Inclusive Religious Education Prevents Extremist Mindset (Part II)
__ oleh Mimie Rahman
JAKARTA / 21-23 November 2018 – Komuniti Muslim Universal (KMU) has been invited to CONVEY Indonesia Workshop, “Regional Workshop on Religious Education and Prevention of Violent Extremism in Southeast Asia” in Jakarta, Indonesia. This workshop is a continuation of last year’s workshop, also attended by KMU, where it aims to foster tolerance and inclusivity to counter violent extremism through religious education. This second series comprised of government departments, academic institutions and civil society organisations to discuss on its main theme this year: “Lessons Learned and Best Practices”. This three-day workshop was jointly organized by Center for the Study of Islam and Society State Islamic University Jakarta (PPIM UIN Jakarta) with The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Over the past two decades, violent extremism has become a prevalent issue in many countries including in the Southeast Asian region. According to United Stated Agency for Development (USAID), violent extremism can be defined as “advocating, engaging in, preparing, or otherwise supporting ideologically motivated or justified violence to further social, economic or political objectives”. The act of terrorism and radicalization are not limited to kidnapping, ransom and bombing, it includes how religious intolerance and hateful messages. In Nov 2018, the Indonesian State Intelligence Agency found that dozens of mosques in Indonesia are preaching extremism and violence against non-Muslims potential to create disharmony and hatred within Indonesia diverse communities. While there are wide-range of factors that contribute to violent extremism such as socioeconomics, political or ethno-religious conflict but it is more synonymous to the abuse of religious teaching.
In Southeast Asia, inter and intra-religious problem has been becoming glaring where religious teaching has been used to spread rigid and negative messages against the people of other faiths. Thus, this workshop brought forward the role of government in regulating religious education through its existing policy, implementation and effectiveness in different jurisdictions. A number of countries including Malaysia presented on its firm commitment to counter violent extremism through inclusive education. Malaysia also provides guidelines, regulations and funds for religious education.
Complimenting the role of government, human rights groups play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the societies themselves and society and the government. For example, in the Philippines, human rights group practitioners shared their experience and expertise in disseminating religious narrative of Bangsa Moro through formal and inormal education. This has helped to maintain cohesiveness and open dialogue in a multiethnic society.
There are few thematic sessions during the workshop namely; majority and minority, Salafism, citizenship and religious education in digital technology. KMU representative participated in “Majority and Minority Relations in Religious Education” where it aligns with KMU focus to promote inter and intra-faith coexistence in Malaysia. KMU advocates for equal protection of law and freedom of religion and belief, so long, it does not induce hate and violence. It was discussed that the government, human rights groups and academics must cooperate in policy-making process. Then, engage with the grassroot through formal and informal education.
KMU opines that this workshop is successful in bringing the key stakeholders to critically discuss violent extremism from various perspectives and expertises. It goes without saying that one size does not fit all. Every country has its own counter extremism model. Moreover, it is very challenging to reach a consensus that can adapt all religions, ethnicities and politics. We recommend that the government, human rights organizations and academics to multiply roundtable discussions on preventing extremist mindset that has become epidemic in this country, with the rise of Daesh, Nazi, Extremist Hindu and racist ideologies.
Religious curriculum must be reviewed to guarantee and enforce equal protection of all religions and beliefs without hate and discrimination in the context of ‘new Malaysia’. It has to target community and religious leaders and youth online or in real life, so that they are ready to deal with a conflict with rationale and peace. Definitely not with emotion and violence.
CONVEY Indonesia is a project under PPIM UIN Jakarta with collaboration from UNDP. CONVEY is design to identify and address the underlying factors that foster the growth of violent extremism in religious education through research and survey, advocacy and policy engagement, public campaign, and quality assurance and coordination. To know more about their project, please visit conveyindonesia.com