Aceh Besar – A total of 115 people from 14 countries, representing the international conference and AMAN Assembly, were received by the Aceh Besar government on Saturday evening (October 14, 2023). Several of these representatives came from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, and the USA.
The program began with a traditional Acehnese meal, followed by the Ratoh Jaroe dance, which is a signature Acehnese dance. This dance reflects the spirit and grace of Acehnese women, known for their strength, bravery, resilience, militancy, and strong unity.
In her address, the Secretary-General of the Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), Ruby Kholifah, provided participants with a real experience of Acehnese culture, heritage, and Islam. She stated, “Aceh is incredibly beautiful, and all participants can feel the genuine conditions of Aceh. And that is Indonesia,” said the N-Peace award-winning woman.
Ruby briefly explained AMAN and its post-agenda hopes. AMAN’s mission is to introduce Islam as a blessing to all people worldwide because God created humans with various differences.
She hopes to bring a different story after the agenda. Aceh is not just a story of tsunamis and conflicts; there have been many developments since the Helsinki agreement. “So, after the agenda, participants can comprehensively present a different story,” she added, also serving as the Director of AMAN Indonesia.
At the same venue, Dr. Prof Kamaruzaman, the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Sharia at UIN Ar-Raniry Aceh, invited participants to get to know Acehnese culture. He expressed his gratitude that the first day went smoothly and well. Furthermore, he looks forward to building ongoing cooperation in the future.
“We hope that, whether with the Aceh Besar Government or several international participants, we can create implementable programs. Also, UIN Ar-Raniry can become a World Class University,” he said, also serving as an AMAN council member.
Finally, the Secretary of the Aceh Besar Government, Sulaimi, expressed gratitude for the visit of participants from 14 countries worldwide. On this occasion, he hoped that international conference participants would visit Aceh again, especially the city of Janto. “Currently, visiting Janto does not take much time because several infrastructure improvements have been made,” he stated.
He also mentioned several tourist attractions in the city of Janto. The city offers various types of tourism, from religious and natural tourism to culinary tourism. He once again expressed hope for future cooperation and return visits to Aceh.
The International Conference and AMAN Assembly agenda began with visits to several historical sites in Aceh, including PLTD Apung, the Tsunami Museum, Cut Nyak Dien’s House, and the mass grave of tsunami victims. On the first day’s agenda, there will be Mariana Ariestyawati, an Expert in Information Technology at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and the Chairman of the Central Leadership of Muhammadiyah, Prof. Dr. H. Haedar Nashir, M. Si.
Additionally, former Editor-in-Chief of the Jakarta Post, Ati Nurbaiti, will be present as the moderator. Peace activist Qutub Jahan Kidwai will discuss various acts of violence in the name of religion and actions that can be taken in the future. Qutub represents India and leads the Network for Education, Empowerment, Development, and Awareness (NEEDA). In 2020, Qutub also received the Aghaz-e-Dosti Award (Gandhian Youth and Indo-Pak Initiative) and the Nirmala Deshpandey Award.
A total of 500 participants will gather for the International Conference and AMAN Assembly under the theme “Religious Inclusion and Peacebuilding in the World: the Perspectives of Muslims” at the Ali Hasyimi Auditorium, UIN Ar-Raniry, Banda Aceh, from October 14 to 17, 2023. This four-day agenda will address religious inclusion as a significant global task for all communities.
The International Conference is designed to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas among Muslims and representatives of other religions and beliefs, religious leaders, academics, activists, practitioners, media, and young people from organizations and communities. The goal is to share achievements, challenges, and best practices related to religious diversity in Asia and the world.
Topics will range from the achievements of Muslims in promoting religious freedom, tolerance, and peace, including supporting women’s and young people’s leadership in peacebuilding, to discussing various humanitarian issues, crises, displacements, and Aceh’s role as a destination for Rohingya refugees in recent years. Finally, community resistance through negotiation and the extremism of young people and women will also be discussed.