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Most Islamic studies teachers oppose pluralism, survey finds
Abdul Khalik , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 11/26/2008 7:06 AM |
Most Islamic studies teachers in public and private schools in Java oppose
pluralism, tending toward radicalism and conservatism, according to a survey
released in Jakarta on Tuesday.
The study shows 62.4 percent of the surveyed Islamic teachers, including those
from Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah - the country's two largest Muslim
organizations - reject the notion of having non-Muslim leaders.
The survey was conducted last month by the Center for Islamic and Society
Studies (PPIM) at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta,
involving some 500 Islamic studies teachers throughout Java.
It reveals 68.6 percent of the respondents are opposed to non-Muslims becoming
their school principle and 33.8 percent are opposed to having non-Muslim
teachers at their schools.
Some 73.1 percent of the teachers don't want followers of other religions to
build their houses of worship in their neighborhoods, it found.
Some 85.6 percent of the teachers prohibit their students from celebrating big
events perceived as Western traditions, while 87 percent tell their students
not to learn about other religions.
Some 48 percent of the teachers would prefer for female and male students to be
separated into different classrooms.
PPIM director Jajat Burhanudin said the teachers' anti-pluralist views would be
reflected in their lessons and contribute to growing conservatism and
radicalism among Muslims in the country.
"I think they play a key role in promoting conservatism and radicalism among
Muslims nowadays. You can't say now that conservatism and radicalism only
develop on the streets like what has been campaigned by the FPI (the Islam
Defenders Front), but rather deep within the education (system)," he said,
referring to a radical Islamic group.
Jajat said such intolerance threatened the civil and political rights of
citizens of other religions.
The survey also shows 75.4 percent of the respondents ask their students to
call on non-Muslim teachers to convert to Islam, while 61.1 percent reject a
new Islamic sect.
In line with their strict beliefs, 67.4 percent said they felt more Muslim than
The majority of the respondents also support the adoption of sharia law in the
country to help fight crime.
According to the survey, 58.9 percent of the respondents back rajam (stoning)
as a punishment for all kinds of criminal and 47.5 percent said the punishment
for theft should be having one hand cut off, while 21.3 percent want the death
sentence for those who convert from Islam.
Only 3 percent of the teachers said they felt it was their duty to produce
With 44.9 percent of the respondents claiming themselves members of Nahdlatul
Ulama and 23.8 percent supporters of Muhammadiyah, Jajat said the two moderate
organizations had failed to establish their values at the grassroots.
"Moderation and pluralism are only embraced by their elites. I am afraid that
this kind of phenomenon has contributed to increasing radicalism and even
terrorism in our country," he said