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  From: Indonesia Matters News Feed 
  Sent: Saturday, September 13, 2008 7:12 AM
  Subject: Indonesia Matters

        Indonesia Matters   
        God is Dead 

        Posted: 11 Sep 2008 06:27 PM PDT

        Indonesian students of Islam encountering western anti-orthodox 
religion philosophy.

        In an article from August 2008, Ahmad Sahidin, a former student of the 
Aqidah & Filsafat (Islam & Philosophy) faculty at IAIN (Institut Agama Islam 
Negeri) Sunan Gunung Djati (SGD) Bandung and now a teacher of the same 
discipline at IAIN, makes some reference to controversies at IAIN in 2004, 
where some students were recorded making provocative statements such as

          God is dead

        Achmad says that in studying Akidah & Filsafat students are taught 
about famous “western” objections to religious faith, such as those by German 
philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He says many pupils come from state schools 
and have little firm understanding of their Islamic faith, and are easily 
influenced by this new, secular, knowledge and like to show it off and appear 
cultured and clever.

        Further, the critiques of European philosophers, he says, were often 
directed against the hypocrisy of middle class people in Europe who affected 
religious belief but whose lives and actions ran against the principles of 
their religion. Today in Indonesia students can see parallels with this, with 
many people who acknowledge themselves as Muslim being corrupt, or in the 
existence of an extremely wide gap between poor and rich - hence the fondness 
for the expression “God is dead”, meaning something like “God is not in our 
lives (anymore)”.

        He defends IAIN Bandung against charges that it churns out atheists 
because of the contents of the Aqidah & Filsafat curriculum, instead he says 
most students’ Islamic faith is strengthened by encountering the objections of 
western philosophy. However he has gone to some lengths to ensure that the 
teaching of western ideas is firmly balanced by instruction in Islam.

        Finally he says the Cipadung area of Bandung, where IAIN is located, 
was once a “red” zone, there were no mosques, except on the campus. Now every 
neighbourhood unit (RT) has at least one mosque, and these mosques, and their 
attached kindergartens and study groups, are by and large run by IAIN 
graduates, he says, proof that the university is doing its job. [1]

        Anjinghu Akbar

        The “Anjinghu Akbar” video from IAIN, which Ahmad makes some reference 
to, was recorded on 27 August 2004, but has been here produced, edited and 
interpreted by a fundamentalist group. It shows some of the leaders of the 
faculty’s student association, Himpunan Mahasiswa Jurusan (HMJ) Akidah 
Filsafat, making speeches at an orientation session for 2,000 freshmen, whether 
as some kind of prankish introduction to the course, or otherwise.

        At the time police investigated the case [2] but as far as your scribe 
knows no prosecutions ensued.

          a.. ↑1 
          b.. ↑2 tempo 
        Tags: Bandung, IAIN, Islam, Islamic, Islamic Faith, Mosques, Religion, 
Religious, Secular, Students, Studying, Videos, West Java

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