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    West Java Ulama in Britain: From Becoming Khatib to Join Interfaith Dialogue


    UNITED KINGDOM - Five scholars graduating from the first stage of the English for Ulama program continue to spread the message of Islam to various parts of the UK. One of them, through the sermon of Ihya Ulumudin in Edinburgh, Scotland.

    Ihya became a preacher on Friday prayers (Jumma prayer) at Heriot-Watt University on Friday (11/8/19) afternoon local time for students, workers, and Muslim children there.

    Next, Ihya also participated in the celebration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH on Friday (8/11) at 20:00 local time at the Minhaj-ul-Quran Mosque, Rutherglen, Glasgow.

    Besides Ihya, the ulama who was dispatched by the Regional Government (Pemda) of West Java Province (West Java) to preach in the British territory was Hasan Al-Banna.

    On his third day in England, Hasan was one of the speakers in the Thurrock Interfaith Roundtable Dialogue or interfaith dialogue that took place in Grays, Thurrock - about 30 km east of London.

    Aside from Hasan, the dialogue held by the Thurrock Labor Party was attended by members of the assembly Qaisar Abbas and John Kent, Imam Grays Mosque Salim Rahman and Abdul Rashid, as well as Reverend David Peterson (St. Clements Church) and Matt Drummond (St. Stephens Church) and Gayani Richpal Singh (Grays Gurdawara).

    In total, there are 21 religious leaders who dialogue. Not only them, this dialogue was also covered by local journalists such as senior journalist Michael Casey and Urooj Raza Siami (Pakistani TV).

    In his remarks, Qaisar Abbas, who initiated the Thurrock Interfaith Roundtable Dialogue, said that this dialogue was needed to bring together various religious communities so as to create tolerance and mutual understanding between religions.

    The sheikhs present, including Hasan, also emphasized the teachings of Islam about the importance of treating all people equally and living in harmony in peace.

    As one of the guest speakers, Hasan also introduced the English for Ulama program which brought him to the land of Queen Elizabeth.

    "We were sent by the Governor of West Java, the largest province in Indonesia, his name is Ridwan Kamil. The goal is to bring peace, one of which is through this interfaith dialogue," Hasan said.

    "Our delegation is here (Britain) to learn about your values ??and how the community here unites against racism. We have high respect for the British people," he added.

    Regarding interfaith dialogue, Hasan said that it was a very good agenda to be conveyed in Indonesia.

    "The main message (delivered) is how to listen and understand (other people). Because what you believe, can be different from other people," Hasan said.

    "So, the bridge between these (religious) beliefs is to listen to and understand each other so that harmony arises with each other," he concluded.

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