The Jakarta Post
The “Defending Islam” rallies centered recently in Jakarta have been widely perceived as a clear sign of a change in Indonesia’s brand of Islam, which has heretofore long been acknowledged as “moderate”.
What is worse is that Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s two biggest Islamic organizations, which are moderate, are no longer the main references of Muslims in the country for resolving religion-related problems.
“NU and Muhammadiyah are still the main destinations of public services in the field of education and health, but they are no longer a reference in religious matters,” said Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) researcher Ahmad Najib Burhani in a discussion at the central executive board (PP) office of Muhammadiyah's Yogyakarta chapter on Thursday.
Prior to the massive rallies against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, sparked by allegations that he had committed blasphemy, he said, NU and Muhammadiyah leaders had called on their followers not to attend the events. Still, they participated in the rallies, as urged by the leaders of other religious organizations.
“One of the religious organizations is the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) led by Habib Rizieq,” said Ahmad.
He was worried Indonesia’s Islam could no longer be considered moderate because many Muslims did not want listen to the two organizations’ teachings, which had in fact been formulated through thorough consideration. Instead, they now chose to listen to religious edicts formulated using thinking based on poor historical and sociological analysis.
Zuly Qodir of PP Muhammadiyah said the country’s second biggest Islamic organization “must consolidate” so it could move faster in responding to national issues. “Otherwise, any decisions of the Muhammadiyah leaders will not be followed by their supporters on the grassroots level.” (ebf)
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