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Jakarta Post

Megawati warns of 'hatred' and 'intolerance' in ministry mosques

  • Marchio Irfan Gorbiano

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, December 4, 2019   /   03:48 pm
Megawati warns of 'hatred' and 'intolerance' in ministry mosques Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the fifth PDI-P congress in Sanur, Bali. (JP/Zul Trio Anggono)

Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri has warned about the dangers of "radical" sermons in mosques at government institutions in her capacity as head of the Agency for Pancasila Ideology Education's (BPIP) steering committee. 

Speaking to members of the BPIP at the State Palace on Tuesday, Megawati said she had raised concerns to several kiai (Islamic teachers) as well as former vice president Jusuf Kalla, who heads the Indonesian Mosque Council.

"We know that the many of our mosques, even in the ministries, have been exposed [to radicalism]," she said. "I have asked the kiai, my seniors, 'Are mosques a place to express hatred, destructive ideas and intolerance?'"

Megawati said she had asked Kalla to ensure that radical preachers were not allowed to give sermons in mosques.

"[I said to Kalla,] 'Please pak, don't allow our people to only be exposed to hatred. Our people need spiritual fulfillment, but that's what they get,'" she said. "What if what is happening in the Middle East happens to us? Who will stop it?"

Megawati's comments come amid a government drive against radicalism.

In the past weeks, the government and various ministries have issued a regulation that sets out criteria for those "vulnerable to being exposed to radical views," and a joint decree that prohibits civil servants from posting, liking or sharing opinions that "contain hate speech against Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, NKRI [the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] and the government."

Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi recently issued a ministerial regulation that required majelis taklim (Quran study groups) to be registered with the ministry.

A 2017 survey conducted by Jakarta-based pollster Alvara Research Center found that about 20 percent of civil servant respondents did not believe in Pancasila, while a 2018 study on mosques around ministry and state-owned enterprise (SOE) offices found that 41 percent had spread radical ideas during Friday sermons. (kmt)