Abdul Khalik , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 11/26/2008 7:06 AM | Headlines
Most Islamic studies teachers in public and private schools in Java oppose pluralism, tending toward radicalism and conservatism, according to a survey released in Jakarta on Tuesday. The study shows 62.4 percent of the surveyed Islamic teachers, including those from Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah – the country’s two largest Muslim organizations – reject the notion of having non-Muslim leaders. The survey was conducted last month by the Center for Islamic and Society Studies (PPIM) at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta, involving some 500 Islamic studies teachers throughout Java.
It reveals 68.6 percent of the respondents are opposed to non-Muslims becoming their school principle and 33.8 percent are opposed to having non-Muslim teachers at their schools. Some 73.1 percent of the teachers don’t want followers of other religions to build their houses of worship in their neighborhoods, it found. Some 85.6 percent of the teachers prohibit their students from celebrating big events perceived as Western traditions, while 87 percent tell their students not to learn about other religions. Some 48 percent of the teachers would prefer for female and male students to be separated into different classrooms.
PPIM director Jajat Burhanudin said the teachers’ anti-pluralist views would be reflected in their lessons and contribute to growing conservatism and radicalism among Muslims in the country. “I think they play a key role in promoting conservatism and radicalism among Muslims nowadays. You can’t say now that conservatism and radicalism only develop on the streets like what has been campaigned by the FPI (the Islam Defenders Front), but rather deep within the education (system),” he said, referring to a radical Islamic group.
Jajat said such intolerance threatened the civil and political rights of citizens of other religions.
The survey also shows 75.4 percent of the respondents ask their students to call on non-Muslim teachers to convert to Islam, while 61.1 percent reject a new Islamic sect.
In line with their strict beliefs, 67.4 percent said they felt more Muslim than Indonesian. The majority of the respondents also support the adoption of sharia law in the country to help fight crime.
According to the survey, 58.9 percent of the respondents back rajam (stoning) as a punishment for all kinds of criminal and 47.5 percent said the punishment for theft should be having one hand cut off, while 21.3 percent want the death sentence for those who convert from Islam. Only 3 percent of the teachers said they felt it was their duty to produce tolerant students.
With 44.9 percent of the respondents claiming themselves members of Nahdlatul Ulama and 23.8 percent supporters of Muhammadiyah, Jajat said the two moderate organizations had failed to establish their values at the grassroots.
“Moderation and pluralism are only embraced by their elites. I am afraid that this kind of phenomenon has contributed to increasing radicalism and even terrorism in our country,” he said.