Thursday, January 29, 2009

City mosques reject Islamic formalization

City mosques reject Islamic formalization

Irawaty Wardany , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 01/30/2009 7:54 AM | Headlines

Most managers of mosques in Jakarta embrace a moderate brand of Islam and support the unitary state of Indonesia, a survey released Thursday reveals.

Only a few wish for Indonesia to become an Islamic state, it added.

The survey was conducted by the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture (CSRC) at Jakarta's Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University between November 2008 and January 2009. It surveyed 250 takmir masjid (mosque managers) in Jakarta.

“Some 88.8 percent of the respondents approve of Pancasila [state ideology] and [view] the 1945 Constitution as the best model for Indonesia. As many as 78.4 percent agree that democracy is the best system of governance for Indonesia,” CSRC research coordinator Ridwan Al Makassary told a press conference.

“However, we found a kind of split personality among the mosque managers. As citizens they support Pancasila as the state ideology for the country, but as Muslims they support the establishment of an Islamic country,” another CSRC senior researcher Sukron Kamil said at the same forum.

The survey reveals that 31 percent of the respondents agree that Indonesians should enforce sharia law, 56 percent reject the notion, and 13 percent did not answer.

Some 74 percent said they would not fight a government that refuses to implement Islamic sharia law and 14 percent said they would.

Some 74 percent did not agree that the main purpose of jihad was to wage war, and 15 percent said it was.

“On the question of whether violence is allowed to uphold amar ma’ruf nahi munkar [guiding people to the right path], 89 percent of the respondents reject it, 9 percent agree and the remaining 2 percent are undecided,” Ridwan said.

The study shows 75 percent reject that suicide bombing can be considered jihad, and 9 percent said it was acceptable, the study said.

However, when asked whether the state should have the authority to regulate Muslims’ dress code, a surprising 60 percent of the respondents said they agreed and 33 percent opposed the idea.

Also, 41 percent said they agreed the state should have the authority to regulate religious activities, 50 percent did not agree and 9 percent did not answer.

"Generally, the majority of mosques in Jakarta embrace moderate Islamic ideas and thoughts.

Nevertheless, among the total is a small number with a tendency toward increasing radical Islamic ideas," Ridwan said.

Masdar Farid Mas'udi of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country's largest Muslim organization, said mosques were often used by clerics to preach "provocative sermons", particularly aimed against people of other beliefs.

"Mosque preachers tend to create enemies and look for friends, while failing to bridge differences among other groups," he told a discussion at the launch of another study, which would survey mosques in other regions, and in particular those affiliated with NU, which is widely known as a moderate Islamic organization.

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