The Australia-Indonesia Muslim Exchange Program 2009
Appreciation for the 2009 Muslim Exchange Program between Australia and Indonesia was highlighted at a function
at the home of the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Mr. Bill Farmer, in late May. Together with his wife
Elaine, Mr Farmer congratulated the five Australian participants on their visit to Indonesia which was drawing
to an end. They welcomed alumni of the program from past years including KGI friend Tubagus Erif Faturrahman
who went to Australia in October 2004 with the Muslim Exchange Program.
Read about some of the questions that 8 participants in the Muslim Exchange Program gave to Kang Guru before
they went overseas AND then check if those questions were answered during their visits.
from left: Hussam Elmaghraby, Iman Dandan (front), Shameema Kolia, Sanchi Davis (Cultural Attache), Mr.
Bill Farmer (Australian Ambassador), Mohammed El-Leissy and Hyder Gulam
Check in early 2010 for application details for the 2010 Muslim Exchange Program from the Australia indonesia
These Indonesian participants returned from Australia in mid-April, 2009 -
Herawati - teaching staff at the Al-Aziziyah Islamic Boarding School, Lombok
Mujahidah - Committee of the Fatayat Nahdlatul Ulama (NU branch Samarinda, East
Siti Sarah Muwahidah - Ma'arif Institute, and activist of the Islamic Students
Association in Yogyakarta
Laili Nur Faridatus Sholihah - Responsible for Community
Based Disaster Risk, Management, Nahdlatul Ulama, Jakarta
Australian Muslim Exchange Participants 2009
Kang Guru interviewed these participants in mid May at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta as they arrived in Indonesia.
Read about their plans for their visit and then read to see whether they found out the answers they had come
to Indonesia to find out.
Shameema Kolia is from Perth. She is the
President of the Muslim Youth Organization in Perth and is involved in a Muslim Womens’ Support center
in Perth. It is her first time to Indonesia and Shameema is keen to meet the people of Indonesia. She
feels that this is the way to really get to know a country, the heart of the nation, and how it operates.
Working with students from different backgrounds and with different interests and comparing them to students
in Australia is a real interest of hers. (Shameema's Bio)
One of the things she really wants to do is to meet young people and find out what motivates them and
interests them. It is important for Shameema to look at the issues faced by young people here in Indonesia
and in Australia and compare them to see if they are young people’s issues or young Muslims’ issues.
To do this it is important to meet people form all walks of life and by joining the Muslim Exchange Program,
she feels this is going to be possible.
Did Shameema find out the answers to her questions while she traveled around Indonesia May 18 - 28?
On May 28th, Shameema spoke once again to KGI in Jakarta -
Shamema visited many classrooms and pesantrens and spoke with many young people. Shameema found out that young
people in Indonesia are motivated and excited by the same sorts of things that young Australians are whether
they are Muslim or not – sport, asking questions, learning new things, etc. One of the most frequently
asked questions was about wearing the hijab – is it worn in Australia, isn’t it banned, why are
you wearing one, etc? Quite a few were surprised when they learnt the visiting Australians were actually
born Muslim. Shameema feels that these issues indicate that perhaps Indonesian Muslim young people have a
narrow perception of what an Australian Muslim is. When her Australian female students in Perth ask Shameema
about their counterparts in Indonesia, she is going to tell them that their Indonesian counterparts are much
better behaved and more respectful. Shameema also says that young Indonesians, and in particular young Muslim
girls are definitely not shy and passive as so many people (in Australia and here in Indonesia) think they
are. For Shameema, coming to Indonesia with the Muslim Exchange Program has been a revelation – fantastic!
dalam Bahasa Indonesia
Hyder Gulam is from Melbourne and although he has
been to Indonesia before, this is his first time to Java. Has worked in the Middle East and actually grew up
in Singapore. He is very keen to see how Islam is practised in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim
population in the world and with the two largest Muslim organizations in the world – Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul
Ulama. Indonesia is often termed as the smiling face of Islam and Hyder wants to see how Islam has managed
to maintain cultural values for the Indonesian people and still grow and flourish in the archipelago. (Hyder's
Hyder has many Indonesian friends in Australia and has met and chatted with previous Muslim Exchange participants
both Australian and Indonesian. These friends and colleagues have all been fascinated by the way Islam is
practiced in Australia. It is open and inclusive. Hyder has a real interest in finding out how the two Muslim
organizations, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, maintain grass roots membership and support and provide
value added services at the same time. From the view of the Islamic Council of Victoria, it is important
to share this expertise and knowledge.
Did Hyder find out the answers to his questions while
he traveled around Indonesia May 18 - 28?
