The Jakarta Post
Radical Islamic ideology has spread freely on secular university campuses across Indonesia, with students from science and engineering majors more susceptible to infiltration, researchers from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) have warned.
LIPI senior researcher Anas Saidi said that while students who studied social and political sciences, humanities and philosophy were more resistant to radical beliefs, those who studied hard sciences were at greater risk of indoctrination.
"They are more easily infiltrated as they don't think religious understanding should be discussed. It's something to do with their scientific background that affects how their minds work," Anas told thejakartapost.com on Thursday.
According to Anas, many university students have been influenced by closed-minded Islamic teachings that were based only on one root of interpretation, resulting in monolithic thinking that created intolerance as they could not accept diverse interpretation of Islamic values.
A lack of monitoring on the activities of Muslim student organizations may have resulted in the systematic dissemination of fundamentalist movements brought by hard-line Islamic communities such as Ikhwanul Muslimin (IM) and other transnational Islamic Wahabi groups, Anas said.
Without a strong response from the government or moderate Islamic groups, Anas added, the phenomenon would likely trigger a clash of ideologies.
"Schools and universities should make regulations that prohibit public spaces being used to disseminate monolithic religious teachings," Anas added.
Meanwhile, another LIPI senior researcher, Endang Turmudi, said counter-radicalization on university campuses should start with citizens, who must change their mindsets and take a strong stance against terrorism and radicalism.
Family members and friends could help to tackle radicalization by implementing soft techniques such as promoting tolerance and a non-discriminatory stance toward other religions, Endang said.
While terrorism was a significant threat for Indonesia, Endang said, radicalism hidden within society was actually a greater problem for the nation in the long run, as its development was unseen and unpredictable. (dan)
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