– Indonesian people generally see politics and religion as two different unrelated or related but not separate two-edged blades. Most of them construe politics as something dirty, full of lies, and practical interests.

Practical is like fast food; quick results, quick profits, quick customer service even in a rush without worrying about the process, the important thing is done. Nonetheless, religion is regarded as sacred dogma which is abstinence to be opposed or resisted, “yo wis trimo wae” (taken for granted).

Public still conceivably argue that using religion in politics is an indication that religion begins to be tarnished. This is not entirely true, but the fact is that none of the political parties in Indonesia use religion as the party’s clear name.

Parties claiming to be based on Islam such as the National Awakening Party (PKB), the United Development Party (PPP), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), and the Crescent Star Party (PBB) do not use the Islamic name at all, but simple meaningful symbols like the Ka’bah used by PPP, or vague emblems as crescent and star for PBB, as well as nine stars by PKB.

Conversely, in the past, the post-independence period, religious names and symbols were the manifestations of the struggle for Indonesian diversity. The Council of Indonesian Muslim Associations (Masyumi) became the name of the Muslim party in 1945 from the merger of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah.

There are a party of Christians (Parkindo), a party of Catholics (PKRI), and a party of NU’s followers established in 1952. The existence of each religion in politics is a barrier to the monopoly of majority in the country, so the Jakarta Charter with the clause, “the obligation to implement the Sharia for its adherents,” does not constitute as a state constitution.

The founding fathers of this nation have agreed that Indonesia is a plural country, not based on a particular religion. This is to say that politics is not based on religion. However, religion is a pillar to sustain the country as a buffer for the strength of development, humanity, and unity.

Accordingly, it is very surprising if there are some fundamentalist cohorts remaining to propose the Jakarta Charter which was only form of the basic draft of constitution in 1945 to be ultimately the legal basis that “should be” used. Initial formulation is never being a rule if it has not been authorized, and something “should be” never be a reality.

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The difference of vision and desire in realizing religion in the state rules generates the dichotomy of thought and political movement in Indonesia. The Darul Islam/Islamic Armed Forces of Indonesia (DI/TII) which is part of the Islamic State of Indonesia (NII) is a representation of the avidity to replace the state ideology, Pancasila, into Sharia.

However, due to the strong flow of secularization of the state, or the indigenization of Islam in the language of Gusdur, making Islamic Sharia movements are labeled as a separatist movement or rebellion which must be suppressed. In 1962, the whole movement of DI/TII successfully crushed. Hence, interest is hardly embodied if contrary to the public interest, particularly in ideology because interpreted as aberration. Scrutinizing the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) movement which since 1953 has struggled to establish the Islamiyah caliphate, was recently dissolved with the formal government policy because it contradicts the collective representation of the society’s ideology.

In general case, interest makes people understand their vision of life to guide perspective and way of thinking. Because of their different interest of empirism, Hegel and Marx have their own respective understanding regarding human history.

Hegel, came up with the process of “objectification” of the single unitary Weltgeist as a “self-realization” becoming idealism, while Marx believed that human’s itself is a conscious core of being alienated of capital determination emboding materialism. Both are detached seminal idea producing great existing social sciences as dialectic’s process of idealism and materialism. This shows that there is no materialism without idealism and vise versa.

Furthermore, there is no doubt that different perspective produces distinct interest. Kim Jong-un might think that America is a melting ‘turd’ to represent his rage for its leader renunciation of nuclear program. However, Trump’s changed perspective about North Korea derives from his interest in economic vision, so he mentioned its coastline as a great condo.

Moreover, some identical ideological leaders of Islamist like Hassan Al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb have their own interest in command of the Muslim Brothers. They experienced distinguishable situation forming their ideological perspective and movement. In the early period of the Muslim Brotherhood, 1930s, it aimed for gradual change purposing to effect chiefly through primary education, public relations work, and charity services in defense against Western cultural influences. Al-Banna did not reject the Egyptian existing political system but took action to transform it gradually (Guido Steinberg and Jan-Peter Hartung, Islamist Groups and Movements, in ISLAM in the World Today: A Handbook of Politics, Religion, Culture, and Society, 2010, p. 685).

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However, undergoing pressure, in their fight against Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918–1970), the Muslim Brothers with Al-Banna’s lead regard the use of force as a last resort by setting up the “secret apparatus” (al-jihaz al-sirri) who were blamed for many acts of violence against Egyptian politicians and foreign institutions. When the Egyptian prime minister was murdered by a Muslim Brother in 1948, the state struck back to revenge: al-Banna was killed in February 1949, allegedly by the Egyptian secret service (Ibid).

Likewise, Sayyid Qutb (1906–1966) who experienced distress and plight, shaped a more radical Islamic ideology while he was imprisoned. He declared to be faithless and appealed for armed resistance (jihad bi-s-sayf) against Nasser. Then, this idea formed the ideology of violent Islamists today. It can be clearly argued that experience shapes people’s interest, and such interest creates notion (empirism).

Similiarly, a current issue in Indonesia about Nahdlatul Ulama’s figure, Yahya Staquf who are in tenure as presidential councils visited Israel when a conflict tensity between Palestine and Israel becomes an international concern. Yahya was invited to be a speaker on “Shifting the Geopolitical Calculus: From Conflict to Cooperation” held by The Israel Council of Foreign Relations on June 13, 2018. People was mainly seperated to be two groups. First, those who blame Yahya as a supporter of Jewish colonization in Palestine’s homeland.

They condemn his footstep breaking Palestinians’ trust of Indonesian’s effort to advocate the muslim-country’s independence work. Second, majority of people who obviously assert that Yahya’s presence is a personal interest obviously demand that he attended not to back Israel by ruling out Palestinians, but merely to convey his feeling about excessive tension of violance and hostile faced by civilians.

Subsequently, I strongly believe that Yahya has significant reason to visit Israel as a part of conflict resolution. As we know that is barely possible to figure out conflict without encompassing the parties involved. Conflict can be only solved with communication generating understanding to look for appropriate solution. In this case, religion is a crucial role to unravel a perpetual conflict between two opposing religions by resulting common interest of both countries: the interest of peace, humanity, prosperity and affection.

By Mulyadin Permana; A doctoral student of Anthropology in University of Indonesia

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