On May 28th, Hyder spoke once again to KGI in Jakarta -
Hyder was very impressed by the way that these two Muslim organizations work in their communities – social
work, civil society and human rights included. In the case of NU, the work extends to disaster services and
in particular Hyder mentioned a young woman called Laili. KGI actually interviewed Laili, also a 2009 Muslim
Exchange participant, a few weeks ago at her NU office and she explained in detail the work that she does
with her team across Java. Educating communities that natural disasters maybe cannot be stopped bu the effects
of them can be tackled and in many cases avoided – for example, landslides do not always have to occur
in nature or for that matter dams bursting as well. In general Hyder found both of these Muslim organizations
to be very open-minded social organizations. He found them not be dogmatic and quite open to discussion and
As for the way that Islam is practiced here, Hyder feels that it is at the forefront in many ways in terms
of intellectual pursuits. Schools do teach Arabic and Indonesian and English but they also teach the sciences
too including biology. Mechanics is taught too and this is an example of how Islam in Indonesia is working
together for the future of Indonesia and the religion itself. Hyder told KGI that he believes that language
is the one thing holding which can truly expose Indonesian ideas on Islamic thoughts on subjects such as
human rights, tolerance and democracy to the rest of the world. Along with Muhammad and Shameema, Hyder sees
Indonesia at the forefront of Islamic though and discussion and with English translations for example, these
thoughts can (and should) be shared with the rest of the world. Islam in Indonesia fits in very well with
the culture and the two have grown together. Students were amazed when Hyder told them that Muslims in Australia
all get on very well even though they are from all corners of the globe. Indonesia's tolerant and gentle
way will win out and help Indonesia to develop and grow through education, democracy, economic growth and
by decreasing poverty levels.
dalam Bahasa Indonesia
Mohammad El-Leissy is
a social worker Centre of Multicultural Youth In Melbourne and his parents originally came to Australia from
Egypt. Mohammad works with newly arrived migrants and refugees to Australia assisting them to settle into
their new home. Amongst other difficulties, language is an obstacle that needs to be addressed by new arrivals. Mohammad
is now in a similar position a she visits Indonesia – his Indonesian language skills are being tested.
He told KGI that he cannot speak the language and I basically unaware of local customs. The atmosphere in the
streets is different. It is foreign and can be an issue for many new arrivals in Australia too.
A major challenge in Australia right now for Islam is the new wave of migration.
Many migrants are from Muslim countries and they all need to find a way to take the Islam from their country
and make it fit into their home. Mohammad believes that he can learn a lot from the way people relate
to their religion in Indonesia especially because Islam in Indonesia is not repressive and is free. He is
keen to see how Islam in Indonesia is adapting to the modern world and he feels Australia can learn a lot
from how this is being done. Mohammad believes Indonesia is coping much better than other countries in this
transition to modernity. (Mohammad's Bio)
Did Mohammad find out the answers to his questions while
he traveled around Indonesia May 18 - 28?
On May 28th, Mohammad spoke once again to KGI in Jakarta -
Mohammad has had an amazing experience and has found that Islam in Indonesia is definitely not repressive.
He feels that the willingness of people to embrace new ideas and to discuss a whole range of ideas including
the current discussions centered around Facebook. In fact discussion is being actively encouraged. The perception
that Islam in Indonesia is repressive has been truly busted in his view. After visiting educational institutions
from universities to remote pesantrens, he sees Islam in Indonesia as leading the world. The teaching of
social sciences for example alongside the more traditional Islamic subjects is proof of this. A simpler example
is the marching band that greeted Mohammad and his fellow participants at a small pseantren demonstrated
clearly that education in Indonesian Islamic institutions is not repressive, passivew or narrow. The students
were full of life - inquisitive and responsive. Mohammad will never forget however that these students were
quite shocked when the found out that there were actually Muslims in Australia and that they were actually
talking to five of them in their own school.
dalam Bahasa Indonesia
Iman Dadan is from Lebanon and migrated
to Australia in 1998 as a four year old. One fact that Iman finds quite interesting is that Australia, with just
22 million people, seems to be afraid of a growing population especially if it is through migration or refugees.
For Iman, to see Indonesia with its huge population operating so well is a delight.
The seemingly effortless interaction and engagement within society, especially on a day to day level, amazes
Iman. She went for a walk in Jakarta her first day after arrival and was amazed at the vision on the streets.
It was quite different from Australia – the vast numbers of people, bikes, cars, etc. Whereas Australia
is a mass of rules and regulations, especially for road users, there seems to be none in Indonesia and yet all
seems to work smoothly. Personalities are different – lack of aggression in traffic! (Iman's
Did Iman find out the answers to her questions while she traveled around Indonesia May 18 - 28?
On May 28th, Iman spoke once again to KGI in Jakarta -
Iman was completely amazed by the mosques that she saw here in Indonesia. In Surabaya Iman was fascinated
by the largest mosque in that city, Masjid Al-Akbar, plus a Chinese mosque, Masjid Cheng Ho, that she visited.
At the Masjid Al-Akbar mosque Iman was interested in the geometric, mathematical patterns of blue and
green tiles used in the main dome and on the three adjacent domes (concaved) and that this huge structure
was sitting in the middle of a suburban area and with a church close by. And yet one of the most unexpected
and surprising things she saw was the use of a huge drum used as the call to prayer at the Masjid Al-Akbar.
Iman certainly had never seen a drum used in this way in Australia. The Chinese mosque, colorful with traditional
reds, greens, yellows and blues, was significant for Iman as it clearly shows the mixture of cultures within
Islam in Indonesia.
