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Realize Peaceful Elections and Reject the Politicization of Religion


By: Haikal Fathan Akbar )*

Realizing peaceful elections, rejection of the politicization of religion is a very important thing for all elements of society to do.

The existence of a democratic party in Indonesia with the simultaneous holding of general elections (Pemilu) which will soon be held in 2024 has indeed started to beat with the start of the entire process of the stages of the 2024 Election, even since June 14, 2022.

Elections themselves are an instrument as well as a concrete manifestation of the implementation of the democratic system in Indonesia. The reason is, it cannot be denied that this nation is a country that adheres to a democratic system of government.

The beginning of this spark came from the founding fathers of the nation, one of which was the thought of Bung Hatta, in which he was the proclaimer of this nation. He stated that the democracy embraced by Indonesia is completely different from the democratic system adopted by systems in the Western model.

How could it not be, because people’s sovereignty in Western countries only occurs in the political realm, whereas when compared to Indonesia, people’s sovereignty itself also covers the social and economic fields.

Hatta deemed this distinction necessary, because democracy in the West was carried out within the framework of individualism, while economic life was controlled by capitalists who were still classified as a minority. On the contrary, Indonesian democracy is built from within everyday life in the countryside which places great emphasis on deliberation and consensus, people’s rights, the ideals of mutual help.

In the short period of time that Indonesia will soon hold a democratic election party in 2024, this must indeed be realized very well. Referring to how important the experience was during the 2019 General Election, there have been many important lessons about how vulnerable the people in Indonesia are to the swings of politicization that even the axes of power in this country deliberately play.

This fact is also exacerbated by the development and acceleration of the flow of information in today’s digital and sophisticated world. Related to this, Lecturer in International Relations at the Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta (UMY), Prof. Tutus Warsito stated that there was a polemic that occurred in the 2019 election because many things were interrelated.

One of them is the fragility of the new culture in communication practices, which has not yet been built up to now. On the one hand, there is actually a strong energy of interests working behind the political entrenchment that has made the 3 (three) series of elections very vulnerable to identity politics in the country.

Tutus Warsito alluded to the elite’s choice to use identity politicization as a means of political mobilization that violated almost all norms of social decency in society. 

With the practice of the politicization of religion still occurring, according to the academic there are at least 4 (four) things that show how high the pragmatism of the political elites in Indonesia is. Then the second thing is the very low political ethics in the country, third, there is still more critical power from the public so that identity politics is very easily manipulated and fourth is the weakness of social trust, the value of living together and social consolidation among citizens.

Meanwhile, the former Chancellor of Janabadra University (UJB) Yogyakarta, Prof. Cungki Kusdijarto revealed that in the upcoming 2024 Election, which will be the sixth democratic party after the Reformation, it turns out that they continue to face the same challenges, namely the potential for identity politics and also the politicization of religion.

According to him, if traced, indeed identity political sentiments, manipulation of information through hoaxes, politicization of places of worship and public institutions and even physical violence still occur. It cannot be denied that these various threats are real, especially with the increasing spread of hoaxes in the era of sophistication of information technology.

The many threats that occurred, according to Prof. Cungki turned out to be countered. The existence of identity politics turns out to be powerless if it has to face a public that is indeed resilient to it. So it is very necessary to look for models and ways to build a society that is resilient to identity manipulation and politicization.

Some of them namely the guarantee of protection of the basic rights of citizens, especially regarding freedom of religion, then all parties must return to politics ethically. The community also supports the efforts of the KPU, the government’s Bawaslu and the security forces to be able to realize elections that are democratic and uphold Pancasila.

The politicization of identity, which includes ethnicity, religion, race and inter-group (SARA) must be firmly rejected by all Indonesian people. This is because Indonesia itself has a great deal of diversity, so it will be very vulnerable if matters concerning identity are actually used as a political weapon. Therefore, all elements of society must participate in realizing peaceful elections.

)* The author is a Vimedia Pratama Institute Contributor

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