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Religious Leaders Play a Strategic Role in Preventing Radicalism

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By: Abdul Khalik)*

Religious leaders have an important role in preventing the spread of radicalism in Indonesia. The reason is because they are respected by the congregation and their words have a great influence in society.

Radicalism should be wary of because it can undermine the country from within. People certainly don’t want Indonesia to turn into chaos like in Afghanistan or Syria, which were destroyed because of the actions of terrorist groups. Terrorism and radicalism must be eradicated because they are rebels and traitors to the state, because they do not want to believe in Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution.

To prevent radicalism, it is necessary for the participation of the community in assisting the government, so that terrorism and radicalism can be quickly eradicated. Religious leaders as community leaders play an important role in preventing radicalism. The reason is because the congregation must have listened to what was preached and then put it into practice, including an invitation to avoid radicalism.

The chairman of the North Kalimantan Terrorism Prevention Coordination Forum, Datu Iskandar Zulkarnaen, stated that religious leaders have an important role in fighting radicalism. In a sense, the preachers should preach and give positive messages to always worship, without having to deal with radical groups. Don’t even promote terrorism and radicalism.

People do respect religious leaders because they are considered as teachers who teach positive things, especially those related to worship and living a syar’i life. Therefore, religious leaders should lecture on peace and tolerance, and avoid the topic of radicalism and the caliphate. They enthusiastically continue to reconcile Indonesia in order to prevent conflict in the community.

Religious leaders should have understood that the caliphate and radicalism are forbidden because if you become a member of a terrorist or radical group, you will automatically become a traitor to the state. Therefore they assist the government in efforts to eradicate radicalism and terrorism. The goal is that Indonesia can be clean without any incitement from radical groups or the threat of bombing.

The topics that the speakers can choose to eradicate radicalism include peace and tolerance. Difference is not the thing to trigger war. Even the Prophet Muhammad preached in a very gentle way. Among them, he fed blind beggars every day, even though his religion was different. This is an example of tolerance that people should emulate.

People need to be taught to be tolerant because lately the issue of SARA (ethnicity, religion, race, and between groups) has risen again. In fact, the government is trying so that the issue of SARA is not brought into question, because if it flares up, it can trigger riots. People who hear lectures from religious leaders will try to be tolerant and continue to socialize as usual, even if their neighbors or friends are not of the same religion.

Datu Iskandar continued, North Kalimantan’s position was very vulnerable. The reason is because it is close to East Malaysia and the Southern Philippines. Both places are quite worrying because they were once inhabited by terrorist groups. Do not let them cross into North Kalimantan and then poison people’s minds and spread terrorism throughout Kalimantan, even Indonesia.

It is necessary to prevent terrorism and radicalism from spreading, and religious leaders can use da’wah containing religious moderation to prevent them. With religious moderation, people will worship and be religious in a moderate way, not extreme right or left. That way they don’t want to be persuaded by extreme right terrorism.

Religious leaders should help prevent radicalism and terrorism by preaching and spreading peace. With the active contribution of religious leaders, the spread of radicalism is expected to be minimized.

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

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