Students Need to be Provided with Moderate Islamic Understanding

Media Indonesia, page 22

To counteract the growing phenomenon of intolerance and radicalism in school, moderate Islamic student organizations are requested to be proactive.  These organizations such as Nahdlatul Ulama Students Association (IPNU) and Muhammadiyah Student Association (IPM) need to go to schools in order to increase student understanding of moderate Islam.

The proposal was submitted by the Director of Maarif Institute Abdullah Darraz in a discussion entitled Strengthening Character Education in Response to Intolerance Challenge in Education at Kemendikbud, Jakarta, yesterday (Thursday, 6/4). He proposed the moderate Islamic student organizations venture into state and private schools providing guidelines on moderate Islam.

According to Darraz, IPNU, IPM and other moderate Islamic organizations could conduct activities together with students and schools such as seminars and visits to moderate Islamic institutions such as Muhammadiyah and NU.

Furthermore, he revealed his concern over the radical Islamic groups that are able to establish educational institutions and to build mosques and influence the local communities. They’ve been able to do that.  It should be desisted by approaching students.

Special Staff of the Minister of Education on Inter-Institutional Cooperation, Fajar Riza Ulhaq, agreed to the proposal. According to him, the more diverse student organizations involved the more possible to open space for dialogue to hone the skills of students in addressing differences. He said schools need regulations that allow that sort of thing. The problem is so far these students who are active in religious activities are only offered a single view even doctrinal that considers the views of others as deviating.

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