Semarang (ANTARA) - Minister of Religion Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has stressed the importance of an inclusive practice of religious values to respond to humanitarian crises occurring in various parts of the world.

"It must be realized that in facing humanitarian crises there needs to be a serious effort to reconceptualize the role of religion to make it more inclusive, responsive and progressive," he said here on Saturday (February 4) evening.

He made the statement when closing the 23rd Annual International Conference on Islamic Studies (AICIS) in 2024 which was organized by the Walisongo State Islamic University (UIN) in Semarang, the capital of Central Java province.

The minister emphasized that religion actually not only functions as a source of spiritual calm, but also as a driver of positive change in society.

Therefore, he asked Islamic religious universities (PTKI) to provide humanist studies based on the results of reliable research on Islam.

In order to show the contribution of religion in responding to humanitarian crises, Cholil noted a number of important things that PTKI academics need to understand, with the first is the need to understand the role of religion in humanitarian crises.

"Religion is not only about personal beliefs, but also about how these beliefs make a real contribution to overcoming the humanitarian crisis," he said.

"The humanitarian message has now resonated from Indonesia and Southeast Asia to the world amidst sorrow over the humanitarian crisis occurring in Eastern Europe and the Middle East," he said.

The second point emphasizes, according to him, the importance of understanding religious teachings as a source of shared humanitarian movements. Real movements translate religious values into action, and this necessitates a holistic approach that combines spiritual values with the practical needs of the affected communities.

"Concrete efforts in responding to humanitarian crises that can be carried out include mobilizing religious resources, promoting interfaith collaboration for peace, and advocating for peace, justice and human rights," he said.

Qoumas also underlined the importance of religious moderation as capital to make real contributions, as the Ministry of Religion has continued to do in recent years.

"We hope that strengthening religious moderation can be Indonesia's contribution to answering contemporary problems and maintaining world peace. With the existing complexity, it is appropriate for Indonesia to become a laboratory for Islamic studies as well as religious studies," he said.

The 23rd AICIS was held on 1-4 February 2024 by the Ministry of Religion as an event to bring together hundreds of international Muslim intellectuals to formulate solutions to various global humanitarian problems.

This year, AICIS raised the theme "Redefining the Roles of Religion in Addressing Human Crisis: Encountering Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Issues" to achieve peace, justice and mutual respect between people.

AICIS was attended by the rectors of state Islamic religious universities (PTKIN) and private Islamic religious universities (PTKIS) throughout Indonesia, religious leaders, and hundreds of international Islamic academics.

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Translator: Zuhdiar Laeis, Katriana
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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