Freedom from Ignorance

Oct 20th, 2009, in News, by

State imposed religiosity and conformity, or freedom from woeful ignorance of holy texts.

Some areas in the country that are deliberating laws to require knowledge of the Quran and ability to read it.

Bangkalan & Sumenep, Madura

Two towns in Madura, East Java, are considering whether to require primary and junior high school students to not only be able to read the Quran but also to memorise.

A local parliamentarian in Bangkalan, Safiuddin Asmoro, however says requiring memorisation is going too far, and that simply being able to read the book is the best option.

Not all children in the city attend madrassas, says Safiuddin Asmoro, and it is unreasonable to expect them to memorise the Quran. suaramerdeka

We appreciate the suggestions regarding memorisation but now is not the right time.

Lubuklinggau, South Sumatra

The local parliament of Lubuklinggau is preparing a similar law, but one that will apply to all residents of the town from school age children up, a “free of ignorance of the Quran” bill, says a local government official.

Citizens will, theoretically at least, be required to be able to read the Quran from childhood until old age, so that social ills can be combated through increased awareness of religious values, especially considering the fact that teenagers these days were given to drug use, free sex, disobedience, and truancy, all proof that religious values needed to be reinforced by law. antara


While in the city of Gorontalo, Sulawesi, an existing law that requires all Muslim city public servants to attend Quranic study sessions on Fridays, is said by mayor Adhan Dambea to have not been a huge success:

There are still Muslim employees who can’t read the Quran.

The law would be applied with renewed vigour said the mayor, and no-one would be allowed to get out of their Quran reading obligations on Friday afternoons. If necessary teachers would be called in to give special instruction for those who still struggled with the Arabic tongue, he said. antara

A similar law in Depok, near Jakarta, requires reading and writing ability in Arabic, also.

41 Comments on “Freedom from Ignorance”

  1. Oigal says:

    Don’t Indonesians have a constitutional and democratic right to be ignorant of certain things if they want to be?

    Until that right tramples the rights of others ..yup

  2. fanglong says:

    Could Omniscience be a constitutional duty & ignorance a political prohibition ? Freedom is always invasive, & such is life.

  3. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Dear All,

    It is ironic that these Bules, such as Mr. The Oigals, speak of ignorance and how it harms.

    How many Bules are ignorant of:

    * The cinematic achievements of Barry Prima in the 1980s ?

    * The athletic achievements of Barry Prima in the 1980s ?

    * The Pancasila ?

    * Keroncong ?

    * The suffering of Iis Dahlia to get where she is ?

    Seksi Friend,

    I put it to you, the Bule’s quality of mercy, is limited. If he doesn’t know Dangdut, how can he know life ?

    I thank you.

  4. Oigal says:

    It is ironic that these Bules, such as Mr. The Oigals, …..speak of ignorance and how it harms.
    If he doesn’t know Dangdut, how can he know life ?

    Ah most unfair Assmad..To quote a very famous black singer and spiritual guru “Why are people so unkind”

    Not only am I a major supporter of Dangdut, but I believe it should be compulsory for all women under 35. Perhaps on a Friday when the believers are otherwise occupied?

    Nothing like a bit of competition for the attention of the masses to sharpen your act.

  5. ET says:

    Patung said

    Of course people in Gorontalo are already Muslim but learning Arabic may serve to cement or strengthen their affiliation, that is likely the whole point….

    Indeed. Creating a bond is what this entire purpose is all about. The old us and them syndrome. If we all speak the same language then we all will understand each other and together we will be strong and united against the jews or the pervert white infidels or any foe our leaders want to turn us against.

    One of the most efficient tools in nation-building is the use of the same language. This is why the Indonesian founding fathers put so much effort in the promotion and general use of bahasa Indonesia throughout the archipelago. The US would equally never have risen to the status of superpower without the general use of a common language for the various ethnicities of its immigrant population. Vice versa it can be said that countries that were created simply for regional strategic and political reasons without a common language – a country like Belgium comes to mind – never succeeded in creating a strong national identity and continuously struggle with community issues.

