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Jakarta Post

Oman launches new initiative ‘Towards United Human Values’

  • Inforial

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta, Indonesia   /   Mon, November 18, 2019   /   05:48 am
Oman launches new initiative ‘Towards United Human Values’ United in tolerance: Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman H.H. Al Sayyid Nazar Al Julanda Bin Majid Al Said (center) and advisor to Oman's Endowments and Religious Affairs Minister Dr. Mohammed Said Al-Mamari (center left, in white robe) pose with participants of an international conference on tolerance in Jakarta on Saturday. (Photos courtesy of Embassy of Oman/.)

The Sultanate of Oman, a dynamic country in the Middle East, launched a major initiative “Towards United Human Values” to promote religious tolerance, mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence in Jakarta on Saturday.

Oman's Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al SalmiOman's Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Salmi (./.)

The initiative, which is also known as the Sultan Qaboos Declaration Project on United Human Values, was launched by Oman’s Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Salmi at a celebration to mark the International Day for Tolerance in Jakarta.

Oman’s Sultan His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said issued royal directives to spread the concepts of mutual understanding, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence to foster human relations through this new initiative around the world.

With a population of around 5 million, Oman – which always punches above its weight when it comes to global issues -- is an ideal place for mutual understanding, peace and tolerance. The Muslim-majority Sultanate has a multicultural society in which people from all religions and cultures live in harmony.  

 “It is strategically well-placed to spearhead a new national drive for religious understanding. Geographically, Oman’s near neighbors include both Sunni and Shiite heartland. It is a short route to the world’s largest democracy and has historical trading roots that link the world’s most populous countries. For thousands of years, Omanis have traded in peace with other cultures,” said advisor to Oman’s Endowment and Religious Affairs Minister Dr. Mohammed Said Al-Mamari.  

The Oman initiative is very timely given the present turmoil in the world, which emanated from hatred, terrorism and misinterpretation of teachings of various religions.

Oman’s initiative calls for transcendence over rhetoric by proposing a method of action for a balanced life, in which people live on the basis of dignity, fundamental rights and psychological security. Oman’s Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs says there are three steps to reach this strategic target.

“The first step  in rebalancing interests (different and confrontational between human beings) is to achieve a universal agreement on the goals to improve people’s lives; to achieve a basic level of dignity and rights, and to preserve human cohesion against annihilation and extinction.

The second step is to adopt a global system of ethics which promotes mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence, and to motivate people to unite in their efforts toward the protection of the environment. Religious, cultural and ideological differences do not prevent and are not an obstacle to our ability to share common ground and values.

The third step focuses on the need to instill or revive spiritual values in mankind and reconcile them with the evolution of reason”.

The main focus of these three steps will be on a human civilizational trilogy to achieve peaceful coexistence and acceptance among human beings, represented by the intellect, justice and morality.

The ministry says the intellect is all about honoring human beings, which calls on people to respect their mutual humanity and reject all forms of discrimination, extremism, violence and hatred.

Justice is about the balancing of basic human rights in soul, society and living and benefiting from it.

As far as ethics is concerned, it is the sum of human values, especially those of spiritual and philosophical dimension.

According to the ministry, these three directives diverge from the natural classifications and differences between people such as religion, language and culture. But the focus is on the united values, which formed the core of the Oman initiative. 

Exchanging ideas: Swami Chidakashananda from Sri Lanka (second right) talks to participants representing other faiths during the international conference on tolerance on Saturday.Exchanging ideas: Swami Chidakashananda from Sri Lanka (second right) talks to participants representing other faiths during the international conference on tolerance on Saturday. (./.)

There is an urgent need for tolerance in our world. The Oman initiative helps to promote tolerance and achieve peace.

In 1995, the United Nations General Assembly, through its Resolution No. 51/95, asked all UN member states to observe the International Day of Tolerance every Nov. 16.

Why Indonesia?

Indonesia, home to the world’s biggest Muslim population, is well known as a land of tolerance.

“Indonesia is the land of Pancasila. That is why we chose Indonesia to launch the Oman initiative and celebrate the International Day of Tolerance in Jakarta,” says Ambassador of Oman to Indonesia H.H. Al Sayyid Nazar Al Julanda Bin Majid Al Said.

