The Indonesia Onward Cabinet ready to fight radicalism

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The public discussion “Radicalism or Religious Manipulation?” held in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Monday (04/11/2019) (photo: IO/Dan)

IO, Jakarta – President Joko Wido­do is serious about suppressing the spread of (religious) radicalism. He even went so far as to want to replace the term “radicalism” with “religious manipulation.” Indonesian Voters’ Institution (Lembaga Pemilih Indo­nesia – “LPI”) Director Boni Hargens believes that Jokowi’s intention is to maintain political stability. “I approve the President’s move to soften the term, in order to maintain the sta­bility of our political ecosystem. The LPI long ago predicted a segregation between nationalist and religious fun­damentalist groups which would give rise to the dynamics of the 2019 Elec­tions,” he stated in the discussion ti­tled “Radicalism, or Religious Manip­ulation?” held in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Monday (04/11/2019).

Boni believes that the new term could help reduce political tension. However, he admits that radicalism is not something that can be simpli­fied into a change of terms. “I believe that religious manipulation is part of the modus operandi of radical re­ligious groups. We are talking about religious radicalism not in terms of “doctrines” or “ideologies”, but as a political movement that fights for a specific purpose, one which our in­vestigation reveals is contrary to Pan­casila and conflicts with the direction of our nation,” he said.

Boni stated that Jokowi’s efforts to eradicate radicalism is reflected in his choice of ministers in the Indo­nesia Onward Cabinet. For example, he appointed Armed Forces General (Ret.) Fachrul Razi as the Minister of Religious Affairs. “Fachrul Razi, with his military background, has the ca­pacity for this position. It is this kind of hope that can make us smile, even though we were surprised. On further investigation, there is a great vision, a great agenda for responding to the dynamics of religious radicalism in Indonesia,” he said.

Similar to Boni, Indonesian Soli­darity Party (Partai Solidaritas Indo­nesia – “PSI”) politician Mohamad Guntur Romli, alias Gus Romli, also considered the formulation of the In­donesia Onward Cabinet to be correct for the purpose of dealing with a re­ligious radicalism agenda in Indone­sia. He appreciates the Cabinet as a result of Jokowi’s prerogative: the ap­pointment of Police General (Ret.) Tito Karnavian as the Minister of Home Affairs, Armed Forces General (Ret.) Fachrul Razi as Minister of Religious Affairs, Prabowo Subianto as Minister of Defense, and Mahfud MD as Coor­dinating Minister of Politics, Law, and Security is ”The proper Cabinet for­mation in the fight against religious radicalism,” he said.

Gus Romli further states that it is not enough for modern government to disband illegal radical organizations like Hizbut Tahir Indonesia (HTI). The Government should uphold the law against the people who are proven to be involved in such organizations. “I believe that it is the duty of the Minis­ter of Home Affairs, the Minister of Re­ligious Affairs, and the Chief of Police to not only disband organizations like the HTI, but to apply the law against the primary actors behind them. Once the law is enforced against these peo­ple, these radical brains run to anoth­er country,” he said.

Gus Romly further stated that the prohibition set by Minister of Reli­gious Affairs Fachrul Razi against the use of face veils and high-water trousers in Government offices is a means to anticipate attacks from re­ligious radicals. (Dan)