KGI asked Iman about mosques in Australia. In her response Iman said that mosques in Australia are fairly
traditional as they have been basically been built by Muslims from other countries and so they strongly reflect
the mosques of Turkey and Egypt for example. While traveling around Indonesia Iman really enjoyed the fact
that mosques in Indonesia are quite varied and one of the features she absolutely loved was the openness of
the structures – no walls for example. They are open and enjoy the sunshine and the light in a very
cool and breezy way.
dalam Bahasa Indonesia
Hussam Elmaghraby, a policeman in Australia,
was not available for the fist interview with Kang Guru but he was present at the Ambassador’s Residence
on the 28th of May and had these things to say about his visit to Indonesia.
One of the reasons Hassam joined the Muslim Exchange program was to see for himself the perception that Indonesians
have about the practice of Islam in Australia and the relationship with law enforcement. In fact when he
told young Indonesians that he was a policeman there often came a gasp from the audience. They couldn’t
quite believe that.
One of the most common questions asked as the group traveled around Indonesia was this – how can
a minority group of people in Australia practice Islam. Indonesian university students who have studied in
Australia often upon return to Indonesia and talk about how great Islam is in Australia and in particular
the relationship between law enforcement and government.
KGI asked Hassam if anything surprised him while in Indonesia? Although not a surprise, Hassam commented
that he was really interested to see the young, vibrant and energetic students he met in madrasah and pesantrens
across the county. He believes that it is students like these that will break down the stereotypes that are
often associated with Muslims in Indonesia. Teachers too, just like many of their students, wondered whether
there were actually many Muslims in Australia. And of course there are.
dalam Bahasa Indonesia
Indonesian Muslim Exchange Participants 2009
Lalu Ahmad Zaenuri - Lombok (second from right)
Samsul Ma'arif Mujiharto - Yogyakarta (far right)
Laili Nur Faridatus Sholihah - Jakarta
Did these three Indonesian participants of the 2009 Muslim
Exchange Program find out the answers to their
questions about Australia while they were in Australia?
These participants were interviewed by Kang Guru Indonesia in early May, 2009 in Jakarta - photograph above
shows the departing group with Sanchi Davis, Cultural Attache at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, and
staff member Wati Syamsu.
Indonesian Muslim Exchange 2009 participants with the Governor
General of Australia, Ms. Quentin Bryce.
from left: Umar Faruk Assegaf [MEP Coordinator at Camberra], Lalu Ahmad Zaenuri [MEP Participant from
STAIN Mataram], Ms.Quentin Bryce [Governor General of Australia], Dede Syarif [MEP Participant from UIN
Bandung], Samsul Ma'arif Mujiharto [MEP Participant from UGM Yogyakarta] and Faqihuddin Abdul Kodir [MEP
Guide at Camberra]
Background Information for 2009 Muslim Exchange participants
Mr Hyder Gulam (39, Melbourne)
Executive Member, Islamic Council of Victoria
Associate, Logie-Smith Lanyon (a law firm), Melbourne
Formerly in-house counsel at Department of Defence
Royal Australian Air Force reserve officer
Member, Australian Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Committee
Committee Member, Melbourne City Circle (a Muslim public discussion forum)
Founding member of the Muslim Legal Network
Member of Werribee Islamic Society and UMMA Centre, Melbourne
2 Masters degrees in International Law (Melbourne University and ANU), MBA (Southern Cross University), Bachelors
degrees in Law (La Trobe University), Nursing (Deakin University), and Arts (Swinburne University).
Interested in Islamic and non-Islamic religious organisations, business and trade, government, education, as
well as the media. In particular the role of religion in Indonesia, and the interaction between religion, politics
and society in Indonesia: balancing religious plurality. Also interested in AUSAID initiatives; green-house
emissions and reducing carbon footprint; the welfare system, and how Indonesia is stimulating its economy,
employment and combating poverty (especially re the global financial crisis). Interested in the views of ordinary
Indonesians about Australia.
Ms Iman Dandan (27, Sydney)
Volunteer, Bayt al-Zakat (local and international Muslim charity)
Member of Ryde City Council Community Harmony Reference Committee – Advisory and Project Planning
Former President, Sydney University Muslim Students’ Association
Member of Australian Muslim Students Association (MSA) National Advisory Board
Former Office Manager, Lebanese Muslim Association, Sydney
Formerly Community Settlement Services Officer, United Muslim Women’s Association, Sydney
Currently studying bachelors’ degrees in Arts (Religious Studies and Sociology) and Social Work, at
Interested in Muslim diversity in the Asia-Pacific, and how Australian Muslim charities could develop relationships
with existing charities in the region. Would like to meet a variety of people from universities and government,
interested in charity organisations and post-tsunami rebuilding.
|Mr Mohammed El-Leissy (24, Melbourne)
Youth Project Officer, Centre for Multicultural Youth, Melbourne
Part-time Imam and preacher
Member, Melbourne Greens political party
In 2008, stood as Greens candidate for Darebin City Council
Member of Victorian Premier’s Advisory Committee on Youth and Multicultural Affairs
Board Member, The Community Radio Federation (Radio 3CR)
Presenter/Producer, The National Security Files (Radio 3CR)
Stand-up comedian (member of Fear of a Brown Planet Muslim comedy trio)
Graduate of Dar al-Ulum Seminary, Melbourne
Currently studying an advanced diploma in Public Relations at Swinburne University, Melbourne
Interested in meeting religious organisations such as Nahdlatul Ulama, and to meet with young people to understand
how they negotiate their Islamic identity in a globalised and secular world
|Ms Shameema Kolia (27, Perth)
President and founder, Muslim Youth Western Australia
Member, WA Government Ethnic Youth Advisory Group
Youth Co-ordinator, Muslim Women’s Support Centre
Committee Member (formerly Youth Vice-President and Women’s Vice-President), WA Ethnic Communities Council
Member of WA Office of Women’s Policy Women’s Advisory Network
Interested in connecting and networking with Indonesian Muslims and learning about Indonesian culture
Interested in meeting organisations that provide services to young people; interested in education and identity
and developing sustainable programs for ‘at-risk’ youth; interested in women’s organisations,
gender equity, and the issues faced by Muslim women
|Mr Hussam (Sam) Elmaghraby (36, Melbourne)
Australian Federal Police officer
Project Manager, AFP National Community Engagement Strategy
Team Leader, AFP Melbourne Community Liaison Team (formerly Islamic Liaison Team)
Served as an AFP officer in the Solomon Islands
Awarded 2008 Australian Muslim Role Model of the Year, at Mission of Hope’s Australian Muslim Achievement
Bachelors degree in Applied Science (Physical Education), Victoria University; Graduate Diploma in Education
(Secondary), Australian Catholic University; Diploma of Policing, Australian Federal Police College
Interested to meet with leaders of major organisations that deal with youth, such as Muhammadiyah; social policy
makers in the area of social cohesion and interfaith dialogue; and, law enforcement organisations that are
conducting or that would benefit from community engagement, in particular Counter Terrorism units.
Also interested in meeting with Australian NGO’s and sporting organisations to identify and promote opportunities
for further international cooperation in improving bi-lateral relationships and highlighting the benefits of
community engagement in improving social cohesion.
Indonesian Translations (by Joyce Oei - IALF Bali)
Salah satu hal yang sangat ingin ia lakukan adalah bertemu dengan kaum muda dan mencari tahu apa yang memotivasi
mereka dan menarik minat mereka. Penting bagi Shameema untuk memperhatikan masalah-masalah yang dihadapi oleh
kaum muda di Indonesia dan di Australia, dan membandingkannya untuk melihat apakah ada masalah kaum muda atau
masalah kaum muda Muslim. Untuk melakukan hal ini, penting untuk bertemu orang-orang dari tingkat sosial yang
berbeda, dan dengan bergabung bersama Program Pertukaran Muslim, ia merasa hal ini dapat ia capai.
Apakah Shameema mendapatkan jawaban atas pertanyaan-pertanyaannya ketika ia berkeliling Indonesia 18 – 28
Tanggal 28 Mei Shameema sekali lagi berbicara kepada KGI di Jakarta –
Shameema mengunjungi banyak kelas dan pesantren, berbicara dengan banyak anak muda. Shameema menemukan bahwa
orang muda di Indonesia bermotivasi dan senang dengan hal-hal yang serupa dengan yang disukai anak-anak muda
Australia, baik yang Muslim maupun yang bukan, seperti olahraga, mengajukan pertanyaan, mempelajari hal-hal
yang baru, dll. Salah satu pertanyaan yang paling sering diajukan adalah tentang pemakaian jilbab – apakah
jilbab dipakai di Australia, apakah pemakaian jilbab dilarang, mengapa Shameema memakai jilbab, dll? Tidak sedikit
yang terkejut ketika mereka mengetahui bahwa orang-orang Australia yang mengunjungi mereka itu lahir dalam keluarga
Muslim. Shameema merasa masalah ini menunjukkan bahwa anak muda Muslim Indonesia memiliki cara pandang yang
sempit tentang siapa orang Muslim Australia itu. Ketika siswi-siswi Shameema di Perth, Australia bertanya kepada
Shameema tentang rekan-rekan mereka di Indonesia, ia akan memberitahu mereka bahwa rekan-rekan Indonesia mereka
berkelakuan lebih baik dan lebih menghormati orang lain. Shameema juga mengatakan bahwa anak muda Indonesia,
terutama anak-anak perempuan Muslim, bukan pemalu dan tidak pasif seperti yang banyak orang (di Australia dan
di Indonesia) pikir. Bagi Shameema, datang ke Indonesia bersama Program Pertukaran Muslim telah merupakan sebuah
penyingkapan – luar biasa!
Hyder memiliki banyak teman dari Indonesia di Australia dan pernah bertemu dan bercakap-cakap dengan para peserta
Program Pertukaran Muslim yang sebelumnya, baik yang berkebangsaan Indonesia maupun Australia. Teman-teman dan
rekan-rekan kerja ini semuanya terkesan dengan cara agama Islam dipraktekkan di Australia, terbuka dan inklusif.
Hyder memiliki minat yang sungguh-sungguh untuk mencari tahu bagaimana dua organisasi Islam, Muhammadiyah dan
Nahdlatul Ulama, menjaga keanggotaan akar rumput dan mendukung serta memberikan layanan bernilai tambah pada
waktu yang sama. Dari sudut pandang Islamic Council of Victoria, penting membagi keahlian dan pengetahuan ini.
Apakah Hyder mendapatkan jawaban atas pertanyaan-pertanyaannya ketika ia berkeliling Indonesia 18 – 28
Tanggal 28 Mei Hyder sekali lagi berbicara kepada KGI di Jakarta –
Hyder sangat terkesan dengan cara kedua organisasi Muslim ini berjalan di lingkungan masyarakat mereka, termasuk
pekerjaan sosial, masyarakat sipil dan HAM. Di NU, pekerjaan mereka sampai ke layanan bencana dan Hyder khususnya
menyinggung seorang wanita muda bernama Laili. Sebenarnya KGI pernah mewawancarai Laili, yang juga adalah seorang
peserta Program Pertukaran Muslim 2009, beberapa minggu lalu di kantornya di NU dan ia menjelaskan dengan rinci
pekerjaan yang ia lakukan dengan timnya di seluruh Jawa. Mendidik masyarakat bahwa bencana alam mungkin tidak
dapat dihentikan namun pengaruhnya dapat ditangani dan dalam banyak peristiwa dapat dihindari, misalnya tanah
longsor tidak selalu harus terjadi secara alami atau hal yang sama bisa berlaku untuk bendungan yang jebol.
Pada umumnya Hyder menemukan bahwa kedua organisasi Muslim ini merupakan organisasi sosial yang berpikiran terbuka.
Ia menemukan bahwa mereka tidak dogmatis dan terbuka untuk diskusi dan perubahan.
Sementara, mengenai cara mempraktekkan agama Islam di sini, Hyder merasa bahwa agama Islam terdepan dalam banyak
hal yang berhubungan dengan pengejaran intelektual. Di sekolah-sekolah bahasa Arab, Indonesia dan Inggris diajarkan,
termasuk sains termasuk biologi. Mekanika juga diajarkan dan ini merupakan sebuah contoh bagaimana agama Islam
di Indonesia bekerja sama demi masa depan Indonesia dan agama itu sendiri. Hyder memberitahu KGI ia percaya
bahwa bahasa adalah satu-satunya hal yang menahan kaum Muslim Indonesia mengungkapkan pemikiran mereka tentang
topik-topik seperti HAM dan demokrasi. Seperti Mohammad dan Shameema, Hyder melihat bahwa Indonesia akan berada
di baris depan pemikiran-pemikiran dan diskusi Islam, dan dengan terjemahan misalnya, pemikiran-pemikiran ini
dapat (dan hendaknya) dibagikan kepada seluruh dunia. Islam di Indonesia sangat cocok dengan budayanya dan keduanya
telah berkembang bersama-sama. Para siswa kagum ketika Hyder memberitahu mereka bahwa kaum Muslim di Australia
semuanya hidup dengan damai walaupun mereka berasal dari seluruh penjuru dunia. Cara Indonesia yang toleran
dan halus akan menang dan membantu Indonesia berkembang dan tumbuh melalui pertumbuhan ekonomi dan mengurangi
Mohammad El-Leissy adalah seorang pekerja sosial dari Centre of Multicultural Youth (Pusat Kaum Muda Multibudaya)
di Melbourne dan orangtuanya datang ke Australia dari Mesir. Mohammad bekerja dengan para migran dan pengungsi
yang baru datang di Australia, membantu mereka menetap di rumah mereka yang baru. Di antara kesulitan lain,
bahasa adalah rintangan yang perlu diatasi oleh pendatang baru ini. Mohammad sekarang berada dalam posisi yang
serupa ketika ia berkunjung ke Indonesia – kemampuannya berbahasa Indonesia sedang diuji. Ia memberitahu
KGI bahwa ia tidak dapat berbicara bahasa Indonesia dan tidak tahu-menahu kebiasaan setempat. Suasana di jalan
berbeda, asing dan dapat menjadi masalah bagi banyak pendatang baru di Australia juga.
Tantangan besar di Australia sekarang bagi agama Islam adalah gelombang baru migrasi. Banyak migran berasal dari
negara Islam dan mereka semua perlu mencari jalan untuk membawa agama Islam keluar dari negara mereka dan menyesuaikannya
sehingga pas di rumah mereka. Mohammad yakin ia dapat belajar banyak dari cara orang berhubungan dengan agama
mereka di Indonesia terutama karena agama Islam di Indonesia tidak represif dan bebas. Ia ingin melihat bagaimana
Islam di Indonesia beradaptasi dengan dunia modern dan ia merasa Australia dapat belajar banyak dari hal ini.
Mohammad yakin Indonesia menghadapi transisi menuju modernitas jauh lebih baik daripada negara lain.
