REPUBLIKA.CO.ID. — Minister of Education and Culture, M Nuh explained his opinion about the importance of cultural preservation in Islamic development. Indonesia and other Islamic countries have committed to instill culture for Islamic development.“The culture plays an important role to balance social, economic, national and religious life. Without culture, Indonesian people who have so many diversities cannot keep living in harmony and peace. A culture can be a connector in the differences,” Nuh expressed at a special conference of cultural ministers of Islamic countries in Medina, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday, 22/1/14.
Indonesia has some experiences of using culture as unifying tool. Indonesia also has a tradition of dialogue and cooperation in community life. Religious organizations and also community leaders are working together in terms of culture and religion.
Nuh said that local wisdom in Indonesia was used to spread Islam such as described by the story of Sunan Kalijaga, member of Walisongo, a wise man who brought Islam initially to Java in 15th century. He introduced Islamic symbols using puppets, local cultural traditions to expand Islamic teachings.
“Kalijaga put Islamic value to people in Java through puppet art,” Nuh said.
That was why people who did not embrace Islam at that time felt comfortable with his proselytizing. People gladly accepted Islam sincerely, without fight.