Another controversial one. What do you think?

Garuda PancasilaLater this afternoon, I got my eyes caught on an article entitled “Most Islamic studies teachers oppose pluralism, survey finds” published at The Jakarta Post on November 26,. The post basically presents some statistical data, based on a survey conducted in public and private schools in Java by Center for Islamic and Society Studies (PPIM) at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta.

These are some stats mentioned in the article:

  • 73.1 percent of the teachers don’t want followers of other religions to build their houses of worship in their neighborhoods.
  • 62.4 percent of the surveyed Islamic teachers, including those from Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah — the country’s two largest Muslim organizations — reject the notion of having non-Muslim leaders.
  • 85.6 percent of the teachers prohibit their students from celebrating big events perceived as Western traditions, while 87 percent tell their students not to learn about other religions.
  • 58.9 percent of the respondents back rajam (stoning) as a punishment for all kinds of criminal and 47.5 percent said the punishment for theft should be having one hand cut off, while 21.3 percent want the death sentence for those who convert from Islam.
  • Only 3 percent of the teachers said they felt it was their duty to produce tolerant students.

And with no surprise, the article is now standing in the list of popular news at that online news portal. There have been some doubts questioning the competency of the questionnaire and saying that this is indeed a natural behavior of the majority in most countries. On the other side, many believe that this stats reinforce the idea that conservatism and radicalism not only develop on the streets like what has been campaigned by the FPI (the Islam Defenders Front), but rather deep within the education (system).

I personally find it difficult to even have an opinion on this issue, but at least, on the presidential-candidate issue, I reckon I need to second a great opinion made by Delvi Wahyuni:

Folk, we need not a Muslim president (nor Christians - added by me). What we need is a leader who can help us with our problems, a president who can feed us at least three times a day, a president who enable us to send our kids to school, a president who eases us from worrying about the pricey health care system, a president who learned that freedom of expression is not a sin, a president who is aware about global warming, a president who is not sexist, a president who, in short, can lead us to the better not rule us to tatter.

If we have such a person, I will vote for him/her/it, no matter if that individual is a drag queen, a homosexual, a lesbian, a ‘heathen’, a punk, a dangdut singer, a crippled, an albino, an atheist,… You earn my vote though.

And bottom line, I only see the irony. Why should we be acting like this? We are all so proud of our culture and traditional remnants, as a unity: Indonesia; but why when it comes to religions, it always turns out this ugly?

Illustration was taken from here, it is Garuda Pancasila, the coat of arms of The Republic of Indonesia, on which written the motto “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika”, meaning: unity in diversity.

  • Hm… So sad to know that most of Indonesian Moslem still act like Indonesia is an Islamic Country :( Maybe someday I’ll try to be non Indonesia, if possible, so I can found heaven in the world :P

  • Hmm…, saidinmonologue am i? Peace All..

  • Bro…, this-your journal is very good…! I like this journal….! Thanks…!

  • Michael

    Being a Christian, I can understand some of what is said in this article. I think it’s natural for people to be surrounded by other people with the same customs/culture/religious beliefs. What I don’t agree with is to persecute other people based on there religious beliefs. Being an American, I believe everybody has the right to choose what lifestyle they want to live, however it doesn’t mean I have to accept there lifestyle, I can respectfully disagree but I can still be polite.

    For me it’s clear that I would like a leader that is Christian only because he or she shares my religious beliefs and in doing so I would hope they have the same moral standards that dictate in my religion. It matters to me because I know someone who might be “heathen, homosexual for example does and would not hold the same value on my moral Christian beliefs as I believe a Christian would have. Someone who can do all the things you describe is important but the foundation/heart of the person needs to be there first and foremost. Thanks for a good thought provoking article.

  • Muhammad Hamzah

    Can you construct a balance pattern of thinking?
    Can you construct a survey without tendentious questions? Without tendency to show what do you want to show about us?
    We are appreciate any difference, I will not talk anything else, just those question

  • Everywhere it is and no matter what, the majority tends to press down the minority. In the countries where Christian or Hinduism or Buddhism or Jews becomes the majority, they do the same way.

  • This is another sad news.
    Perhaps understanding the distinction between country and religion is another good way.

    A country is like a horizontal line, which mean a relationship between us / pluralism.

    A religion is like vertical line, which mean a relationship between human and their God.

    Just another thought!
    Nice to see you.