Apakah Mohammad mendapatkan jawaban atas pertanyaan-pertanyaannya ketika ia berkeliling Indonesia 18 – 28
Tanggal 28 Mei Mohammad sekali lagi berbicara kepada KGI di Jakarta –
Mohammad telah mendapatkan pengalaman yang mengagumkan dan menemukan bahwa agama Islam di Indonesia sama sekali
tidak represif. Ia merasa bahwa kemauan masyarakat untuk menerima ide-ide yang baru dengan tangan terbuka dan
mendiskusikan berbagai ide termasuk diskusi-diskusi saat ini terpusat pada Facebook. Malahan, masyarakat didorong
untuk berpartisipasi aktif dalam diskusi. Persepsi bahwa Islam di Indonesia represif benar-benar salah. Setelah
mengunjungi beberapa institusi pendidikan dari universitas sampai pesantren terpencil, ia menganggap Islam di
Indonesia sedang memimpin dunia. Pengajaran ilmu pengetahuan sosial misalnya, berdampingan dengan mata pelajaran
Islam yang tradisional, adalah buktinya. Contoh yang lebih sederhana adalah sebuah marching band yang menyambut
Mohammad dan rekan-rekan pesertanya di sebuah pesantren kecil menunjukkan dengan jelas bahwa pendidikan di insitusi
Islam Indonesia tidak represif, pasif, atau sempit. Para siswa amat menikmati kehidupan mereka – penasaran
dan responsif. Namun Mohammad tidak akan pernah lupa ketika para siswa ini agak terkejut ketika mereka mengetahui
ada kaum Muslim di Australia dan sebenarnya mereka sedang berbicara dengan 5 dari antara kaum Muslim Australia
di sekolah mereka sendiri.
Iman Dadan berasal dari Lebanon dan pindah ke Australia pada 1998 ketika masih berumur empat tahun. Satu hal
yang menarik bagi Iman adalah bahwa Australia, dengan hanya 22 juta orang, kelihatannya takut akan pertumbuhan
penduduk, terutama jika penduduk itu adalah kaum imigran atau pengungsi. Bagi Iman, melihat Indonesia dengan
penduduknya yang banyak namun tetap berjalan dengan baik sangatlah menyenangkan.
Interaksi dan keterlibatan di dalam masyarakat yang kelihatannya tidak sulit, terutama dalam kehidupan sehari-hari,
membuat Iman kagum. Ia jalan-jalan di Jakarta hari pertama setelah tiba di sana dan kagum melihat jalan-jalan
Jakarta. Jakarta sangat berbeda dengan Australia – banyaknya orang, sepeda motor, mobil, dll. Sementara
di Australia terdapat begitu banyak aturan dan peraturan, terutama bagi pengguna jalan, kelihatannya tidak ada
aturan di Indonesia dan toh semuanya berjalan dengan lancar. Kepribadian orang Indonesia berbeda – tidak
ada begitu banyak orang yang agresif di jalan raya!
Apakah Iman mendapatkan jawaban atas pertanyaan-pertanyaannya ketika ia berkeliling Indonesia 18 – 28 Mei?
Tanggal 28 Mei Iman sekali lagi berbicara kepada KGI di Jakarta –
Iman benar-benar kagum dengan masjid-masjid yang ia lihat di Indonesia. Di Surabaya Iman tertegun melihat masjid
terbesar di kota itu, Masjid Al-Akbar, dan sebuah masjid Tiong Hoa, Masjid Cheng Ho, yang ia kunjungi.
Di Masjid Al-Akbar Iman tertarik pada keramik berwarna biru dan hijau berpola geometris dan matematik yang digunakan
di kubah utama dan di tiga kubah cekung lain yang berjejer. Bangunan ini berdiri di tengah-tengah wilayah kota,
dengan sebuah gereja di dekatnya. Hal yang paling mengherankan yang ia lihat adalah sebuah gentong besar yang
dipakai untuk memanggul jemaah untuk bersembahyang di Masjid Al-Akbar. Iman tidak pernah melihat gentong seperti
ini dipakai di Australia. Masjid Tiong Hoa itu, berwarna-warni dengan merah, hijau, kuning dan biru, amat nyata
bagi Iman karena itu menunjukkan dengan jelas bauran budaya di dalam Islam di Indonesia.
KGI bertanya kepada Iman tentang masjid-masjid di Australia. Dalam jawabannya Iman mengatakan bahwa masjid-masjid
di Australia agak tradisional karena dibangun oleh kaum Muslim dari negara lain sehingga masjid-masjid di Australia
sangat mirip dengan masjid-masjid di Turki dan Mesir, misalnya. Ketika berkeliling Indonesia Iman sangat senang
melihat masjid-masjid yang berbeda-beda dan salah satu fitur yang sangat ia sukai adalah struktur bangunannya
yang terbuka – tidak berdinding misalnya. Masjid-masjid itu terbuka dan sinar matahari serta angin segar
berhembus masuk ke dalamnya.
Hussam Elmaghraby, seorang polisi di Australia, tidak sempat mengikuti wawancara pertama dengan KGI, tetapi ia
hadir di Kediaman Dubes Australia pada 28 Mei dan di bawah ini adalah hal-hal yang ia katakan tentang kunjungannya
Salah satu alasan Hassam bergabung dengan Program Pertukaran Muslim adalah untuk melihat sendiri persepsi yang
orang Indonesia miliki tentang praktek agama Islam di Australia dan hubungannya dengan penegakan hukum. Ketika
ia memberitahu anak muda Indonesia bahwa dia adalah seorang polisi, mereka sering bergumam tidak percaya.
