The 4th Indonesian-Dutch Interfaith Dialogue

The 4th Indonesian-Dutch Interfaith Dialogue

Towards Inclusive Religious Education in the Netherlands and Indonesia

24-26 August 2016, IAIN Ambon and UKIM

Ambon, Indonesia


Press Release


The Third Indonesian-Dutch Interfaith Dialogue took place in The Hague in September 2015 and was organized by the Indonesian Embassy and the ‘Netherlands-Indonesia Consortium for Muslim-Christian Relations’. It was then decided that the Fourth Dialogue would take place in Indonesia.

This time, not Jakarta or Yogyakarta, the usual places for international conferences, but Ambon was chosen as venue of the Dialogue. Because Ambon is increasingly seen, both at national and international level, as a place to learn how to build peace among different religious groups. It is a laboratorium damai, a laboratorium for peace.

A Dutch delegation of Muslims and Christians, both scholars and practitioners, traveled to Ambon to share their experiences with religious education in the Netherlands and to learn from the experiences on Ambon and Indonesia as a whole. This breaks with traditional relationships between the Netherlands and the Moluccas, where they share a colonial history with relatively strong relations between Dutch Christians and Moluccan Christians.

Dutch interfaith organizations were already introduced to Ambonese peacework in 2012, when Ustadz Abidin Wakano and Reverend Jacky Manuputty visited the Netherlands. As a result Dutch youth got inspired by the Ambonese initiative of ‘Peace Provocators’ and set up a website for Dutch ‘Peace Provocators’.

The Fourth Indonesian-Dutch Interfaith Dialogue will address the question how religious education can contribute to a decrease in tensions and to a rise of tolerance in society. Both in The Netherlands as well as Indonesia, there is a growing tendency to acknowledge that the existing methods of religious education do not support respect, peace and tolerance, thus easily giving rise to fundamentalism and radicalization. Therefore, more and more concerned educators, religious leaders and social activists have started to look for educational methods that could counter the changed social and religious context of society.

Key issues

  • What role does religious education have in strengthening openness to, instead of fear for the other? How to reach the minds and hearts of citizens, especially young citizens?
  • What role do governmental and non-governmental religious education and peace programs play in post-conflict areas. For instance, to what extend did they contribute to more stability and peace among Muslims and Christians, especially in the Moluccas?
  • What other strategies for inclusive religious education, in the Netherlands and Indonesia can be shared and reflected upon? How to generate broader knowledge of Modules on Inclusive Religious Education. How can we include live narratives and everyday lived religion in the teaching of religion. How can we cooperate more effectively in the future to enhance religious literacy in both countries?

On the first day of the conference, words of welcome and support are expressed by Prof. Dr. Frans Wijssen (Radboud University), Dr. Zainal Abidin Bagir (UGM/CRCS), Dr. Ismail Rumadah (IAIN Ambon), Dr. Cornelis Adolf Alyona (UKIM), Dr. Said Assagaf (Governor Mollucas), Prof. Dr. Amsal Bakhtiar (Ministry of Religious Affairs), H.E. Niniek Kun Haryati (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and Mrs. Tess van der Zee (Dutch Embassy).


The Consortium is a non-governmental network of universities and civil society organizations in the Netherlands and Indonesia and was established in 2010. The participants in the Consortium, consisting of Muslim and Christian scholars, religious leaders and practitioners from Indonesia and the Netherlands, partner to generate practice-oriented knowledge using dialogical methods. Institutes involved in the Consortium are among others: CMO, IAIN Ambon, Interfidei, MTB, JPIT, Lembaga Mosintuwu, Oase, Persetia, PGI, PKN/Kerk in Actie, Platform INS, PThU, RUN-NIM / RUN-SWIR, SEJUK, STT-Jakarta, UGM/CRCS, UIN Sunan Kalijaga, UKAW, UKDW, UKIM, dan VU/CIT


Contact persons: June Beckx, Jakarta ( and Corrie van der Ven, Utrecht (