  • @michael: You asked “Are you inherently saying that Indonesian people are not well-educated in particular social aspects so that this phenomenon came out as the result?”. Well, that’s not what I meant.

    I was trying to make the point that almost none of us can escape to be born and raised in a specific philosophy and/or ideology. And that it is hard to look at that philosophy or ideology in a neutral, critical way as if one was totally independent of it’s influence. Therefore one needs “education and training in independent thinking and moral or civil courage”.

    That goes for evangelicals, colonialists,pacifists, Roman catholics, communists, nationalists or Muslims, I guess. In no way I intended to imply that specifically “Indonesian people are not well-educated in particular social aspects”.

  • eddie

    Hi Michael

    I have to add something here, as i have been studying religions in general for over 20 years and i have lived in several countries, all of which are ‘ruled’ by a dominating religion. (and i do not use the term ruled lightly here)

    When trying to reason with any religious person, the first thing you find is NO REASON. the brain is a clean slate at birth and the experiences and ‘teachings’ it receives actually creates physical connections. if a person is taught from a young age to have ‘faith’, it is very difficult to change this and there need be no reality or reasoning when arguing with this type of person. for them, their religion, their god, is paramount. This is not a light matter, it means that religion has been, is and always will be connected to the ruling factions of the society and will always be used to manipulate what they call sheeple, mostly into some form of submission. this is augmented through the use of educational and political systems that work in union to establish a system of control. That is point one. Religion is not about any god, it is about control.

    Point 2. All religions especially the monotheistic ones preach that we should ‘love’ our neighbour, but then do not practise this, in fact they are all openly against other people of other religions, thus the judaic law (it is more of a law than a religion) teaches that these should treat those that do not follow the judaic law as different. in fact, the judaic law is openly racist to all others, the islamic religion, which you talk of and bring up some interesting points, i cannot speak too much of.

    however what may appear to be undemocratic or unconstitutional in your country, i have to say is much the same in catholic or christian countries, these proclaim freedom yet ask many of the same things that you point out in your article, they are also anti-any other religion, and force the catholic/christian religion onto their fellow countrymen in much the same manner, it all comes down to the same thing, control of the population, and since there are different control centres (religions), these are against each other, to the point of death.

    I feel very strongly about these matters simply because i have seen first hand the manner in which religions are used to cause war, death, pain, exactly the opposite of what they preach, this is the ultimate hypocrisy. Similar to Bush proclaiming ordering the deaths of innocent civilian lives in order to ‘free’ the population, the world is full of hypocrisy. Unfortunately, for free thinking individuals any form of change is made extremely difiicult, because the whole system revolves around the hypocrisy, and ultimately it is not the people that rule and manipulate that are solely to blame, it is also the rest, because in essence we ACCEPT the world the way it is.

    The world will not move forward until all religion is completely abolished, and this will not happen any time soon. Like the man in the movie Matrix, he likes the meat, it tastes good, it does not matter that it is not real, it does not matter to him the fate of the rest, only his own pleasure. This is ultimately the problem, and unfortunately, this is the way of humanity.

    have a good day.

  • I always dreamed of the so-called Liberal Moslem would emerged in Indonesia. Any volunteer? I mean, every kind of religion are basically teach their follower to respect others. Well, at least that’s my humble opinion.

    Anyway, Mike, perhaps this issue is quite sensitive: Religion. It’s a very sad thing to see in our education system. Luckily, I grow up in a quite liberal parents when it comes to religion stuff. Sometimes I do feel the irony of it.

    I want to ask you something before: when it said Java, do this statistics also include another small area such as Cilacap etc or is it limited on big cities only?

    I do need to know that first because if the answer is the former, then we must acknowledge the fact that many aspects influenced teachers there: family background, neighborhood etc. It’s awful but it’s true, there are many things that could influence their thoughts: not just their educational background.

    The biggest question should be addressed if the most of these kinds of Islamic teaches come from big cities. Because, in my opinion, should this really happened then I guess we should started the Education Sector Reform:)

  • Nah, not another controversial one. Another same ol’ same ol’.

    • In fact. :)

    • another same old controversial topic, perhaps? :)

  • Mike…I’ve got no word to say, I feel ashamed since I represent the majority religion in Indonesia. I know how you feel, it’s nothing nice to find such news, right?! :)

    # 73.1 % : I think this is okay. Because it says “in their neighborhood”. People in a community have their own rules and custom that we must obey to. It’s not okay if they said “in every corner of neighborhood even outside ours”. I think it’s fair if other embracers do the same thing. It comes naturally.

