Addressing the issue of Islamic radicalism in Payakumbuh

Addressing the issue of Islamic radicalism in Payakumbuh


Addressing the issue of Islamic radicalism in Payakumbuh

From May 26-27, 2015 around 120 persons among them Fr. Valentin SHUKURU B., SX participated in the Interactive Dialogue that gathered together the local government, the leaders of community organizations, the religious and traditional leaders, academics and civil society activists of the city of Payakumbuh. The government was represented by Payakumbuh vice-mayor, Drs. H. Suwandel MUKHTAR, MM.

The aim of the initiative was twofold: to address the issue of the ISL and Shiite radicalism in the city of Payakumbuh and to increase unity through interfaith tolerance and harmony.

In his talk, Prof. Dr. H. Yaswirman, MA, lecturer at Andalas University, said that as a predominantly Muslim country, Indonesia is known to have a high level of religious harmony if compared to other countries. And yet religious radicalism has also appeared in Indonesia and is likely to become a global issue. This radicalism seems to be destabilizing religious harmony in Indonesia with the rise and the spread of Islamic fundamentalist and radical movements all over Indonesia such as the Front Pembela Islam (FPI), Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI), Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) and Laskar Jihad (LJ).

Prof. Yaswirman said that although social and economic factors contribute to the emergence of radical movements, but it is undeniable that the main cause lies in religion because members of these radical groups often use religious texts as a justification for their actions.

These radical religious movements which sometimes operate and develop underground affect young people today. This usually happens in public schools where religious doctrine and teaching are a bit weak and crude. Teachers incorporate radical ideologies to advanced high school students who still have a shallow understanding of Islam. It is also due to a partial quote or understanding of some verses of the al-Qur'an. Most children who become radical in their thinking are students of public schools easily influenced by a literal and instant understanding of the religion. They are easily influenced by reading books on radical Islam.

The local government, Prof. Yaswirman, and Mr. H. Mismardi, BA the head of Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), acknowledged that the ISL ideology has already begun to influence some Muslims in Indonesia. There are several factors that contribute to making Indonesia a target and a good terrain for the development of ISL and other radical groups: first, Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, second, there are already many radical movements in Indonesia; and finally some Indonesian citizens are suspected of joining ISL in Syria and Iraq, and they can be dangerous if they were to return home.

In conclusion, the guest speakers and the head of the police and security department said that as from now ISL cannot develop in Payakumbuh, nevertheless we need to be vigilant and keep watch because ISL and the other radical groups can recruit their fighters in Payakumbuh. Concerning the Shiites, it was pointed out that they cannot be labeled as heretics or radical groups but there also vigilance is needed as they continue to deny of the teachings of Sunni Islam which is predominantly practiced in Indonesia. Shiites are growing in Iran today and study centers known as Iran Corners are widely established in various universities in Indonesia. Shiites send a lot of literature to such centers that certainly will have a long term impact. Also, each Indonesian student who receives a scholarship from the University of Teheran is first made a Shi'ite before he or she can enter the university.

After a series of questions and answers, we all made and signed a common statement in which each of us firmly condemned and rejected the existence and the acts of ISL and other radical movements that are contrary to Islam and the other religions recognized by Indonesian law.

Fr. Valentin SHUKURU B., SX


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