MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, JAKARTA – Two Australian Muslims expressed optimism about the opportunities for Muhammadiyah and Indonesia to play a more prominent role globally.
Lukas Hainsworth and Latifa Hamdan, both participants in the 2023 Australian-Indonesian Muslim Exchange Program (AIMEP), visited the Muhammadiyah Central Board office in Jakarta on Friday, September 22.
Hainsworth said that Muhammadiyah has a well-established system in Indonesia and overseas. He pointed to the establishment and growth of Muhammadiyah Australia College (MAC), a Muhammadiyah primary school in Melton, Victoria.
“We are trying to find Australians to be Muhammadiyah members, so they are not only Indonesians who live in Australia but also Australian people. We would like to find foreigners to join Muhammadiyah,” said Hainsworth.
Hainsworth also said that Muhammadiyah’s humanitarian work in health, education, and social services could help the organization gain a global following.
Furthermore, Hamdan said that both Muhammadiyah and Indonesia have the potential to be more vocal on the regional and global stage. She said that the AIMEP program helped to dispel stereotypes about Islam and Indonesia among foreigners.
“I think there are a lot of positive things that we need to do including providing new proper insights of Islam and Indonesia to Australians. I think Indonesia is unique with its diverse society that accepts everyone,” said Hamdan.
Hamdan said that her understanding of the ideal relationship between majority and minority groups in Indonesia has grown through the AIMEP program.
“It is so beautiful to see that we can learn a lot from Indonesian culture because Indonesian people are the majority of Muslims. I see so many relationships, appreciation, and respect among different religions, especially people from different backgrounds,” said Hamdan.
The AIMEP program is a joint initiative of the Muhammadiyah Australia-Indonesia Community (MAICO) and the Australian-Indonesia Institute (AII). The program promotes understanding and cooperation between Muslims in Australia and Indonesia.