    What goes for nations is likely to be valid for other social ideologies. So the point of general knowledge of Arabic for the sole purpose of better understanding the religious values of the koran is nothing but a fallacy and public deception unless it serves the purpose of brainwashing its adherents into the mental Einheitwurst that Islam is supposed to be.

    @ timdog

    So if Islamisation is already a given, something that already is there, like it or not, wouldn’t it be better for those “Islamised” people to then have authentic, independent, personal access to their religion without requiring the use of Saudi-funded translations in which the most aggressive phrase is always chosen where there’s an ambiguity, and in which even more beligerant “notes” are sometimes provided, and therefore also to be less suceptible to the malignant influence of “learned men”?

    Just a thought on my part but how many people from the backward places like downcountry Pakistan or Javanese kampungs would you think will be enticed to use their newly acquired prowess in Arabic for a better understanding of the koran if imams and other so-called scholars are still navel-gazing about the meaning of its individual suras and ayats?

  6. fanglong says:

    Couldn’t have worded it better than ET !

    Al hamdu li-llaah wa ‘aleykum us-salaam !

  7. deadale says:

    Everyone can read the qur’an, arabic just like any languange must be learned so you can read it.. you learned your languange first before you were able to read it, right?

  8. indonesiabraveheart says:

    a religion is just a religion just like a tradition is a mere tradition … It means doing a lot of things to be conformed to the values which other believers in the community holds … Am I right ?? Soon you’ll find yourself keep doing the routines … praying etc. …

    I think one should get himself/herself find the true meaning of his/her belief by get his/her belief unwrapped out of the tradition which have wrapped directly or undirectly the belief itself since the first historical time it came out from …

    The desire should come from the believer’s heart first … religion won’t change you by doing its routines …

  9. Odinius says:

    Ahmad said:

    How many Bules are ignorant of:

    * The cinematic achievements of Barry Prima in the 1980s ?

    Not for long…the whole Barry Prima collection has just been released on dvd, in North America at least.

    Funny review:,30915/

  10. jen says:

    I don’t understand why the government have to have anything to do with a person’s religiosity. I already think religion just another form of politic. Nobody should interfere with such thing… it’s way too personal!

  11. Fawzia says:

    Reading the Quran in Arabic has historically had horrible effects, Saudis inspite of all that oil, is really no beacon of development or women’s rights, the condition of the oil less Yemenis is pathetic.

    Inspite of the theocracy, we Persians are better off in many ways, why Arabic which is supposed to be such a great language, couldn’t even retain the “P” in Persian, so our language had to be called Farsi! 😉

    Some of the best Muslims are the Turks, who abandoned the Arabic script in favor of Westernization, its far more developed than the ME. Another great place is of course the Melayu Indonesians & Malaysians, which like much of SE Asia is quite gender equal nothwithstanding Islam, yet even that erodes as Islamic influence spreads.

    As Marina Mahathir said, Malay Muslimahs in Malaysia are like second class citzens compared to the non Malay women, who’d have thought Melayu women would be second class anywhere compared to these! 😉

    The best Muslim places aren’t those who learnt to read & write Arabic fluently, but places like Turkey, which tried their best to marginalize Islam & replace the Arabic script, or better still, places like Kazakhstan & Azerbaijan which were purged of Islam via Communism!

    Islam as the sole source of identity, or even the most important source of identity has had disastrous effects!

    Indonesia managed to do beautifully through the centuries when extremely few could read Arabic or go on hajj-it managed to retain the rights of women, non Muslims, freethinkers-indeed it did far better than the Arab literate nations,why destroy this happy situation via Arabic knowledge?

    Also, the modern world requires extensive knowledge of science, technology, business-Indonesians too need these skills to prosper-non Western nations like Japan, South Korea now increasingly China, India & Brazil are getting these skills, useless knowledge will only retard progress.

    The Quran doesn’t have anything, indeed lacks many things which the UN Charter of Human Rights has.

    My country Iran made the mistake of immersing itself in Quran & Islam, today it has the world’s biggest brain drain.

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