The Foreign Ministry in cooperation with Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), will establish an Indonesian Islamic Center (IIC) in Kabul, Afghanistan, to strengthen religious cooperation with Afghan clerics.
Fazal Ghani Kakar, the founder of Afghanistan’s NU, an independent NU that closely cooperates with the Indonesian NU, said the IIC would be built on a 10,000 square meter plot of land in Kabul’s Ahmad Shah Baba Mina area donated by the Afghan government.
“With the ICC, we could further strengthen our ties […] Afghanistan is now in dire need to learn [about moderate Islamic teachings] from Indonesia as well,” Kakar said.
The IIC would consist of four buildings, including a Grand Mosque, where the Afghan NU would deploy one of its clerics to disseminate Islamic teachings, and a library that would comprise books that could teach young Afghani not only about Islam, but also Indonesian culture, Kakar said.
The center would also have a social house to accommodate exchange visits between Indonesian and Afghan ulemas, where they would come together and learn from each other’s experiences, Kakar said.
In addition, Kakar said, a clinic would be built within the IIC for Afghan people, who were affected badly by the prolonged conflict and in need of treatment, since numerous healthcare facilities in the area had been damaged by the war.
The statement was made at the end of the two-day International Summit of the Moderate Islamic Leaders (ISOMIL), organized by NU in Jakarta and joined by more than 300 participants including Muslim figures from 35 countries.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said the government had recently begun constructing the IIC in the Fatiha building, around 500 meters from a mosque in Ahmad Shah Baba Mina.
The IIC was hoped to encourage cooperation among Muslim academics and clerics from Indonesia and Afghanistan to promote moderate Islamic views, Retno said.
NU deputy chairman Maksum Machfoedz said his organization had mainly assisted the government in advocacy in order to push for the establishment of the IIC to facilitate religious cooperation with Afghanistan.
Besides, the NU also provided scholarships for Afghan students to study about Islam Nusantara, a tolerant form of Indonesian Islam that upheld values of peace, modesty, and cultural respect, at NU universities, Machfoedz said.
“The cooperation should be followed up by setting up another event like ISOMIL to pursue world peace,” Machfoedz said.(dmr)