Pancasila is Indonesia’s state ideology based on five important principles. The five principles are faith in God, humanity, unity, democracy and social justice. Further, Pancasila embraces diversity and plurality of ethnicity, culture and faith.  

Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University rector Prof. Dr. Hj. Amany Lubis said Indonesians should not be discouraged by the recent instances of intergroup conflicts that had surfaced in the country.

She added that these cases did not necessarily signify a decline in Indonesia’s tolerance level.

“On a global level, we can safely say that many other countries still look toward Indonesia as a beacon of [intergroup] tolerance, as a model society whose principles they use to apply peaceful coexistence in their own countries […] because our tolerance has been rooted deeply in our culture as well as our conscience,” she told kompas.com on the sidelines of the event.

During Saturday’s celebration, Oman’s stamp for the International Day for Tolerance and the new initiative “Towards United Human Values” was launched. A number of commemorative stamps were also released.

The celebration was followed by a panel discussion and a roundtable discussion about Oman’s initiative. The event was attended by Mohamed Elsanousi from the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, foreign ambassadors, Oman’s State Council members Isma’eel Al Aghbari, Hatim and Hatim Al-Taie as well as representatives from all major religions from several countries.

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A message from H.H. Al Sayyid Nazar Al Julanda Bin Majid Al Said, Ambassador of Oman to Indonesia, on the occasion of Oman’s National Day

H.H. Ambassador Al Sayyid Nazar Al Julanda Bin Majid Al SaidH.H. Ambassador Al Sayyid Nazar Al Julanda Bin Majid Al Said (./.)

In this utopian moment of Nov. 18, 2019, which coincides with the National Day of the Sultanate of Oman, and as an Ambassador of Oman to the Republic of Indonesia, I have the honor to first of all send a cable of greeting to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said and the people of Oman on this great day for Oman.

 Being an ambassador in Indonesia, representing my country for almost six years and having traveled in Indonesia from Aceh to Manado and from Kalimantan to Raja Ampat in Papua, I have learned a lot and I have tried every means to elevate and to strengthen the brotherly relationship between our two countries. During my tenure I have had the great honor to meet with the Indonesian people, officials and businessmen and they have fully supported my mission in Indonesia. The same is applicable to the entire Indonesian delegation that had visited Oman and our brothers, the Indonesian ambassadors, in Muscat. We always work closely to enhance the relationship between our two countries.

One of the great things between Oman and Indonesia is that both countries go parallel in all political issues and they support each other in the international arena. This is a blessing for me as I have not had to concentrate only on the political matters and it has provided me more freedom to look into other aspects like cultural, social and economic matters, which still need to be focused in our relationship.

 In Jakarta, an exhibition from Oman titled “Tolerance, Understanding, Coexistence: Oman’s Message of Islam” is being organized at Indonesia’s National Library in Jakarta from Nov. 14 to 18, 2019, coinciding with the celebration of the International Day for Tolerance.

 The exhibition, which was organized in 38 countries and 130 cities around the world, came to Jakarta for the first time with an intention to showcase Oman’s religious tolerance, intercultural understanding as well as Oman’s Message of Islam.

I would like to thank the government of Indonesia, especially the Foreign Ministry and Indonesia’s National Library, for supporting us in making this important event a great success.

I wish that the relationship between Oman and Indonesia will be more prosperous in the future. We also want close cooperation and good results in the economic and business areas.

I encourage the Indonesian people to spare some time and visit Oman, taking into account that the Indonesian people are welcome in Oman, where they could have a visa on arrival facility in Muscat, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and they will be welcomed by Oman and all Omani people as brothers and sisters. One of the good things is that Oman Air, our national carrier, is connecting Indonesia through Muscat to so many destinations all around the world. Oman Air is classified as one of the top airlines in their service and their handling of air passengers. Furthermore, our new Jewel Muscat Airport is one of the top 20 most beautiful airports in the world, so please do not hesitate to visit. Selamat datang ke Oman (Welcome to Oman) and you will have our best treatment. Terima kasih banyak Indonesia (Thank you very much Indonesia).

