Rabu, 11 September 2013

Together with Prof. Robert Hefner, Celebrating Indonesian Islamic faith accountable to the world!

Together with Prof Robert Hefner, Celebrating Indonesian Islamic faith accountable to the world!
A reflection to remembering the events of September 11.

By Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta*)

Attack on 11 September 2001 which today celebrated a human tragedy in the modern world today. Tragedy that destroyed two skyscrapers of the World Trade Center in New York City, including 3000 people who were there together with those who were in the planes by which were used as the weapon for destroying the two giant buildings created horor scenes for all nations around the world.  Since that time, the  impression about the cruelty that appears on radical groups of Osama Bin Laden and various other groups that has led the United States to attack Afghanistan and Iraq because of seeing as the nest of terrorists.

After 11 September, the movement to align the role of religion in public life continues to flow.  The followers of Religions meet each other to discuss, writing a book together, reaching deeply about their faith because of a desire to align the view formed by the September 11 disaster that Islamic anti- modernity, Islam is the religion of the winning of the plight of others. Movement to understand religions deepens. I remember some Americans explained that since September 11, many churches full.  People questioned about their religion back in depth to understand the role of religion in human life. If the September 11 attacks occurred, how the role of Islam in shaping the actions of a person to commit such heinous acts. Mosques opened the door to explain to the citizens of the United States about the teachings of Islam that teaches love, forgiveness and justice for others.

Attempts to dig a correct understanding of religious and social life of the people in the world still continues. The world needs an explanation which is unheard of in the middle of propaganda about the harsh and cruel face of a particular religion as reflected on the 11th of September. Islam faces depicted are entering a period of democratization as described in  Arab Spring, as if performing raw because then violence as seen in Egypt and Syria. Back , the face of Islam appear austere and chaotic.

I feel uneasy about the fact that as Christian, I have experienced in their dealings with the moslem brothers and sisters in Indonesia, sharing life, being the size of the practice of Islam who lived in the path of God.  Even though at the national political level I was also very upset with the policy in some areas that generate local regulations to suppress minority groups. Minority groups concerned with the processes that occur after the Reformation, especially seeing how the power of regional policy is highly political and not controlled by the product of the policies based on Islamic religious law.

Interesting to hear the views of Prof Hefner understand how to see the tragedy of September 11. I interviewed him yesterday about 1 hour more.  Prof. Robert Hefner is an anthropologist, a Professor in the Department of Athropology at Boston University. Currently, Hefner is the director of the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs is abbreviated CURA from Boston University. CURA was founded by Prof. Peter Berger who has a world-famous Sociologist.  

As a antropologist, Hefner began his research in the Tengger community, Hindus in the valley slopes of Bromo in East Java, Indonesia. Research resilience of a community to practice a unique religion amid pressure other major religions in Indonesia and ideologies that tend to homogenize society, Hefner later increasingly keen to understand the situation of Indonesia before the colonization period.  Process toward religious uniformity seen of Religion Department's efforts to make the definition of " Agama" (translate: religion) according to the teaching of major religions such as Islam put on the box the religious practices of the Tengger Hindus communities. 

Encountering with the fact that Islam has played an important role to define the definition of Agama” as formed by the Ministry of Religion,  Hefner has developed later on his interest in examining the relationship between religious identity of the market in the form of a community so that it can perform more macro look at the role of religion after Hinduism and Buddhism with the arrival of Islam to have its role in  community building around Southeast Asia.

Hefner has very argumentative view to show the growth of new currents in the Islamic community in Indonesia to form  civilized  Muslim community. After the Reformation movement that followed the horrific events of September 11, in the midst of various forms of violence that occurred in Indonesia and override the minority, apparently the majority of Indonesian Muslims are not at all affected, and provoked to the possibility of segregation caused by global tensions are likely to appear to present the appearance of Islam cruel. Indonesia has experienced several terrorist attacks in Bali (2002) and in Jakarta  (2009), but the government's commitment to reaching out,  embracing the radical groups in Indonesia have brought peace,  and overcoming the wave of radical groups through persuasion and imposition of criminal penalties to those who are guilty.  

Results of in-depth appreciation of the religious teachings, causing Indonesia's Muslim population appears very dynamic in building a nation is not to fight each other for control of the country and put the control of Islam in Indonesia building, but especially by developing new currents in building social ethics movement which  is based on the teachings of ethics -Islam (Islamic Shari'a). Indonesian Muslims have left the myth of state control, Hefner pointed out some important finding of his research. This change does not come from outside but is the result of profound reflection of the teachings of Islam itself as discussed in "Ahkam or hukm (Arabic means law). In "Ahkam" depicted the prophet Muhammad SAW who warned that the power is very dangerous that a cleric is not the government leaders as well. Mosques are not hierarchical form as seen in the church for the Christian religion.

