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 Dialogue, not aggression, key to curb radicalism

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BerichtOnderwerp: Dialogue, not aggression, key to curb radicalism    di 9 dec 2014 - 11:14

The Jakarta Post, Depok, West Java, Tuesday December 09 2014,

After receiving more knowledge from a workshop in Depok, West Java, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) clerics agree to engage in dialogues with radical groups in a move to curb terrorism in the country.

Hamid AK, a representative from the Purworejo chapter of NU in Central Java, said that diverting people’s mindset in dealing with radicalism from aggressive action to promoting dialogues is not a simple job and will need a lot of time and hard work.

But it is required to strengthen ties between religious groups and would be a major help to counteract terrorism and radicalization in a long term perspective.

“I also learned from the discussion that we should not merely rely on our law enforcement officers to fight against radical groups. The most important thing is to change their mindset,” he told The Jakarta Post on Monday during the sidelines of the closing of the workshop that was held in Depok, West Java.

Hamid said that it was his job and other ulemas to tell people in their areas that we lived in Indonesia and used Pancasila as the state ideology.

“Any other ideology that contradicts with Pancasila has no place in this country,” he said.

Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population with more than 240 million people and has long struggled with radicalism and terrorism.

After the fall of Soeharto regime that gave way to the Reform era, in which the country has learned to embrace democracy, various Islamic movements, including the radical ones have started to blossom.

Some of the hard-line groups have the tendency to incorporate Islamic values in the country and have joined in global terrorism networks.

NU, the largest Muslim organization in the country, held a three-day meeting from Dec. 6 with 400 ulemas from the organization’s regional branches throughout Java and Sumatra, the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry in Al Hikam Islamic Boarding School in Depok.

NU former chairman Hasyim Muzadi said that the meeting was held to provide required information to NU followers on radical Islamic sects so that they could contribute to protect the country from what would potentially develop into terrorist threat.

Muhammad Furqon, head of NU’s Temanggung chapter in Central Java, agreed that dialog must be boosted to shield the state from any radical movement.

“We should also bring awareness that radical and extremist groups are threats to state security, but emphasized that we should fight them with dakwah [religious speech] instead of weapons,” he told the Post.

Furqon added that he deplored the fact that most of the Muslims in his neighborhood lacked motivation to study and explore the true teachings of Islam, which have made them prone to the influence of radical groups under the guise of religion.

“Muslims should realize that Islam is wider than men with a long beard or women with a hijab. Those things are no more than symbols, while the real teaching of Islam is peace and not to commit violence,” Furqon said.

Various reports have shown increasing incidents religious intolerance across the country.

In 2013 Wahid Institute, which promotes pluralism and peaceful Islam, reported that violence related to religious intolerance had increased in the past 10 years.

The report suggests that religious intolerance cases in 2012 stood at 274, increased from 267 in 2011. In 2010 it records 184 cases, while 121 cases were recorded in 2009.

Another ulema, Abdul Adzissyah from the South Aceh branch of NU said that from the discussion he learned that the first thing he should do when he went back to his hometown was to visit Islamic boarding schools and Koran reading groups to make sure that there were no extremist movements developing in those places.

“I hope that a group discussion like this can be held more often, because there are people in remote areas like me who did not know how to contribute to the prevention of terrorism in this country,”
Abdul said.

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