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2 Lecturers of UMY Study the Development of Islamic Culture in Australia

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The development of religions is distinctive in each country like the development of Islamic culture in Australia which is well-known as prioritizing the tolerance issues among religions and cultures. Two lecturers of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY) joined Muslim Exchange Program (MEP) organized Australian Government to study the issues. They were an International Relations lecturer, Muhammad Zahrul Anam, S.Ag., M.Si. and a Communication Science lecturer, Firly Annisa, M.A.

In an interview on Saturday (26/3), Firly informed that the program was conducted on 4-20 March 2016. Firly and Zahrul were as Indonesian Muslim ambassadors to learn how interfaith tolerance fostering in Australia, particularly dealing with Islam. “I visited communities concerning with human right, gender equality, social issues, and religions,” she told.

Firly argued that interfaith tolerance in Australia is adequately great since it is supported by the communities promoting tolerance issues to Australian people. “Australian government and public respect Australian Muslims. Discrimination does not exist and it is contrast to what mass media have recently reported,” Firly clarified.

Firly also presented tolerance issues in Indonesia. “I, representing UMY and Muhammadiyah, acquainted UMY as a university coining progressive Islamic generation and Muhammadiyah as an Islamic organization of Indonesian people,” she said.

She was selected of 350 registered participants due to several aspects. One of them was that her involvement in youth organizations such as Rumah Sinema and Ranting Aisyiyah that both organizations focus on multicultural understanding-based media literacy. “There were 350 registered people in Indonesia, but only 10 people were chosen that two of them are from UMY. One of the reasons why I passed the program was that I am actively engaged in multicultural issues based on media literacy. I had an experience of being a speaker delivering multicultural-based media literacy to Catholic women.

Besides,  Zahrul will undertake to the MEP in April 2016. The MEP, indeed, aims at reinforcing the relations between Indonesia and Australia, particularly among Muslims of both countries. “The program is expected to ear new insights of how Australian government takes a role of managing tolerance curricula in educational fields and diminishing interfaith horizontal conflicts,” he wished.

Zahrul also told that how he could be selected in the program is due to his involvement in programs of Majelis Tabligh PP Muhammadiyah concentrating on enhancement of Islamic faith of the disabled in Indonesia. “I, representing Majelis Tabligh PP Muhammadiyah and UMY, hoped that I could gain a lot of knowledge of how Australian government handles disabled Muslims since the management of facilities and infrastructures for disabled Muslims in Indonesia is limited, and Indonesian government’s involvement has not existed yet, indeed. In Australia, there are regulations of facility and infrastructure management of religion for the disabled,” he ended.

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