interfaith life. Starting from this issue, Centre for Research and Development of Religious Life (CRDRL) and Religious Department of the Republic of Indonesia organised the “International Symposium of Religious Life (ISRL) 2016: Managing Diversity, Fostering Harmony” in Sari Pan Pacific Hotel, Jakarta, from 5-7 October 2016.
ISRL 2016 was attended by over 100 participants from researchers, activists, policy makers, and scholars from a number of countries. Keynote speakers were Prof. Azyumardi Azra (UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta), Prof. Robert W. Hefner (Boston University), and Prof. Gamal Farouq Jibril (Al-Azhar University, Cairo).
Hundreds of abstracts were sent to the symposium. Three students from CRCS came to participate in the event. They were Azis Anwar Fachruddin with papers titled Indonesian Customary Belief and Modern Construction of Religion, Ali Ja’far with Promoting Interfaith Tolerance through Religious Tourism, and M. Rizal Abdi with Tembayat Pilgrimage as Space of Harmony: Exchanging Symbols, Negotiating Spaces.
There were also seven alumni of CRCS participating, these were Achmad Zainal Arifin (2000), Erik Sabti Rahmawati; Ubed Abdillah (2001), Elis Z. Anis (2001), Al Khanif (2004); A. Syamsu Madyan (2004), and Achmad Fawaid (2012).
The symposium helps students to find latest ideas on religious studies. It is expected to offer opportunities for new ideas in religious studies and new formats to reach a harmonious interfaith life in a pluralistic society.
“From the Religious Ministry, we hope this symposium would give a recommendation to implement the diversity vision of Indonesia,” said Prof. Dr. Phil. Amin Kamaruddin, Director General for Islamic Education, representing Minister for Religion.