Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia will host the 23rd Annual International Conference on Islamic Studies (AICIS) from February 1 to 4, highlighting the role of religions in helping people overcome humanitarian challenges, an official said on Monday.

"This year's AICIS will be held to redefine the role of religions, especially Islam, in guiding humans to deal with contemporary humanitarian challenges at the global level," said Wibowo Prasetyo, a special staff member of the Minister of Religious Affairs.

The conference in Semarang, Central Java, will coincide with the International Day of Human Fraternity on February 4, established by the United Nations in 2020, he noted.

Prasetyo said that the designation of the international day was inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmed Al Tayeb, and Pope Francis on February 4, 2019.

The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity was instituted following the signing of the document, with Indonesia's largest Islamic organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, among the recipients of the award this year, he added.

Prasetyo said that the 23rd AICIS will bring international academics, researchers, and religious figures together to discuss various issues, such as religion, nationalism, nationality in Southeast Asia, human rights, gender, and minority groups.

"The conference will touch upon religions' role in solidifying nationalism, ways to respond to justice and equality crises, gender issues, people's welfare, and also climate change," he said.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zainul Hamdi, the director of Islamic universities at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, said that the plan to hold this year's AICIS has been well received by the international community.

He said that the organizing committee has received a total of 1,957 academic papers from 11 countries, including Afghanistan, Armenia, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, and Morocco.

"This number sets a new record for AICIS," he said.

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Translator: Asep F, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Anton Santoso
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