International Jesuit group learns about Indonesian Islam

Study trip seeks to find out more about how Indonesian Muslims live in a secular society
International Jesuit group learns about Indonesian Islam

Jesuit priests at Tebuireng Islamic boarding school in East Java. (Photo supplied by Jesuit Father Ignatius Ismartono)

August 15, 2017
Twelve Jesuit priests from various countries recently gathered for a study program to learn more about Islam, diversity and interreligious tolerance in Indonesia.

The priests from Germany, France, Nigeria, Turkey, India, Spain, Italy and Indonesia held a series of meetings on Aug. 10 at Tebuireng Islamic Boarding School in Jombang, East Java.

"The gathering is part of regular meetings among priest who join the Jesuits Among Muslims (JAM) program and this year Indonesia is the host," Jesuit Father Franz Magnis Suseno, who led the group said.

Abdul Ghofar, the boarding school secretary said the Jesuits talked with students at the school to learn more about their life experiences and what their faith means to them.

Jesuit Father Ignatius Ismartono, one of the group members, said that through this encounter, participants also learned about Nahdlatul Ulema, Indonesia’s largest moderate Islamic organization.

"We study about how Nahdlatul Ulema goes about living in harmony with others who are non-believers," he told

The Tebuireng Islamic School was founded in 1899 by Hasyim Asya’ri, a moderate Muslim leader belonging to the Nahdlatul Ulema. 

The school has more than 7,000 students.

After the visit, the priests visited the grave of Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur, Indonesia’s fourth president, and a former NU leader.

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