Breaking the Chains of Religious Violence

By: Syamsul Arifin
A friend who was active as a program officer of The Asia Foundation (TAF) in Jakarta have expressed about the way John T. kegundahannya Sidel, a professor at the London School of Economic and Political Science, describes the situation in Indonesia of the 1990s until the 2000s in a book Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia, published by National University of Singapore's (NUS) in 2007.

According to friends who also frequently write Nurcholish Madjid thinking that, if you read the book Sidel, apparently, almost every inch of land in Indonesia full of puddles conflict, especially that triggered the issue of religious differences. Sidel selected titles can indeed give a negative impression on Indonesia. Notice the three words chosen Sidel on his main title; riots (riots), pogroms (premeditated murder against minority groups), and jihad.

As academics who are familiar with the tradition of rigorous research methods and theories in use, Sidel would have been accounted for and at the same reasons that could be debated at the moment to write and publish a book with that title. After all, in fact, conflict and violence because of religious considerations often appear in Indonesia not only in the timeframe had been a concern Sidel, but also to the present.

The most recent cases that immediately ignited the attention of many people is the event stabbing of three Christian congregations district Batak Protestant Church (HKBP) at Jalan Raya Quail, East Cottage, Bekasi City, recently. The things that happened is still in the Idul Fitri festivity was tested neutralized by Metro Jaya Regional Police Chief Inspector General of Police Pradopo East as a purely criminal act without any religious element. But, the statement of the Metro Jaya police chief is soon to get criticism from the Chairman of the Fellowship of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) Rev. Andrew Anangguru Yewangoe as it is considered to simplify the real issues.

Rejection PGI chairman of the Metro Jaya police chief's statement could be understood because of the location of the stabbing was reminded many people of events that never happened just a few days before the arrival of Ramadan. At that time, hundreds of people attacked the church HKBP Pondok Indah in East Bekasi. Common sense would easily associate it with the stabbing incident which happened before the conflict.

Violence Niragama

Each appeared on behalf of religious violence is always the classic question arises: Why is religion-as often happens in Indonesia, easily involved in the violence? From that question, we then easily repeat the expression of religious violence. While the phrase is commonly used sociologically, theologically it can be said is an expression that contains the same risk because the case by saying that religion justifies violence.

Of course that well aware of religious doctrine would reject these assumptions. Because, if explored in depth and honest, the presence of religion into the face of the earth, among other things, it wants to respond and provide fundamental solutions to human problems, such as relationships with other human beings, so far proceeded in harmony and in spite of the conflict have to live in various differences.

Therefore, it is reasonable if it appears a lot of rejection when there is a link the violence from the standpoint of pure religion. Refusal, for example, presented one of his priests and Catholic intellectuals, Prof. E. RJ fleet, in his book had just appeared, inter Dialogue: Historicity, Thesis, Struggle, Faces (2010). In this book, Romo-Fleet-so he was often addressed as saying that the struggle with violence (such as the destruction of places of worship and the attacks on other religious groups) is not a religion, but human subjects are religious.

Post-Theology and the Dialogue

Presumably, has long been our common understanding that violence occurs because of differences of religion in society. Religious violence is also in the realm of difference. But once again it was not caused by religion as such, but by the human subjects are religious. When compared to the violence caused by factors outside the religion, violence on the grounds of religion is the fastest-violence and invites reactions also lead to rapid escalation wider. The violence in Ambon and Poso is hard irrefutable facts.

Overcoming violence in religion as in the case of Bekasi is not enough just to use the theological approach and dialogue involving the various communities across religions. On a theological level, as revealed in inter-faith dialogue forums, all religious leaders have taken a consensus that all religions are anti-violence and promote peace. Such an agreement was obtained after doing the reading and interpretation in a more constructive to religious doctrine. If the level of theological dialogue and there is an agreement, which now becomes the most important agenda is to reinforce its support system (supporting system).

One of the pillars of theological agreement and the establishment of interfaith community dialogue is the government's firmness against the group who committed acts of violence that leads to anarchy. Only, dear, the government itself actually becomes part of the problem in the violence with conduct violations referred to by omission, ie do not do prevention letting and encouraging group of people to continue the violence. During the government's shaky and not firm, do not expect the chain of violence that the name of religion can be stopped. (*)

* The writer is a professor and deputy director of the Graduate Program Director Unmuh Malang


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