Estranging Radicalism From Universities In Indonesia

WARTASULSEL.NET, – The growing intolerance and rising identity politics that has gained ground after the election has also raised popular concerns that some groups may be seeking to replace Pancasila with a religious-based state ideology.

For the past six months, President Jokowi has worked to ease the tensions caused by growing sectarian issues that escalated during the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election and the imprisonment of his close ally and former Jakarta governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama known as Ahok for blasphemy case.

Amid concerns that Indonesia’s much-vaunted diversity might be at risk and sectarianism may be taking center stage in the country, as many as 155 rectors from state-owned and private universities initiated the gathering entitled “The National Movement of Universities Against Radicalism”, where they invited 2,000 rectors and professors and lecturers from campuses in all 34 provinces.

They want to denounce radicalism and declaring their support for the state-ideology Pancasila and to preserve the university that has long been the conerstone of the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country. However, universities as higher-education institutions played a pivotal role in upholding Pancasila and the nation’s unity.

The move of the universities came about as a result of concerns over growing sectarian-related violence, intimidation as well as hate-speech spread aggresively in the public sphere. Because of that, the universities all over Indonesia must take firm action in preventing and fighting radicalism as well as playing an actual role in protecting Pancasila and the Unitary State of Indonesia (NKRI).

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian, PhD expressed the hope that each university would be able to map the existence of radical groups on its campus. “We hope that the experties in higher education conduct efforts at deradicalizations, which will enable the neutralizing of the minds of those who have been influenced by radicalism,” Tito further explained.

Meanwhile, Religious Affairs Minister, Lukman Hakim Syaifuddin also suggested that all universities set up a study center on Pancasila in a bid to accelerate the younger generation’s understanding of nationalism in the digital era. Therefore, a specific methodology is needed to provide comprehension of the importance of Pancasila.

Previously, a survey conducted by Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC) in June showed that nearly 80 percent of 1,350 respondents supported the existing political system. However, the survey also revealed that 9.2 percent of respondents agreed with the establishment of an Islamic state.

It is also believed that radicalism has been thriving on campuses, prompting several academic institutions to publicly declare their rejection of religious radicalism earlier this year.

Estranging radicalism from universities in Indonesia is needed to protect all of students from the false mingle which could make them following radicalism and terrorism groups in Indonesia. Estranging radicalism from universities in Indonesia is a strategic move to curb the influence of radical groups which want to recruit their new members who come from the campuses such as students, employee, lecturers and maybe rectors too.

There are some of strategy which can be done to estrange radicalism form universities in Indonesia. First, universities must have strengthened close-relations and cooperation with the National Police and intelligence apparatus to to map the existence of radical groups on its campus, include how to eradicate them to spur their propaganda and influence at the campuses and universities.

Second, both state-owned and private universities must be aware to recruit lecturers. Because through the wrong-lecturer who had been recruited by the universities, they will easy to influence their students following his or her minds and propaganda supporting both radicalism and terrorism practices in Indonesia.

Third, seminars, dialogue, focus group discussion and literacy related to strengthen our national ideology Pancasila must be continuely and massively done at the campus and universities in all 34 provinces cooperating with the Presidential Working Unit on the implementation of the state ideology of Pancasila (UKP-PIP), regional leaders communication forum (Forkompimda) and also through BNPT and regional intelligence communities (Kominda) in all 34 provinces. Hopefully.

*) Hendrijanto Ikhbal, Senior observer at LSISI Jakarta.