    # 62.4 % : this is happened in the US too. Obama is a phenomenon. I believe everything takes time, so does it, someday it may happen in the future too.

    # 85,6 % : well, like or dislike, i am the perfect example of the victim of that educational system too, hehehe.

    I object to greet Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, etc since I believe to have friendship with different religion friends can be done without obliged myself to do so. But I believe I don’t have to be such a stiff, rigid one…I can still change it into “Happy New Year and have a great year ahead, so so”. So don’t be surprised if I’ll greet you (Mike) with that unusual greetings ya?! Hehe. I try to keep my faith without hurting my friendship (since I have so many Christian, Catholic, Syi’i, Ahmadiy etc friends).

    But I don’t mind with my Muslim friends who greet Merry Christmas. I remembered to two of great Indonesian heroes are Buya HAMKA and Muhammad Natsir. Buya HAMKA refused to greet Merry Christmas and attend their gathering, but he was known as a friendly person for Christian people (especially in Jakarta). Muhammad Natsir didn’t mind to greet Merry Christmas and attend invitation from his Catholic friend (forgot the name) every Christmas. Such a different pole, but both HAMKA and Natsir are bosom friends and they supported each other. Both are my idols too :)

    # 58.9 % : I think that kind of punishment system is applicable the most for corruptors instead of thief, infidel, adulterer :lol:

    # 3 % : I hope my Mom is included in it since she taught me that world and life is all about difference. Even pair of twin are different people. We must respect it without losing our belief and notion.

    Mike, if you remembered to my previous comment about who I am “a confident-faithful believer but moderate” I hope I can prove it to you now. Peace and friendship :)

    • Well, it seems that greeting Merry Christmas is indeed a problem, isn’t it?

      Well, I respect one’s opinion about this. Seriously, greeting Merry Christmas is just nice and not greeting it is just fine. We won’t become enemies if you don’t greet me Merry Christmas or if I don’t greet you Idul Fitri, it’s fine, totally. But it sucks when it comes to posters, MUI speeches, and stuffs. I mean, can you imagine that? Imagine that in the same time you were celebrating Idul Fitri, there were visible campaigns among the Christians saying “Don’t greet Idul Fitri to Moslems, it’s a sin.” That’s awful, CRAZY if I may add.

      But nonetheless, let’s just face the fact that inconvenient truth does happen. Hehehe.. Peace and friendship!

    • @Mike
      I can understand if some Christian, Catholic, etc fellows do so (no Idul Fitri greetings allowed). It’s fair for me since I apply it to them :)

      But yeah right, please don’t exaggerate it. Being too much is nothing good, sick and tired to see that.

      I don’t know Mike….even some of my Christian friends shocked when I mingled with Jehovah Witness’s friends. Or my other friends shocked when I made friends with Syi’i or Ahmadiy. And I myself shocked because I’m not shocked at all :lol:

    • Well, actually I don’t practice such perspective. I greet all my fellow friends when they are celebrating their religious holiday. I just feel that it’s a nice thing to do. But yes, let’s not exaggerate it. Hahaha.

      Anyway, you’ve been a great example, Yonna. At least you show them what a good friend should be like, that it is actually not verged by season greetings.

      PS. This new WordPress commenting system is so cool. I can’t stop talking about this. Hahaha.

  • Yes we know the fact that Indonesian are not that tolerance, not only the folks but also the government itself. one of the example would be when it come to ramadhan time, the government is urging the local restaurant / food vendor to close their place. this is so ridiculous IMO. in the name of tolerance, they put it in the wrong way.

    not to mention the racial issue between ‘chinese vs pribumi’ that still often occurred. .kristenisasi, islamisasi is spicing up our society, and the blah and the blah. . thats why most teachers do not want other religion followers to build worship house in their environment. .

    as far to following other culture, I give my little credit towards them. Yes I believe that we should having our own culture instead of following the western. But it shouldn’t be necessarily prohibited just for celebrating new year isn’t it? :roll:

    • New year?? Anyway, seriously, I don’t even care whether they want to celebrate New Year or not, but what’s irritating me is when they put up several inconvenient so-called facts that are used to justify their own point of view and judge us in somewhat an what-the-hell manner!

