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Civis 002/2016

Radicalization in terms of silting, black-and-white attitude, promoting violence and often pictured full of thirst for worldly power, happens in every religion since back then. Not only between religions, but also “in clumps” of religion.

Throughout the period between the 10th to the 15th  century, the Crusaders War repeatedly occurred between Christians and Muslims around Jerusalem/ Darussalam. Memories of the atrocities in the Crusaders War are still imprinted in the people’s memories until now.

The 30-year war (1618-1648) between Christian Protestants and Catholics in Europe is one of the most devastating battles. With the principle of cuiusregio, eiusreligio (his religion – his country), the authorities forced everyone in their territory to hold the religion of the ruler and to participate in the war to seize lands.

In parts of Europe, the adherents of Christian “cult” are hunted and many fled to the new continent, America.

The war between the followers of the Sunni with Shiite happened for a long time. In the the Middle East region, through a war of Yemen, Iraq and Syria, Saudi Arabia’s Sunni fought with Iran’s Shiite, in order to declare which teachings is the ultimate truth, and to fight for lands rich with oil.

Religion in one place is often considered to have been tainted by the values and local traditions thus needed to be purified. Violence, in order to “purify” the definition and implementation of religious teachings, have occurred throughout history and in various places. Arseny in the name of religion against those accused of heresy and those accused of conspiring with the devil are found in history. Similar actions are also happening on the country. The Wahabiyah Movement led by Tuanku Imam Bonjol in West Sumatra in the nineteenth century, known as the Padri war, left a deep wound among traditional Muslims and non-Muslims in North of West Sumatra, South Tapanuli and North Tapanuli.

Bloody wars in the name of religion, or more precisely utilizing religion, is also common. Among them is the Ambon and Poso contention, which caused a lot of casualties among both Christians and Muslims.

On a lighter note, mainstream Christians has also pressured followers of Jehovah’s Witnesses and urged the government to ban the movement, similar with the attitude of some Muslims towards the followers of Shia and Ahmadiyya. (continued)

(This paper was presented by the writer in “Building Interfaith Collaboration in Overcoming Radicalism” session, in the Strategic Forum of Church and Politics, in Jakarta, June 2-4, 2015).

Drs. Jakob Tobing, MPA

Drs. Jakob Tobing, MPA

President, Leimena Institute

Jakob Tobing is one of the most prominent architects of the new democratic Indonesia. He played an instrumental role in Indonesia’s transition from the authoritarian rule to democracy in 1998. He was then entrusted as the Chairman of the 1999 National Election Committee and the 1999-2004 Parliamentary Commission on the Constitutional Amendment – the two important bodies that decisively replaced authoritarianism with democracy in Indonesia. Under his leadership, the constitutional amendment has guaranteed the principles of democracy, rule of law, and human rights, which is now seen as a model by many other countries. He was a student leader against the old order in 1966, appointed as member of parliament in 1968, and became the Vice Chairman of the ruling party during the Suharto’s regime. But during the height of the authoritarian regime, he joined the opposition and was invited to join and establish the reform PDIP party by its Chairman Megawati Soekarnoputri, who later became the President of Indonesia. President Habibie decorated him with Mahaputera Utama medal in 1999. After more than three decades as a member of parliament, in 2004 he was appointed as the Indonesian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, a leadership role which again he performed so outstanding that the Republic of Korea awarded him the Gwanghwa medal—the country’s highest diplomatic award. He received his graduate degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA.