Original Research

Promoting moderate Islam in a global community through the ‘English for Ulama’ programme

Agus Ahmad Safei
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6878 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6878 | © 2021 Agus Ahmad Safei | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 May 2021 | Published: 23 September 2021

About the author(s)

Agus Ahmad Safei, Department of Islamic Community Development, Faculty of Da’wa and Communication, Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Gunung Djati, Bandung, Indonesia


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Abstract

The rise of religious conservatism following the 1998 reformasi has altered the face of Indonesian Islam, which has historically been regarded as peaceful and inclusive, which is why the Indonesian government has advocated for moderate Islam on a regional, national and even a global scale. Using West Java as a case study, this article presents the 2019 ‘English for Ulama’ (EFU) initiative, which intends to train ulama in West Java about the concept of moderate Islam before sending them to the United Kingdom to promote moderate Islamic discourse in a global setting. This study demonstrates that the EFU programme is a strategic project that not only benefits West Javanese ulama regionally, where they may develop networks with other Muslims on a worldwide scale, but also benefits from the national development of moderate Islamic discourse. On a global scale, this programme is one of the best examples of moderate Islamic discourse diplomacy as the nature of Indonesian Islam. Furthermore, supporting moderate Islam on a worldwide scale is likely to influence Western society’s view of Islamophobia.

Contribution: Although the EFU programme is a local government initiative, it has contributed to the promotion of moderate Islam at the world level and is framed as global diplomacy.


Keywords

moderate Islam; da’wa; foreign diplomacy; ‘English for Ulama’ programme; Indonesia’s foreign policy

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