Rector of UIN Jakarta: Religion must be free from politicization

Main Auditorium, UIN News Online — As the five-yearly democratic event, the General Elections (Pemilu) 2024, approaches, religion should be positioned as the conductor of harmonious national life and not be used as a tool for politicizing specific interest groups. Academic community and religious figures are also expected to engage in positive campaigns to prevent religion from being dragged into the realm of politics.

The statement was conveyed by the Rector of UIN Jakarta Asep Saepudin Jahar, following the upcoming 2024 elections during the National Seminar of the Faculty of Da’wah and Communication Science (FDIK) titled “Literasi Media dan Politik Jelang Pemilu 2024: Mitigasi Konflik SARA dan Penguatan Partisipasi Warga”, held at UIN Jakarta’s Main Auditorium, Tuesday (05/23/2023). Referring to past election experiences, he stated that the politicization of religion for the interests of specific political groups often occurs.

“In the context of Indonesia, as experienced in the 2014 and 2019 elections, as well as the upcoming 2024 election, this indicates a tendency of certain groups to engage in such practices. Undoubtedly, addressing this issue becomes a crucial task that needs to be prioritized,” said Asep.

Rector hopes that all parties will exercise restraint and refrain from using religion as a tool to pursue specific political interests. “Therefore, in the democratic process of the 2024 elections, religion must be free from politicization,” he emphasized.

The Rector explained that religion encompasses several important aspects, such as institutions, holy textt, congregations, and mobilization. Holy texts play the most integral part in shaping the religious perspectives and beliefs of individuals and religious groups.

However, holy texts are often subject to interpretation, which can lead to polarization due to differing interpretations. “If we do not establish a proper understanding of religion, the interpretation of religious texts can become a catalyst, giving rise to fanaticism and resulting in polarization,” he explained.

Therefore, in the context of media and political literacy, he clarified that religion needs to be positioned as a driving force for a harmonious and inclusive national life, promoting unity and peace. “Religion should not be used as a tool to promote or support specific parties or candidates, leading to animosity towards others. This is where moderation comes into play,” he explained.

Additionally, Asep also added that academic community and religious leaders need to continue their positive campaigns to prevent excessive political polarization. This can be achieved by positioning religion as an important aspect of politics, but not solely as an instrument for garnering votes.

“Finally, as an academic, in the context of campaigns and socialization, I hope that all parties can communicate using respectful language in order to eliminate the use of religious verses or doctrines to oppose other groups,” said Asep.

In addition to the Rector, several national figures attended the same event, including the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Mahfud MD. (zm/usa)

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