Editorial: Double-victory weekend
Paper Edition | Page: 6
This is a rare weekend when Indonesia celebrates two major national events. On Friday, we marked our 67th Independence Day; on Sunday, we observe Idul Fitri, the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan.
On both occasions, we celebrate a victory of some sort. The first marks the beginning of Indonesia’s journey as an independent nation, and the second marks the end of one-month of suppressing our worldly needs during the day.
The fact that Aug. 17 has fallen during Ramadhan these past four years has put a damper on Independence Day celebrations.
This year is the last for sometime when a somber mood will prevail over Independence Day. More festive celebrations, including the traditional fun and games, will return next year when the national day will no longer be eclipsed by the observation of Ramadhan.
As we celebrate the double-victory weekend, we should use the occasion to contemplate Idul Fitri and Independence Day and how the two may be connected.
One challenge Indonesia faces today is how to deal with the disturbing trend of increased religious segregation in our society. Neighborhoods, schools, workplaces and the media are tending to become exclusive to one particular religious community.
It is perfectly understandable for religious minorities to want the comfort of living in their own community, but it is baffling that some Muslims also want to create their own exclusive enclaves when they are the majority in this country. We are already seeing the results in the growing number of cases of friction, tension and open conflicts between different religious communities in different parts of the country.
That is hardly the Indonesia that our founding fathers envisioned. If anyone should fight to prevent Indonesia from becoming more and more like an apartheid society, it should be the Muslims, who make up the majority of the population in this country.
Indeed, Islam was sent via the Prophet Muhammad as a “blessing for all mankind”, not specific or exclusive to those born into the religion. Idul Fitri would be a good time for Indonesian Muslims to show Islam’s truly inclusive nature by involving everyone in their celebrations. They could do this by inviting all their friends, neighbors and colleagues, irrespective of their religion; and give alms to everyone that deserves them, indiscriminately.
And most of all, Muslims must stop saying the highly exclusive but somehow now popular greeting, “To those who celebrate, we wish you Eid Mubarak”.
Just say: “Eid Mubarak”, everybody.