Azyumardi Azra: Radicalism Will Be Difficult to Develop in Indonesia

159SPs, UIN News Online – Radicalism will be difficult to develop in Indonesia, This is due to the presence of several large Islamic organizations who are able to maintain the harmonization of religious life in Indonesia such as NU, Muhammadiyah,and  Al Irsyad.

This was conveyed by Prof Dr Azyumardi Azra, MA, CBE when giving a speech at the International Conference entitled “Southeast Asian Islam, Religious Radicalism, Democracy and Global Trends”, held by PPIM UIN Jakarta on 8-10 August 2017, last night.

According to Azra, Indonesia is not like Tunisia and Egypt. In Tunisia and Egypt where the population is not as large as Indonesia, the burst of radicalism will explode quickly. This is different when compared with Indonesia, about 88.2 percent of the 240 million Indonesians are Muslims.

“Because of this demographic factor, Muslims are the main factor of whether democracy is acceptable or not. Without their acceptance, democracy is difficult to grow or without their support, the transition and consolidation of democracy will be difficult to implement,” said Azra.

The problem is, although the climate of democracy in Indonesia is better than Tunisia and Egypt, but the economic growth in Indonesia is running quite slowly. This situation can also be seen more prominently when we compare Indonesia’s economic growth with Singapore or China.

“In China and Singapore, the democratic climate is no better than Indonesia. But growth and development in both countries are much better than Indonesia,” he said.

Presents 80 Researchers from 13 Countries

At the opening of the International Conference, Azra explained that the international conference will be held for two days on 8-10 August 2017 in 23 separate panels. The conference was attended by about 80 researchers from 13 countries. The panelists will discuss the threats and dangers of religious radicalism in Southeast Asia.

“Do not let the tragic events in Marawi, Philippines, occur in other regions. The conference was very special because the speakers were experts on contemporary religious issues in Indonesia and ASEAN, such as Prof. Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf, Dr. Sidney Jones, and Dr. Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin.” he added.

Meanwhile, Director of PPIM UIN Jakarta Dr. Saiful Umam said that the issue of religious radicalism should be taken more seriously.

“This conference is a proof that the world’s scholars and academicians are deeply concerned about Indonesia’s current condition and want to contribute to a better future for both Indonesia and ASEAN,” said Saiful. (usa)