Jakarta Globe and Suara Pembaruan
Indonesia is set to enjoy the benefits of a "demographic bonus" – a
large productive population – until 2030, but it has its work cut out to
prevent radicalism and intolerance from spreading among its young people. If
the government fails with this project, it is feared that the much-hyped bonus
can quickly turn into a huge disadvantage.
Matraji, a coordinator for the Network for Indonesian Education Watch (JPPI),
said a survey released by Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University's Centre
for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM) showed intolerance and radicalism
remain serious threats for Indonesia's youth.
JPPI is a
youth education non-governmental organization and PPIM is the research unit of
the Syarif Hidayatullah University.
respondents for the survey were Muslim teachers and students. Results showed
that around 63 percent of the Muslim teachers and 57 percent of the Muslim
students were intolerant of other religions.
if the government fails to pay serious attention to the problems of intolerance
and radicalism, Indonesia can soon say goodbye to its demographic bonus.
Intolerance to Radicalism
than intolerance, the survey also showed nearly half of the Muslim teachers
have opinions that can be considered as radical," Ubaid told Suara
Pembaruan, Jakarta Globe's sister publication.
criticized the government of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo for not
paying enough attention to school conditions, the state of the national
curriculum and the movement of radicalized young people.
to Ubaid, a radical mindset has infiltrated many top government agencies and
officials are at a loss to prevent its spread.
[the intolerant officials] are used to playing roles [to disguise their
radicalism]," he said.
government had disbanded hardline Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia in 2017
for "threatening national unity and the state ideology Pancasila."
the organization does not officially exist anymore, observers like Ubaid
believe their former members remain active and many of them have infiltrated
schools, universities, government institutions and also mosques.
the government should collect intelligence on schools and classify them
according to how much they have been exposed to intolerance and radicalism.
government should also make sure that all schools teach Pancasila to their
also screen teachers during the recruitment process for radical tendencies.
Spectre of Identity Politics
a lecturer and former rector of Yogyakarta State University, said the
government has already made some efforts to get young students to respect the
values of tolerance and diversity through its Civic Education program.
is now a compulsory subject in schools. Some of its materials are also taught
as part of religious studies and extra-curricular activities like scouting.
Rochmat said schools still don't pay enough attention to what teachers and
students do after school hours, which leaves gaps for them to get radicalized.
to him, one way to prevent radicalization is by appealing to the students'
nationalistic sentiments. That's why Rochmat has proposed a program to the
government to revive a Pancasila-based character education program in the
national curriculum. In the last
presidential and legislative elections, politicians battled for support from
Muslims, which make up the biggest group among the country's 260 million
these politicians, including the supposedly moderate President Jokowi, are not
above playing identity politics to win votes.
month's elections, observers say the spectre of identity politics is still
hanging over the country and there is a real danger it will be exploited by
it unsurprising that moderate Muslims are turning back to Pancasila to shield
themselves and their children from radicalization.
a lecturer at Paramadina University, home to many moderate Muslim scholars,
said schools are not the only insitution responsible for protecting young
people from the dangers of radicalism. Communities and families also play a
echoed Ubaid's concerns that Indonesia must ensure its future leaders will not
turn radical. The country has to take advantage of its demographic bonus by
making sure young people of different ethnicities, religions and races can work