Indonesia deserved to become a reference as it had the largest Muslim population in the world and was the world's third-largest democracy, he said.
Since Islam entered Indonesia in the eighth century, the development of Islam here was very rapid and was well received by native Indonesians.
"Islam entered Indonesia by peaceful means through trade activities and social relations between people. This condition made the development of Islam a part of the social and cultural relationships in Indonesia," the Vice President said.
The entire wealth and experience of Islamic travel in Indonesia contributed to the unity and integrity of the nation and made Indonesia a democratic country with the largest Muslim population in the world, he stated.
"With this fact, Indonesia deserves to be a reference to moderate Islam in the world," the Vice President remarked.
To make Indonesia a reference in studying the Islamic civilization, there is a need for a quality research and science center.
Related news: Prabowo Subianto believes most Indonesian Muslims remain moderate
One of the forms of the research and science center was the establishment of a leading Islamic tertiary institution namely the International Islamic University of Indonesia (UIII) which has international quality with a global reputation, he said.
"We hope the UIII will be at the forefront in Islamic studies in general and become the center for world studies in the field of Indonesian Islamic studies," he said.
The UIII is also expected to become the center of the spread of Islamic culture and civilization which is modern and tolerant.
Islamic studies at UIII can combine two forms of Islamic studies, namely the mastery of Islamic religious sciences or normative studies and research on society or empirical studies, Ma'ruf hoped.
Related news: Indonesia, Senegal agree to promote moderate Islam
"The UIII is also expected to become an ambassador to promote Indonesia as a reference, compatibility of Islam and democracy as well as world reference in the realization of Islam which is a blessing for the universe," he remarked.
The UIII graduates are expected to be experts, scientists, and prominent Muslim scholars who are moderate, democratic, humanist and global-minded.
"Through this Expert Council meeting, we want to test the concept and the entire process in developing the vision, curriculum, governance and human resources regarding the establishment of the UIII. I hope that the experts and scholars can provide the input to enrich references for the UIII’s development in the future," he said.
The Vice President expressed his gratitude to all those who had helped to realize the establishment of the UIII.
All parties must work hard to complete various infrastructure developments and develop software, particularly refining the curriculum, governance and various supporting devices, he added.
Related news: Indonesia hails Saudi Crown Prince's message to promote moderate Islam