Muhammadiyah, one of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organizations, is officially holding its 47th congress in Makassar, South Sulawesi, this week. President Joko Widodo and several ministers, as well as ambassadors from neighbouring countries, attended the opening ceremony at Karebosi field on Monday, August 3.
Indonesia is the world's largest nation with a Muslim-dominated population. In recent years, the government has actively promoted the idea of a modern and moderate Islam amid the rise of extremist religious movements in the region and other parts of the world.
Muhammadiyah is an influential Islamic organization in Indonesia which claims to have a membership of 55 million aside from owning thousands of schools, clinics, and hospitals across the country. It has partnered with the government in endorsing Indonesia as the voice of moderate Islam.
No fewer than 6,000 people are participating in this year's congress, in addition to another 300,000 cheerleaders who aren't formally registered as participants, but will nonetheless enliven the event.
In addition, the chairmen of Muhammadiyah's special branches—present in 16 countries—will also be attending, along with several sister organizations who chose the name Muhammadiyah. While these sibling organizations don't have the same structural organizational relationship Muhammadiyah has in Indonesia, they do develop the same religious ideas, the same strategy of struggle, and even the same logo. The branches include representation in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Mauritius. Guests of the Community of Sant’Egidio, the organization's Catholic community (based on Rome) also attended.
The event is held concurrently with the congress of First Century of Aisyiyah—a women's organization of Muhammadiyah—and will take place over five days.
With a large population and abundant resources, Muhammadiyah has pledged to encourage Indonesia to emerge as a key player in the world. That promise was made by Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Muhammadiyah.
The theme of the congress is the “propagation of enlightenment towards Indonesia progression”. Muhammadiyah wants to establish Indonesia as a country that is also founded by Muhammadiyah, which bound together communities even before the country was born.
— #Muktamar47 (@muhammadiyah) August 1, 2015
Participants of Muhammadiyah’s Counseling Meeting
The congress ends today, August 7, with a closing ceremony attended by Indonesian vice president HE Jusuf Kalla.