Manado, North Islam developing in Indonesia is an Islam that is of wasathiyyah or Islam with moderate thinking.

“Islam in Indonesia is a moderate Islam, Islam that has distinct characteristics from Islam in other countries such as in the Middle East. The teachings of Islam here remain the same, yet it is able to coexist with other religions in harmony,” said Vice President Jusuf Kalla in a public lecture at the Manado State Islamic Institute (IAIN) on Sunday (23/4), after attending the National Harmony Week and opening the Global Christian Youth Conference during his working visit to the North Sulawesi province.

According to the Vice President, Islam initially entered and developed in Indonesia through trade channels, which is in contrast to Islam in the Middle East that was spread through wars.

This, he added, has contributed to the growing tolerance of Muslims in Indonesia, proven, for example, with the existence of Borobudur Temple which is the pride of the Buddhist community.

“If it is in another country, Borobudur may have disappeared. We maintain this site as a proof of the national heritage,” said the Vice President.

The Vice President then ordered that IAIN maintain this moderate Islamic thought, even more so today Indonesia has become a benchmark for many countries in fostering harmony.

“We should be able to see more on similarities, not differences, so that we will be able to definitely avoid conflict among people,” he affirmed.

The Vice President further said that almost all Muslim countries in the Middle East are now experiencing conflicts, most of which are triggered by different views in Islam.

To that end, the Vice President considered that studying Islam in those war-torn countries is no longer relevant as civilization and morals as a reflection of Islam can no longer be found there.

He further encouraged that the quality of Islamic universities in Indonesia to be continuously improved to attract the interest of Muslims in the world to study Islam in Indonesia.

Reaching Philippine Students

Previously, in his report the Rector of IAIN of Manado Dr. Rukmina Gonibala said that the institute was originally a Sharia Faculty of IAIN of Alauddin in Makassar that turned into the Manado State Islamic College (STAIN) in 1997 and eventually developed into IAIN of Manado in 2014 until today.

“IAIN of Manado with the motto ‘Multi Visionary and Transdisciplinary’ now has 17 courses spread across 4 faculties,” explained Gonibala.

The students of this institute, he continued, mostly come from border areas, and some of them even from the southern part of the Philippines.

After the public lecture, the Vice President had the opportunity to sign the inscription of Al-Jamiah Mosque in that only State Islamic College in the North Sulawesi province.