Ramadan Festival: Report
London, April 8-10, 2022
Organized by The Indonesian Embassy to the United Kingdom and Ireland following a visit to London and including a focused session on interfaith dialogue at the University of Birmingham. In this reflection, PhD student Gugun Gumilar discusses the concept of intra and interfaith dialogue in light of this recent visit and experience.
Interfaith 'Iftar' Dinner for Peace and Unity
The Indonesian Embassy hosted an Interfaith 'Iftar' Dinner during the Islamic month of Ramadan at the Indonesian Embassy in London. For Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan is integral to the Islamic faith and is highlighted by the abstention of any food or drink from dawn (al-fajr) to sunset (al-maġrib). During Ramadan, I work to cultivate self-discipline, as well as exercise excellence in character and connection to God.
It is crucial that I remind myself and my neighbors of the obligations we have to one another by nurturing brotherhood, which is important to the strengthening of our society. Unity and harmony are the keys to success of our society. These begin with a willingness to join hands on common ground. At the event, I discussed the importance of unity and the role that we each play in setting aside differences in order to eradicate intolerance and hatred in our communities. The interfaith 'Iftar' Dinner is promoted between Indonesian religious communities in United Kingdom and Ireland to foster good relations between people of differing faiths in our community. I met the Ambassador, diplomats, students, representatives from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, members of Parliament, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other faith leaders.
Interfaith Dialogue at the University of Birmingham
Learning about other ways of managing diverse communities is useful as it opens people’s minds to different ways of living and governing different communities. Our discussion focused on religious encounters in faith, hope and love. The overarching goal of interreligious dialogue at the University of Birmingham is to contribute to the freeing of a full humanness for all people and the betterment of society. I wanted to take that interreligious dialogue into our local community where people are growing up in an equally multi-faith society and need role models who can show us that we can be confident in our own faith while also open to people of other faiths.
During this visit, along with Indonesian diplomats, Indonesian MP’s, and different religious leaders from Indonesia, I also visited the University of Birmingham. We met Paul Salahuddin Armstrong and Mohammed Abbasi there. These two men currently run the Association of British Muslims (AoBM) in the United Kingdom and the Muslim Chaplaincy program at the University of Birmingham.