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Synergy between BNPT and Ulama to Prevent Radicalism and Terrorism Ahead of the 2024 Election


By : Mujirazak Davesta )*

The 2024 election is an important moment for the Indonesian nation. However, facing the elections, we must also remain alert to the threat of radicalism and terrorism which could disrupt the stability of the country. In an effort to maintain security and order, synergy between the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) and the ulama has a central role.

The political years will be the headlines for the next year, because on February 14 2024 elections will be held. Elections are a big event which is held every 5 years and the people look forward to it enthusiastically, because they want to find new leadership candidates. Since the reform era, Indonesian citizens have been free to choose their own presidential candidates. This election we will see a new round of political parties.

However, ahead of the election there is potential for disruption from radical and terrorist movements. Vice President KH Ma’ruf Amin stated that various efforts to prevent acts of terrorism had been carried out and the results were positive. The number of attacks (terrorism) has continued to fall since 2019. According to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI), Indonesia is ranked 24th on the list of countries most affected by terrorism, or in the medium category. In this case, various efforts have been made, especially by the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), including collaborating with ulama.

The importance of this synergy cannot be underestimated. Ulama, as religious leaders who are respected in society, have great potential to influence the attitudes and behavior of the people. By synergizing with BNPT, they can become agents of peace and overcoming radicalism. Providing a correct understanding of religious teachings and the negative consequences of terrorism is key in this effort.

Secretary General (Sekjen) of the Mathla’ul Anwar Executive Board, KH Oke Setiadi stated that the policy of the leaders at BNPT to collaborate with ulama and kiai, was a very appropriate policy. Because actually the task of the ulama and the task of the BNPT is to guide society and maintain the integrity of the nation and state.

KH Oke Setiadi also added that collaborating with the same task would make program implementation easier to achieve maximum results. Even though there are differences in mission and principles between BNPT and the ulama in their work, if they can understand each other, it will result in extraordinary collaboration.

BNPT continues to develop education and training programs for ulama. This includes increasing understanding of radical ideology, terrorist recruitment techniques, as well as prevention efforts. With this knowledge, ulama can detect signs of radicalism and provide correct understanding to their followers.

Apart from that, BNPT also facilitates constructive interfaith dialogue. Encouraging dialogue between leaders of different religions can help build a better understanding of pluralism and tolerance. This will be a strong defense against radical efforts to divide society.

Head of BNPT Community Development Sub-Directorate Colonel (Pas) Sujatmiko asked deradicalization partners or former terrorism convicts (narcotics) to be wiser in responding to the diversity that exists in Indonesia. He stated that even though different ideas in practicing religion are normal, it should not become hostility between us. Therefore, if there are still differences of opinion, it is better to discuss them well because those who are different are actually both seeking goodness, meaning they are both seeking salvation in the afterlife.

Collaboration between BNPT and ulama could also involve more active public campaigns. Through Friday sermons, lectures and social media, anti-radicalism messages can be conveyed widely. This is important considering the large influence that ulama have in society. 

With strong synergy between BNPT and ulama, we have a greater opportunity to prevent radicalism and terrorism which could disrupt the democratic process in the 2024 elections. We need to maintain the security and stability of the country so that the election process runs smoothly and fairly, and the people can choose leaders calmly and without threats of terrorism. This synergy is not just the responsibility of the BNPT or ulama, but is a collective responsibility to maintain the peace and integrity of Indonesia.

We must also be able to play a role in ensuring that deradicalization partners truly stay away from the virus of radicalism. The reason is, the virus is what makes them have to deal with the law and is not in accordance with the noble values ​​of the Indonesian nation. Deradicalization partners need to eliminate legitimate anti-government attitudes. A legitimate government means that it was established in accordance with the agreement of the entire Indonesian nation. Therefore we need to respect it with good criticism.

)* The author is Ruang Baca Nusantara 

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