According to Hefner, 11 September attacks have opened dialogue again about the relevancy of Islam and democracy. His research that began in 1999 aims actually to show a very different face of Islam as found from field research as an anthropologist. Research suggests that in Indonesia and in other Islamic countries are also emerging new currents in which the purpose of Islamic activists are no longer in control of the state but the establishment of ethical action in everyday life. This is a new way of thinking about Islam and Politics. Hefner builds his arguments againt the article which later became the contraversial book, Clash of Civilization and The Remaking of World Order (2002) of Samuel Huntington who suggests that Islam is not compatible with democracy.

Indeed, as recognized by Hefner is necessary precautionary forms because when  democracy arrived there will be a lot of debate even to the violent actions of the role of Islam in the state structure. As a modern society, and the modern Indonesian Islam wherever always tempted by the power of the state. They thought, when the state controlled all issues can be resolved. This view is very dangerous because there are still many issues that are not resolved even if the people who sat in the state are scrambling to get it.

Hefner sight before September 11 to be heard by the government of President Bill Cliton . Hefner and another American expert on Islam,  Prof John Espocito from Georgetown University several times visited to Washington DC to discuss with relevant policy makers with a view towards Islam. Another thing to do is to give the general view that the countries with majority Muslim populations in the world such as Indonesia is growing and in its existence of receaching out modernity, the debate about the state and shape as well as citizenship will always be present. Trying to convince the policy makers during the period, the arrival of September 11 attacks has brought back some doubt of the suitability of Islam and democracy in modern world.  

Islam in its meaning creed, doctrine  questions of the Qur'an, Sunnah, ulamah is the same everywhere. But religion as part of everyday life, practice it, is a different turn as observed deeply by  anthropologist eyes  such as Robert Hefner. To that end, the power of Islam in Indonesia is on three things according to him. First is the openness to educational needs . Indonesian Muslims invest to build a very large access to education.  Second is in order to boost early Muslims as individuals are encouraged to involve in civic organizations. Third is the involvement in civic organizations encourages the emergence of a sense of responsibility to others.  Emphasis on benefits to other (maslahat) is a part of the religion of everyday life. Religious practices derived from the teachings of faith, the Sunnah, the Quran do appearing variously influenced by societal ways of life. Religion practiced as acceptable religious teachings and traditions that can be done as a tribute but also has began to be abandoned by the young because they are not mandatory.

Indonesian power is what causes the emergence of a new flow of Islamic middle class. Muslims who are open to develop themselves in the arts, encouraging participation itself in regard to others so that state policy does not only affect their own group but to others compatriots. Religion is at once establish the benefit to other people and the nation. Strength of Indonesian Muslims is to be hopeful about the way a new view in the United States associated with Islam and Politics, said Hefner whose knowledge capacities are being shared now around the world as he faciltates researches on Islam with scholars from differents countries.

Indonesia could play a major role in influencing world opinion related to Islam and Politics for the role of civil organizations that are there. In the United States, after 11 September, Muslims in America began to organize themselves in several national associations such as the ISNA and ICNA. But these associations do not build the cadre mechanism as is done in Indonesia, where through two major organizations that Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and  Muhammadiyah as the two biggest moslem organizations in the world have carried out to transfer of knowledge and build awareness of expediency in Islamic response to the world. 

Hefner considers that the September 11 tragedy should not be exaggerated but it also can not be underestimated. It turns out the tragedy was brought to the interrelationship between the nations with religious and cultural background of each. The fact that the world is there much of a difference does not mean people can not accept each other. Efforts to reach out to each other must continue until each arrived at the meeting point of disagreement which can be built a tool to develop a negotiation mechanism. Citizenship became a very serious issue because at the level of values, it crosses the borders of nation and country to touch fundamental aspects of the rights to life of the individuals as a human being. Islam and Muslims in Indonesia could be a pioneer for other brothers embrace different religions as part of the basic teachings of Islam allow such efforts.

*) Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta is currently a visiting fellow at CURA (Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs) of Boston University.

After the interview, Prof. Hefner received two books that I wrote on "Petisi Warganegara NKRI untuk Papua" and "Indonesiaku Indonesiamu Indonesia untuk semua"


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