Islamic Violence

Jul 29th, 2006, in News, by

A small percentage of Indonesian Muslims have carried out violence in the name of Islam and a large percentage say they are prepared to do so.

The Center for Islamic and Social Studies (PPIM), Pusat Pengajian Islam dan Masyarakat, carried out a survey on religion and violence in which was given the following results:

  • 0.1% have helped forcibly close illegal churches;
  • 14.7% were prepared to help forcibly close illegal churches;
  • 1.3% have committed “intimidation” against those considered to be blasphemers of Islam;
  • 18.1% support the murder of Muslims who converted to other faiths;
  • 20% supported the Bali bombings;
  • 40% were prepared to commit violence against those blaspheming Islam;
  • 44% were prepared to wage jihad on threatening non-Muslims;
  • 61% supported the waging of jihad on threatening non-Muslims;

The survey was conducted in March 2006 and was done with 1,200 Muslims in 30 of the country’s 33 provinces. The results were given during a seminar called “Agama, Budaya Kekerasan dan Demokrasi”, Religion, Culture of Violence, and Democracy at the State Islamic University in Jakarta.

Referring to the 0.1% figure PPIM researcher Jajat Burhanudin said:

The percentage looks very small but it is very high in its real figure when you note that 85 percent, or 200 million, of the country’s 230 million population are Muslims.

This condition has helped terrorists easily recruit new comrades and makes the country a fertile ground for sectarian radicalism.

Interestingly, for its honesty and openness, he said that a simultaneous study on the reasons for the results found that Islamic teachings themselves, and what he called “Islamism”, made the most significant contributions to violent behaviour, both in the domestic and public spheres.

The more Muslims give their support for certain Islamic teachings legitimizing the use of violence, the more violence will happen.

He noted that between 30 and 58% of respondents approved of amputation of the left hand for thieves and the stoning to death of rapists, as well as other tenets of sharia law, and opposed the election of non-Muslims for president. (see also Support for Sharia & Islamic Radicalism.)

Simplistic understanding of Islamic teachings and the introduction of so-called “yellow books”, detailing Islamic law and regulations in Islamic boarding schools, contributed to the emergence of hardline groups, the issuance of sharia by-laws and created hostility towards non-Muslims, he said.

He advised:

To end this, the government must take strategic steps to campaign for pluralism among the people and enforce the law to ensure legal certainty.

Others however were not so glum in their reading of the results, in terms of Islam’s share of the blame. Azyumardi Azra said the roots of the violence could not be blamed entirely on Islam, but also on the vengeful nature of some native cultures and common social and political problems, such as poverty, unemployment and political instability.

The country’s self-image of kindness, tolerance and hospitality must be questioned because local cultures are very close to violence.

However he did seem to admit that Islamic holy texts such as the Quran did sometimes advocate violence. Azyumardi, who is the rector of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Ciputat, Tangerang, suggested the need for the reinterpretation of those Islamic teachings that could be construed as promoting violence and the development of democracy through a campaign for pluralism and tolerance.

Besides, the country is in dire need of a strong government to create political stability and good governance and ensure the rule of law, while the development of democracy should not end with the general elections and local elections.

He warned that religious radicalism would become a dangerous threat unless good governance was in existence, laws were enforced and old religious doctrines were reformulated.


33 Comments on “Islamic Violence”

  1. funny says:

    You are missing the point Hassan.

    Just because the 80% doesn’t support bali bombings, it’s okay for the 20% to do it?
    Look what happen. The small percentage actually did bomb bali and did the 80% stop them? The small percentage hold demonstration for the vermins that did it, does the 80% hold one against them?

    And AAB, I agree with you in some parts………. the west did try to get us to their side but unfortunately, so is the islamists. No one knows who started it. Logically, it has to be the islamists – judging from the number of muslim in this country.

    “Nation building” sounds like a dream to me…… *sigh*

    A country where law prevailed, spending are transparent, free school and health care from our taxes, separation of religion from the state, etc, etc

    Man I wanna play that “why can’t we be friends” song now.

  2. Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Man I wanna play that “why can’t we be friends” song now.

    Play the song to those whose surviving members of Javanese whose family members were killed by the Dutch and the British. Remember what the Bules did in the nusantara. British helped Dutch and vice versa. Did your ancestors think they are Asian? Shame on you.

  3. funny says:

    Ha2. That bitter huh?

    Shouldn’t it be said to yourself?
    If you wanna live in the past then you have no business talking about the future. Moving on is not the easiest thing to do but usually being able to forgive is a sign of maturity.

    Did an adult always said, ‘remember when i accomplish this and that’ all the time without actually accomplishing anything right now? He will be a laughing stock of all of his colleagues. He did accomplish that a long time ago but is he accomplishing anything now?

    The past is history. It has little bearings on what we have in the future. It serves as a reminder of how weak WE are, NOT how evil THEY were. It’s our present that decides our future.

    You love the past that much? Then live in it, cry about it, think about it, blame it, revolves your life around it, heck, dream about it. But you don’t seem to learn from it.

    People like you, in discussion and the planning of the future, is useless. All you can come up is, “remember when they did that? Remember when they did this?” Instead of makin sure that we will be stronger that it won’t happen again, you choose to make sure that we remember whose fault that was.

    Go on. Keep blaming them. Tell me more about how evil they are. How greedy they are. Don’t ever look at us, coz if you do, then you might realize that we are responsible for it as well. And blaming is so much ever easier than caring right? Pointing your finger is so much ever easier than changing yourself right?

    “if we are weak then it’s their fault!” Really, it sounds logical to me.

    Funniest thing? One of my friend told me that indonesia has a “slave mentality” instead of a “master mentality”. Kinda get it now.

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