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)