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Noted US cleric visit Islamic boarding schools in Lombok MATARAM, WEST NUSA TENGGARA - Noted cleric from Baltimore, the US, Muhammad Bashar Arafat, is in Lombok, in West Nusa Tenggara province to visit a number of Islamic boarding schools to inform about Islam development in his country.

"Besides this school there are other schools that he will also visit during his two and a half days in Lombok," US Surabaya consulate general public relations officer Emily Yasmin Norris said after a dialog meeting at Darul Falah boarding school in Pagutan, Mataram, on Saturday.

The US Surabaya consulate general has facilitated his visit to Lombok and Sumbawan islands from Saturday to Wednesday, which will be followed by a visit to Solo, Central Java, and other cities in Indonesia.

While in West Nusa Tenggara Arafat who is the founder and chief of the Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (CECF) is flanked by the director of information center of the consulate, Christian Natamado Simanullang.

The visit to Lombok was opened with a dialog meeting with board members of the Mataram chapter of the Nahdlatul Ulama organization at Darul Falah.

It was then followed by visits to several boarding schools and a meeting with alumni of the ACCESS English course program managed by the US government in cooperation with the Indonesian government.

"After that we will go to Sumbawa to among others visit the state Islamic Senior High 1 in Bima in connection with the ACCESS program," Emily said. In the dialog at Darul Falah Arafat had told about the development of Islam in the US.

He said US citizens` view on Islam in Indonesia varied including negative view on terrorism and positive view on unifying Islam in Indonesia.

"However more view towards Indonesia is positive. Every year even there are always US citizens converting to Islam. Many people from Asia such as Indonesia, Malaysia and others have come to the US but not many of them come there for the purpose of propagating Islam," he said.

Arafat called on Moslems in Indonesia including those in Lombok to hold a positive view on US citizens so that cooperation can be built in various sectors in the future. US ulemas, he said. have kept striving to convince US citizens that the negative view on Islam that some of them have held are against the reality.

He said his visit was part of US ulemas` commitment to creating a positive view on Islam in Indonesia and of Indonesian Moslems on the US.

"How good it would be if Moslems in Indonesia could also prove that besides propagation and other religious activities other activities for the development of the country and regions are also being continuously carried out," he said.

Arafat compared his visit with the meeting between the Pakistani president and US ulemas who were invited to Pakistan sometime ago with regard to his country`s view on Islam in that country.

In the dialog the Pakistani president showed that the existence of mosques reflected the Islamic progress in that country but US ulemas still view that Pakistan has not yet progressed because they did not see factories or industries near the mosques.

"Certainly progress in the religious field could be integrated with technological progress and it is also said in the Koran and taught by previous ulemas. Indonesia could also do it," he said.


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Related blog entries (category 'Religion') Tags: scholar, islamic, US, visit, Lombok, pesantren


Posted in Religion @ 14 July 2012 18:43 CET by Blog Bot · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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