Experts discuss Islam on the spice route

Ciputat, UIN News Online— Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta hosted an international expert meeting titled “Spicy Islam and Material Culture Across the Indian Ocean.” The event took place at the Bustami Abdul Ghani Theater, Faculty of Adab and Humanities, UIN Jakarta, from Monday to Tuesday (23-24/10/2023).

This meeting of experts reveals how trade between India and Southeast Asia, particularly on the spice route, has intensified since the 15th century. “We see how population movements between these two regions impact the ideas and material characteristics of Islam,” said Jajat Burhanudin, one of the organizers of the expert meeting.

Different from general conferences, this event uses an expert meeting format, allowing for more focused and in-depth discussions. “We want to explore multidirectional Muslim migration, not just from India to Indonesia,” said Mahmood Kooria of Leiden University, Netherlands.

There are different interesting themes that will be examined by experts. Most of them are historians and archaeologists, so many discussions attempt to examine the historical roots of material culture in the Indian Ocean region.

For example, several experts discussed the history of nutritious spiced drinks, spicy coffee and hybrid foods from a mixture of Tidore and Iberian cultures.

Apart from that, this expert meeting also shows how the traditions of the Indian Ocean region intersect. To name a few, several experts discussed burial traditions, the Quran Qiraatul, and the tradition of purification in Islam. Several others discussed commercial networks and intellectual networks in the Ocean region.

This conference brought together 28 speakers from seven countries, including Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Turkey, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The number of participants is estimated at 300 participants, offline and online. “In this time of pandemic, we are using technology to reach a wider audience,” said Mahmood Kooria of Leiden University, Netherlands, one of the conference speakers and moderators.

This meeting is also designed to provide an interactive experience for participants. In addition to the discussion sessions, coffee breaks and gala dinners with Indian Ocean accents are also offered. “It is a good platform to interact and network with experts from various fields,” said Mahmood Kooria.

Apart from this, this meeting will also produce a book and a special edition of a journal in the form of a scientific publication. “At the end of the activity, we will also publish a policy brief which will be distributed to different media,” added Mahmood Kooria.

With a variety of topics and speakers, this meeting is expected to make an important contribution to the understanding and rapprochement of the Islamic world in India and Southeast Asia, particularly in the context of the spice route and culture material. (Tati R/FNH)

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