China – The Chairman of MajelisUlama Indonesia (MUI) who was also the General Chairman of Muhammadiyah Central Executive, Professor Dr. M. Din Syamsuddin led DelegasiTokoh Islam Indonesia to China Republic on October 28 to November 3, 2014. This year visit was the direct invitation of China Islamic Association (CIA) with the support of China Republic’s Ministry of Religious Affairs. The group consisted of SlametEffendy Yusuf (the Chairman of MUI/the Chairman of PBNU), Anwar Abbas (the Chairman ofMUI/Treasurer ofMuhammadiyah Central Executive), BasriBermanda (the Chairman of MUI/the Chairman ofCentral Executive ofTarbiyahIslamiyah), MuhyidinJunaidi (the Chairman of MUI/Vice Chairman ofLembagaHublu PP Muhammadiyah), NatsirZubaidi (Vice General Secretary of MUI/Council of Masjid Indonesia), andAmanyLubis (Vice General Secretary of MUI/Professor of UIN Jakarta). PaimanMak, the Chairman of Indonesian Association for Religion and Culture/IARC, also accompanied the group.
The group visited Xi-an, the capital of Shangxi Province. The city had a more than thousand years mosque and other mosques, which was previously visited by Admiral Chengho before he continued his the fourth peace mission travel to Arab 600 years ago. In Xi-an, the group met and had discussion with the Imam of Masjid Xi-an and other local Muslim leaders on improving cooperation between Indonesian Muslims and Chinese Muslims, especially in Shangxi Province.
After two days of staying in Xi-an, the group continued visiting Beijing, the capital of China Republic. In this city, the group was greeted by Mr. Wang Zhen Wei, the Chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) or it could be considered like the Assembly of People in Indonesia. On the meeting, both parties talked about the dynamics in Eastern Asia and the rise of China Republic and the role of religion, especially Islam. Din stated that in the event of commemorating the rise of Asia as the development area of new century, China and Indonesia needed to have more cooperation in all sectors, in economy/trade, culture, and religious context. Further, Din suggested that the cooperation should not be limited between Governments to Governments (G to G), but also between people to people (P to P). Related to this, Din who was also the President of Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (ACRP), believed that cooperation between people, especially Muslims, in both countries should be encouraged to further push the development of civilization in the region, so that it would not stuck in materialism and secularism. To the leader who was also the member of Politbiro of political party ruling in China Republic, Din Syamsuddin offered scholarship for Chinese Muslim students to study in Muhammadiyah Universities in Indonesia.
In the meeting with the Leaders of China Islamic Association and Ministry of Religious Affairs of China Republic, they talked about improving cooperation and ratified simultaneous activities in knowledge and science (in the form of seminar), arts and culture, and expo on halal certified products.
There was an interesting thing both in Xi-an and Beijing that there were countless of Muslim/halal restaurants and they were not small ones, even, some were big. These restaurants were filled with Islamic symbols including Arabic calligraphy in the front side and inside the restaurant. Even, in certain regions in both cities the restaurants were filled with costumers, even with long queue. Even more, on the road around the mosques there were usually stalls and kiosks selling foods, beverages, goods, and souvenirs with Islamic symbols on them. #mc