Later 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.