It's official: Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman H.H. Al Sayyid Nazar Al Julanda Bin Majid Al Said (from right), the Indonesian President's Special Envoy to the Middle East Prof. Dr. Alwi Shihab and advisor to Oman's Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs Dr. Mohammed Said Al-Mamari pose together for a photograph recently during the opening of Oman's Message of Islam exhibition.It's official: Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman H.H. Al Sayyid Nazar Al Julanda Bin Majid Al Said (from right), the Indonesian President's Special Envoy to the Middle East Prof. Dr. Alwi Shihab and advisor to Oman's Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs Dr. Mohammed Said Al-Mamari pose together for a photograph recently during the opening of Oman's Message of Islam exhibition. (./.)

***

Exhibition spreads Oman's Message of Islam

To mark the International Day of Tolerance, observed annually on Nov. 16, the Sultanate of Oman, in cooperation with Indonesia’s National Library and the government of Indonesia, inaugurated an exhibition themed “Tolerance, Understanding, Coexistence: Oman’s Message of Islam” in Jakarta on Nov. 14.

The exhibition, which showcases Oman’s inclusive Islamic society, will be open until Monday (Nov.18). It is a great opportunity to promote Oman, which celebrates its 49th National Day on Nov.18, in Indonesia. 

The exhibition, part of a global project, was launched in 2010. Before coming to Jakarta, the expo traveled to 37 countries and 130 cities. In the coming years, the expo will travel to more countries as there is a lot of interest in the expo from several countries.

The exhibition was opened by Omani Ambassador to Indonesia H.H. Nazar bin Al Julanda bin Majid Al Said, adviser to Oman’s Endowments and Religious Affairs Minister and director of global project Tolerance, Understanding, Coexistence: Oman’s Message of Islam Dr. Mohammed Said Al-Mamari as well as the Indonesian President's Special Envoy for the Middle East Prof. Dr. Alwi Shihab with a ceremony in the library’s auditorium.

According to Al-Mamari, the initiative seeks to spread global intercultural understanding using the experience of Oman as a standard bearer of the message calling for mutual acceptance.

“Whenever people find out I am from Oman, [they have asked me]: why don’t we hear much about Oman in the news or social media?” said Mohammed, who had studied in the United Kingdom and Germany and traveled to 60 countries to promote peace and tolerance.

He said that upon contemplating that question, he concluded that Oman could contribute a great deal to the global peace building discourse, drawing from the country’s own long historical experience.

The wonder of calligraphy: People request an Omani calligrapher (left) to inscribe their names in Arabic letters during Oman's Message of Islam exhibition.The wonder of calligraphy: People request an Omani calligrapher (left) to inscribe their names in Arabic letters during Oman's Message of Islam exhibition. (./.)

The exhibition, which consists of Islamic-inspired artwork, calligraphy and a live sand art performance, attracted thousands of Indonesians. It also features two dozen panels that offer details on Omani life, ranging from Islam’s introduction to the country, women’s role in politics and education, to societal traditions such as funeral customs and birth rites.

The showcase also displays a coloring book for young children on world religions, published as part of Oman’s #actfortolerance initiative seeking to inculcate an acceptance of diversity among children from an early age.

According to Omani Ambassador Al Said, the country had chosen to organize the exhibition in Jakarta because Oman has an affinity with Indonesia’s inclusive model of Islam, which houses the biggest Muslim population in the world and is well known globally as a tolerant country.

“Indonesia is the land of Pancasila [five principles], a diverse yet united country. Alhamdulillah [thank God] we also hold the same values. We have also spread the message of peace throughout our history,” said  Al Said.

He added that the Oman and Indonesia had thousands of years of trade contacts. In the past, Omani traders entered Indonesia for trade and Indonesian pilgrims traveled through Oman by sea to go on haj in Saudi Arabia.

He explained that during these encounters, Indonesian and Omani Muslims exchanged not just traded goods but also a culture of tolerance. He thanked the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and National Library for supporting the initiative.

Alwi, meanwhile, said Indonesians could learn many things from Oman on religious tolerance, including the idea of striving to find similarities among different religious practices, something also taught in Islam.