Maarif is one of Indonesia’s most famous scholars whose political comments regularly attract significant attention. This former president (1998-2005) of
the Muhammadiyah organisation is actively involved in interfaith and peace movements both domestically and internationally, largely through his Maarif Institute for Culture and Humanity. In 2008 he won the prestigious Magsaysay Award for guiding Muslims to embrace tolerance and pluralism. He was also recognised for his role in promoting interfaith dialogue and religious harmony at the Habibie Awards. Maarif is also a professor of history at the National University of Yogyakarta and a productive author and columnist.