Salah saatu pertanyaan yang paling sering ditanyakan ketika grup itu berkeliling Indonesia adalah ini – bagaimana
sekelompok minoritas di Australia bisa menjalankan agama Islam. Ketika kembali ke Indonesia mahasiswa/i Indonesia
yang pernah kuliah di Australia sering berbicara tentang betapa hebat agama Islam di Australia dan khususnya
hubungan antara penegakan hukum dan pemerintah.
KGI bertanya kepada Hassam apakah ada yang membuat ia heran ketika ia di Indonesia. Walaupun tidak heran, Hassam
mengomentari bahwa ia sangat tertarik melihat para siswa yang muda, bersemangat dan enerjik yang ia temui di
madrasah dan pesantren di negeri ini. Ia percaya bahwa siswa-siswa seperti inilah yang akan mengubah stereotipe
yang sering dihubungkan dengan kaum Muslim di Indonesia. Para guru juga, sama seperti banyak siswa mereka, bertanya-tanya
apakah sebenarnya ada banyak orang Muslim di Australia. Dan tentu saja ada.
Samsul Ma'arif Mujiharto - Yogyakarta
How does the Australian government manage the very wide diversity of religions, cultures and languages
in Australia? He is interested in how minority groups handle their situation in Australia society especially
because he is a member of a majority group here in Indonesia –Javanese and Muslim.
I saw the Australian government has been tried to manage multicultural society very well. They have a systematic
umbrella concerning specifically on how to prepare every migrant to deal with Australian society. I could
see this atmosphere soon after my meeting with some minority groups [Muslim groups].
Meeting with them I am impressed that they can live in harmony with the major group. In this case, Indonesian
government should learn from the neighbor. I also found, however, some indigenous people [as the minority]
still did not sufficient with the government services regarding to the war after British arrival to Australia.
I am sure, under a great policy on maintaining multiculturalism, Australia will be a mirror for other countries
whose similar conditions.
Lalu Ahmad Zaenuri is from Mataram
Lalu Ahmad Zaenuri is from Mataram where he is a Lecturer at the Fac.of Dakwah, IAIN Mataram, and PhD candidate
at the State Islamic University (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah. Lalu is actively involved with activities in Pondok
Pesantren Nurul Hakim, Lombok Barat, Mataram. He is also one of committee member of Majelis Dakwah Islamiyah
(MDI) Jakarta, for international relations.
How is the relationship between Muslim and other cultures and religions in Australia? How do they seem to
keep it so peaceful and harmonious?
I am very happy because I am really know your country (Australia) is a multicultural country in the world.
I find there very good relationships between other cultures, ethnics, religion and other backrounds. Some
time, I find my life like in Middle East because my friend come from Arab and I get Arab's food in my dinner
or in lunch. Some time Ifind my life like in Thailand or other Asian country because I meet with them, or
in Africa because I speak with them. I am very very happy Kevin with my experience.
My best experience was when I visit Bremer Chatolic Collage or King Khlalid School in Melbourne. How the school
can build the understanding between other religions to their student. They make many-many activities, example
sport together (foot ball, tennis, etc), study tour to other school (visiting). in my mind, this is the best
method to build multicultural in society. I hope, we can do this experience in Indonesia, especially in Lombok.
We have many Islamic boarding schools in Lombok andwe try to promote this method. For future, we try to visit
other example Islamic school do visit to Hindu's or Christian school. We start from elementry school, and
we get good relationship in future.
I am also hope to Australian goverment and citizen to promote Indonesian Islamic culture, because I know that
media have asserted that Indonesia (Southeast Asian Islam) is undergoing significant change. Increasingly,
Islam in the region is regarded as experiencing a rapid process of radicalization-worse still, the Muslim
in Indonesia is now percieved by some as a potential "hotbed of terrorism" or Islam in Indonesia
was identified with Abu bakar Ba'asyir. This is not true because my self and all friend come to Australia
and bring the truly Islam Indonesia. For this reason I am coming, and this is good opportunity to know them
about Islam and how we build and our goverment multiculturlal between majority and minority in Indonesia.
Thank you - Lalu Ahmad Zaenuri form Lombok (email sent to KGI May 25th)
Laili Nur Faridatus Sholihah - Nahdlatul Ulama in Jakarta
Laili is originally from Jember but has worked in Jakarta for 10 years. Laili is also a part time lecturer
and teacher trainer. Her work with Nahdlatul Ulama is pesatren-based with 9 pilot projects underway in places
such as Jember, Cilicap, Tuban and Pacitan.
Her main task is to educate people in those pesantrens about natural disasters. Many NU community-members
and their leaders think that disasters are given by God. However Laili and her team try to show these communities
that not all disasters come from God and that there is a lot people can do to stop such so called natural
disasters. Flood, fire and more recently dams bursting can actually be prevented. Being aware of their environment
is important – risk management is needed. People can also be educated as to what to do after such a
disaster happens so as to reduce the losses. Changing peoples’ beliefs is not an easy task but special
methodology is available to assist with this huge task.
