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Reject the Politicization of Religion in the 2024 Election


By: Alif Fikri )*

Elections are supposed to be democratic parties that don’t divide society, losing and winning is common in every competition. But that doesn’t mean using all means to win elections, for example, the politicization of religion is prone to polarizing society.

Please note that the impact of the politicization of religion only produces damage. Apart from splitting society, the product of religious politicization will produce a failed product.

            RI President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has also emphatically said that the Indonesian nation has felt the impact of the protracted politicization of religion, so there should be no more politicization of religion in the contest.

            Going forward, presidential candidates, legislative candidates and regional head candidates must be prepared to openly condemn the politicization of religion in the 2024 election. Everyone must learn from previous experiences, as President Jokowi reminded him.

            Only candidates who do not have qualified achievements and abilities let even cooperate with groups that play the politicization of religion.

            President Jokowi has also reminded the presidential and vice presidential candidates ahead of the 2024 elections. They were asked not to politicize ethnicity, religion, race and intergroup (SARA) ahead of the 2024 elections.

            Jokowi welcomes a debate on ideas, a debate on ideas to make this country better. But don’t let it heat up.

            Jokowi has repeatedly called for not to take advantage of religious issues in political contests. He reminded that the Indonesian nation had experienced the negative effects of the politicization of religion, as well as the politicization of ethnicity, race or class. So that the way of politics by exploiting the issue of SARA must be avoided.

            Meanwhile, in order to anticipate the politicization of religion ahead of the 2024 Election, the Coordinating Ministry for PMK collaborates with the Regional Office of the Ministry of Religion DKI Jakarta to hold a “Focus Group Discussion” (FGD) Strengthening Religious Moderation as Anticipation of the Politicization of Religion ahead of the 2024 Election year.

            Starting the FGD activities, the Head of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Religion, Cecep Khoirul Anwar expressed his welcome and thanked all the speakers and participants who attended.

            While the Acting Deputy for Coordinating Education Quality Improvement and Religious Moderation of the Coordinating Ministry for PMK Aris Darmansyah Edisaputra, when delivering the keynote speech as well as opening the FGD activities, stated that the government is committed to continuing to encourage the strengthening of Religious Moderation in the life of society, nation and state.

            He said that religious life must be guided by religious teachings that are cool, friendly, and promote tolerance, not those that are closed and exclusive.

            The government carries out Religious Moderation as one of the strategies in supporting the policy of developing religious harmony in Indonesia and addressing the existing diversity. This is in line with President Jokowi’s statement that Religious Moderation is the right choice and in line with the spirit of Pancasila in the midst of waves of extremism in various parts of the world.

            Democratic values recognize that differences and diversity are realities that must be accepted and celebrated. Because diversity will produce innovation and creativity is a positive energy for the progress of the nation.

            A moderate attitude in religion must be built and strengthened bearing in mind that there are a group of people who have excessive/extreme religious views, attitudes and practices, impose their will on religious interpretations accompanied by a religious spirit that is not in harmony with the love of the nation within the framework of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

            Activities to strengthen religious moderation in the form of FGDs, workshops and the like are certainly needed to target the grassroots, including the youth community, which generally has broad access to the internet and information.

            On a different occasion, Pramono Ubaid Thantowi as Internal Deputy Chair of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) highlighted the issue of freedom of religion and belief in the 2024 General Election.

            He said the issue of human rights violations related to freedom of religion would increase along with the closer political contestation.

            Pramono also said that he would highlight the candidates participating in the 2024 general election, from the legislative, regional head to presidential elections.

            On the other hand, the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) estimates that the practice of politicizing religion to gain votes in the 2024 election is no longer significant. The intensity of the practice of politicizing religion in the 2024 election is still below that of the 2019 election.

            The prevention director of the BNPT, Brigadier General Police R. Ahmad Nurwakhid, believes that the politicization of religion or the exploitation of religion for political purposes in the 2024 elections will be lower because the index for the potential for radicalism in Indonesia has decreased. He said that from 2020 to 2021, Indonesia’s radicalism potential index was recorded at 12.2 percent, a significant decrease compared to 2019 which reached 38.3 percent.

            It is estimated that the politicization of religion for the benefit of the 2024 Election will continue. Communities need to work together with the government to carry out prevention because the politicization of religion will trigger polarization in society, it is the politicization of religion that will experience distortion of information which makes it easy for people to hate each other against people with different choices.

)* The author is a contributor to the Nusa Bangsa Institute

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