      Valentine’s Day is a clear-cut example; come to ITB and you’ll see DOZENS of posters throughout the campus explaining how not-so-right celebrating Valentine is, while inside those stupid posters, there lies several writings that will only bring you a nervous breakdown and make you walk with the text “KAFIR” on your forehead.

      I hate being in ITB on Valentine’s Day. Guys, seriously, if you don’t want to celebrate it, or even become a tiny part of it, just don’t! But please, can’t you please do it without hurting others’ feeling? And you know what? We don’t even celebrate it as a religious rituals! It’s not Christian’s, It’s a Western culture!

  • if i were to take these numbers at face value..
    i would agree with sherwin that its somewhat of a ‘pemerkosaan UUD’45’.

    73.1% dont want people of other beliefs to build their houses of worship.
    i suppose they do have the freedom to determine who builds what. not necessarily unconstitutional but definitely ridiculous, if you want to be honest. (the constitution, however, reveals that every citizen has the right to be free from discrimination of any form)

    62.4% dont want a non-Muslim leader.
    sad but not surprising and of course they are entitled to they’re right to choose. its been the tendency that people want a leader that “best” represents them. however, when you narrow down the criteria by which you choose your leader to solely religion, it won’t be likely that you
    get good leadership.

    85.6 dont want their students to celebrate Western holidays. 87 dont want students to learn about other religions.
    not unconstitutional as everyone has the freedom to erect their own flaky fences and swim around their small sad pool of reality.

    58.9 back stoning. 47.5 would allow severing limbs as punishment for theft. 21.3 want the death sentence for apostasy.
    now this is unconstitutional! by law (which as we all know doesn’t mean very much in our country) every citizen has the right to be free from torture.

    3% find it important to produce tolerant students.
    scary. if that many Islamic teachers disregard the importance of tolerance than i propose that the ministry of education include a special mandatory tolerance class in the curriculum (as if we have not had enough of it in ppkn and ips!!!). if its not the teacher’s duty to teach
    children/students about common sense than who ??!

    from this statistic i can only conclude that if the Islamic teachers who participated in this survey do not believe that one of their duties is to teach about tolerance, than the doctrines they’ve been injecting into the minds of Indonesia’s young generation includes everything but tolerance. now what does that say about their faith?

    this is alarming because tolerance happens to be the one thing indonesia needs the most.

    this is longer than i thought. :sad: muaap

  • yeah i agree with hutagalung btw nice article kang thanks for the post

  • What a sad fact, now I’m understand why there Islam just cant go with pluralism, because the education standard actually discourage pluralism… I’m very sure many moderate islam wouldnt like this condition either.

    There is always tendency of clash between conservatives and the liberal one, I wouldnt be surprised if moslem who takes higher education wouldnt favour this condition.

    But maybe they are simply just people who aware they are majority, they have benefit over minority in Indonesia, and well, I’m not surprised if in the end, they just want to conquer and suppress people outside themselves.

    • Vin, your comment is like, conclusion remarks about what is happening about Islam in our country nowadays. Islam is not purely Islam anymore when it comes as a political means. The sad thing is that when this so-called politicization of Islam went through our education system.

  • Hey, you! where have you been? if it’s something about thesis, please don’t tell me that yours are already finished by now. I hate it when I don’t get to be happy first. haha kidding!

    not really.

    lol, anyways,, in response,, I suggest you read guhpraset(dot)wordpress(dot)com, especially his post about “dukung malaysia haramkan yoga” and “9 cara jitu mengina nabi, ajarannya, dan umatnya sekaligus”. a good way of putting thoughts into words if I may add.

    as for your punchline,, why does it always turns out ugly? my attempt of a logical answer would be, ‘if you don’t feel good enough about yourself then pick someone to mock’. Dewi Perssik always makes me feel good about myself.

    and I totally second your friend Delvi, although I would prefer if he/she/it is not a punk. why? because punk hates emo. and emo people are, urrmm, amusing. no way i’m voting for someone who has no sense of humor whatsoever! ;p

    ah, and because not only do punks look scary, most of them are also raging in the inside. we need a president that even though looks like a Slipknot personnel on the outside, he is a Coldplay on the inside. or in Indonesian would be, “biar muka slipknot tapi hati tetep coldplay!” ;p

    • Been here, there, and everywhere. And listen, I’ve finished my thesis ALREADY and I got an A! Hahaha..

      well, I guess that is the best reply to your comment. It’s thesis that’s currently in you mind, isn’t it? Hahahaha..