Laili has just returned from Australia as a participant of the 2009 Muslim Exchange Program. KGI asked Laili
what is so special about the program and her response was that the exchange allows people to meet a wide
variety of people. Laili met with Muslims in Australia along with members of the Jewish, Christian and Catholic
Laili knew Australia was a multi-cultural country before she went but was absolutely amazed by the high level
of that diversity – 200 different countries – and by the fact that there are so many Muslims
in Australia who actively contribute to the development of the country.
Laili Nur Faridatus Sholihah is the Project Officer for the Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (indo
translation) program at Nahdlatul Ulama in Jakarta.
Indonesian Muslim Exchange Participant 2004
Tubagus Erif Faturrahman went to Australia in October 2004. He was a participant in the Muslim Leader Exchange
Program sponsored by the Australia Indonesia Institute (AII). Bagus was born in Banten in 1974 and is now the
Head of International Relations in HMI or the Islamic Students Association based in Jakarta. Why did he join
this exchange program? Bagus was concerned that Australians and Indonesian stereotype each other. This basically
means that they have ideas about each other that are not necessarily true. Some of his ideas about Australia
were quickly dispelled when he visited Australia. Bagus told KGRE in
January 2005 that he was quite surprised what he found out about Aussies.
".... they are very good. Frankly speaking we are very surprised about their lives, about multicultural
Australia. There was bad news in Indonesia that Moslem people in Australia are discriminated against by the
government, by the people in Australia".
Bagus soon found out that this was not correct. Bagus spent a lot of time talking with Aussies including Australian
Muslims. Many of the Muslims he met were Indonesians.They talked about religious life in Indonesia and then
compared Muslim life in Indonesia and Australia. They told him that wearing traditional dress such as a jilbab
is not a problem for the women. Halal food is freely available in most areas. Universities have mosques and
prayer areas. The truth, according to Bagus, is that Australian life is very good and Muslims in Australia
are fully accepted. Bagus and his three colleagues met with many student groups in Australian universities.
The students asked many questions. Australian students wanted to know what Indonesian people thought about
Australia. Bagus responded honestly and said that one third of Indonesian people have some stereotyped ideas
about Australia because they don't really know much about how Australians live. Often they just know the
negative news that they read in newspapers or see on television. Bagus says that is the same for Australians
too. Some Australians don't know the full story about Indonesia because they often do not get the correct
or full story.
Australia Indonesia Muslim Exchange 2007
Do you enjoy meeting people from other places? Perhaps talking about your community and your life — comparing
and learning, right? People meeting with people from other countries and exchanging views and information
is so important too. Deni Wahyudi Kurniawan, from Garut, has been
a Kang Guru-ite for many years. He was lucky enough to visit Australia in 2007 with the Muslim Exchange Program.
He is currently Secretary General of Muhammadiyah Junior Youth Association. He studies at Syarif Hidayatullah
University in Jakarta.
Building strong people to people links is an important goal of the Muslim Exchange program and by meeting
local Aussie Muslims Deni learnt many interesting things. Kang Guru asked Deni about the most common question
he has been asked since returning. He is often asked this question, ‘What rights do Australian Muslims
have compared to other religions’? His answer? It doesn’t matter what people's religious beliefs
are, they have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else and these are strongly upheld by the government.
One other of Deni's observations was the plurality of the Australian Muslim community with people from Africa,
the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
Nazeem Hussain is young, an Aussie, and one of
the five members of the 2007 Muslim Exchange Program who visited Indonesia in 2007. He is a very busy man
back home in Oz. In Australia he is -
- a full time student studying a double degree in Law and Science
- a Director for the Islamic Council of Victoria
- the President of the Islamic Society at his university, and
- a presenter on Salam Café, a weekly television comedy program.
Why did Nazeem join the 2007 Muslim Exchange Program? Nazeem told KGI it was simple: he got to travel to Indonesia,
the largest Muslim country in the world.
And what did he see in Indonesia that amazed him?
While in Indonesia , Nazeem and his co-participants visited Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Sukabumi. In Sukabumi
they witnessed the opening of a new pesantren school constructed with assistance from AusAID's Basic Education
Program. He says it was the nicest thing he has ever done. The young SMP students were so excited and fantastic.
They thought the visiting Aussies were superstars. Nazeem said, ‘The students knew that some Aussies
were coming to visit their school and probably expected us to be white but they were doubly surprised to
see our dark skin AND that we were Muslim too’. Big surprise!
The most interesting thing was to experience Islam being practiced in a moderate fashion and not as hard-lined
as perceptions of Indonesia might indicate in the media in Australia. As for the future, he will no doubt
be a lawyer one day but his interest in Salam Café is quite strong too. This popular television show provides
a look at the lives of ordinary Muslims in Australia showing that they are in fact normal, happy people who are
educated, enjoy things like football and like to crack a joke – it is both a serious and humorous look
at life of Aussie Muslims. Ninety five percent of viewers are non-Muslim, the target audience. In 2006 the television
program won Program of the Year at the Australian Community Television Awards. Café Salam has a website www.salamcafe.com.au Check
the site out and see what it is all about.