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Religious Moderation Key to National Unity


By: Ismail)*

Indonesia is a large country consisting of various ethnic groups, nations and religions. To maintain unity from these various differences, a moderate attitude, especially in religion, needs to be put forward.

Mahfud MD as the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Human Rights said the importance of religious moderation as the key to national unity. Religious moderation means understanding and practicing religious teachings without being extreme. Mahfud mentioned the extreme right, which is a very rigid understanding, while the extreme left, which is a very liberal understanding of religion.

We must know that the life of the nation in Indonesia is not only built by people who adhere to Islam as the majority religion, but also people who follow other religions. Moslems cooperate closely with adherents of other religions in developing national life, creating religious tolerance and moderation. All these steps have resulted in a positive and peaceful life in Indonesia these days.

Mahfud also said that after independence, various large organizations such as Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, including the Indonesian Islamic Da’wah Council, established various educational institutions from elementary school to university levels, provided scholarships and established hundreds of hospitals throughout Indonesia.

He also added that Muslims and other religious communities in Indonesia have an important role in building and cultivating the values ​​of tolerance and moderation of religious life. This is an important element in gluing the unity of the nation and maintaining the unity of the Indonesian nation.

Moreover, in preventing the development of foreign ideologies that are not in accordance with the values ​​of Pancasila, the role of NU, Muhammadiyah and the Islamic community and other religions is very much needed. That is why religion and inter-religious life in Indonesia are very strategic in building inclusiveness, tolerance and moderation as shared values ​​in the life of the nation.

If you refer to the memory of the post-new order, the Indonesian nation has also entered a new phase, namely a phase where freedom is getting stronger, the faucet of freedom seems to be transformed into unlimited freedom. This freedom has become a radical force, both left and right.

At that time Wahhabism suddenly overflowed, starting from campuses centered on campus mosques, even fostering radicalism, distorting religious interpretations and the ideals of establishing an Islamic State of Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the radicalist movement continues to delegitimize Joko Widodo’s government. Incitement and hoaxes are their daily menu with religious packaging. They seem to want to build a narrative as if the Joko Widodo government is hostile to Islam and Ulama. Whereas as we know, the vice president of the Republic of Indonesia is a cleric who has served as the highest leader in NU who has clearly represented Islamic values.

We also cannot close our eyes that the problem of intolerance that occurs in Indonesia is still a serious problem. This puts the Indonesian people in a difficult situation and can trigger conflict and violence, both offline and online. In 2022, it is time for this nation to end conflicts between tribes, any different religions wrapped in intolerance.

In Latin “moderation” means moderate. Meanwhile, in the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), the word moderation has the meaning of avoiding violence or avoiding extremes. This word is taken from the word “moderate” which means an attitude of always avoiding extreme behavior or disclosure and a tendency towards a middle way.

While the word “moderator” means a person who acts as a mediator (judges, referees and so on), the leader of the session, whether it’s a meeting or discussion who becomes the director of the talk event or discussion of problems. So when the word “moderation” is juxtaposed with the word “religious”, this term has the meaning of referring to an attitude of reducing violence or avoiding extremes in religious practice.

Moderation and moderation can be interpreted as a good adult attitude and is indispensable for the unity of the Indonesian nation. With the appreciation of religious moderation, it will increase the attitude of tolerance which can be a chain that binds diversity in the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia.

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

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