  • the world does not need a religion…

    that is why I am an agnostic now.. ;)

  • Obviously a tolerant state of mind is not easy.
    The survey may be sound or not, the results don’t amaze me very much. It’s pretty normal that the main representatives of a philosophy only have eyes for the interests of their own group. To be tolerant and open minded is not easy. Neither is it easy to practice pluralism, allowing everyone to have a place under the sun. It takes education and training in independent thinking and moral or civil courage.

    Each time if one thinks to have found a truth ( or to be born in such a system as more often is the case), it’s tempting to proclaim it to an eternal, absolute and general truth that applies to everyone. This is especially the case if it’s about a system of interrelated truths or an ideology.

    For followers of such an ideology, established religions included, criticism. at least fundamental criticism, is unwelcome and often taboo. Giving in to these deviant opinions or practices undermines the comfort of having found the Holy Grail.

    It may however lead to the point of total absurdity as was the case with Galileo; in 1610 he discovered that not the sun was circling the Earth but the Earth is circling the sun - which was contrary to the firm belief of the Roman Catholic Church. The Church forced him to retract his scientific findings and only in recognized Galileo was always right. So, the official Catholic truth in this matter alone was three and a half centuries behind the times! The world didn’t care too much fortunately.

    Barbarous excesses like stoning to death, are generally condemned as also very much behind the times. It’s not so much ridiculous as well as on the verge of sheer criminality. Those who are still advocates give their ideology/religion a very bad name worldwide - and therefore are harming the overwhelming majority of sensible fellow believers.

    • Let me quote you, “It takes education and training in independent thinking and moral or civil courage.” Are you inherently saying that Indonesian people are not well-educated in particular social aspects so that this phenomenon came out as the result? I agree on some points but somehow I feel that being majority plays a big part as a cause on this case.

      On Galileo case, I often use that as a proven example for people who claim scientific findings wrong based on religious teachings: human’s evolution for example. hahaha..

  • What is pluralism anyway? When it come to Islam, then the issue rolled over is this word.

  • agreed. i have so much to say about this topic but there is a law and order marathon on tnt. will comment l8er.

  • Where’ve you been lately Lae? :D

    I’d like to comment on these:
    “73.1 percent of the teachers don’t want followers of other religions to build their houses of worship in their neighborhoods.”

    This is ridiculous. Why should we make it difficult for or, even, forbid people to offer their pray in decent house of worships? This is what I call “Pemerkosaan terhadap UUD’45”.

    “62.4 percent of the surveyed Islamic teachers, including those from Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah — the country’s two largest Muslim organizations — reject the notion of having non-Muslim leaders.”

    People tend to choose leader who can represent them. Blacks vote for black candidate, women choose woman candidate. That’s normal to some extent. America’s now having President which belongs to minority groups, why can’t we have it here in Indonesia? It should be noted that I’m in the same side with Delvi Wahyuni above. People should vote for that kind of person, even if he belongs to minority groups.

    You said: “Why when it comes to religions, it always turns out this ugly?”
    People can affiliate themselves to some groups, I can say I’m Bataknese, Indonesian, Christian, Jakartan (?!!), etc. Some Indonesians tend to define themselves according to their religion and put aside other identities they have; now you know why religion became sensitive issue for certain people.

    Promosi dikit, I wrote article on Kerukunan Antar Umat Beragam di Indonesia, you may read it here in this following link:

    • Anyway, what should be the most proper parameter for a neighborhood? I mean, it’s not like we are all concentrated in particular neighborhood so that we can claim that we are majority in that area. So then, we have no place to pray? This is indeed an irritating fact but to me, I won’t see the availability of house of worships as an obstacle to worship God. We nowadays pray in shopping malls, you know that? :D

    • Anyway, I’ve been nowhere but here, there, everywhere. Hahaha..

    • I know man, I used to pray in hotel too. :D So yeah, gereja itu bukan bangunannya, tapi jemaatnya. Still I think we can categorize it as making it difficult for people to pray.

    • agreed. gereja bukanlah gedungnya, dan bukan juga menaranya, bukalah pintunya, lihat di dalamnya, gereja adalah orangnya. hehe.. jadi nyanyi lagu sekolah minggu deh.

      anyway, i am tempting you with this new WordPress 2.7 commenting system, Sher! You didn’t even give any comment about it?? Bah! Hahaha.