Universities pledge to shun radicalism on campuses

The Jakarta Post, page 5

Thousands of students and scholars from 16 universities and higher education institutions in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) flocked to Nostalgia Park in the province’s capital of Kupang on Thursday where they announced a declaration to reject all forms of radicalism on campuses.

The event was held amid growing concern over the rising influence of radical Islam especially after non-active Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was found guilty of blasphemy on Tuesday. Many are concerned that the verdict against Ahok, who is a Christian of Chinese descent, could embolden hard-liners to commit intolerant acts.

The declaration was read out by Fredrik L Benu, the rector of Nusa Cendana State University in Kupang. He said the declaration was made in response to the rising challenges to national unity. Fredrik added that there were small groups that had certain interests that could harm the Unitary Nation of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) as well as its diversity and pluralism.

Fredrik said the community of higher education institutions in NTT, say no to all forms of intolerance and radicalism at all state-owned and private campuses in the province.

In Bandung, the Ansor Youth Movement (GP Ansor), the youth wing of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), has called on its members across Indonesia to be wary of radicalism and avoid vigilante acts against radical and intolerant groups.

Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, the chairman of GP Ansor, said the warning was necessary, especially given the intensifying discourse regarding radicalism following the government’s announcement that it would begin the procedure of disbanding the hard-line Islamist Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI).

Yaqut said there are steps to be taken as part of the legal process of banning HTI. He added that the government’s move should not be viewed as a form of repression of Islamic organizations because HTI is not an organization that carries out dakwah [Islamic proselytizing].

He said HTI clearly has a vision to take over the nation and make it an Islamic caliphate. They are not only against the values of [the national principles of] Pancasila but they also want to abolish the nation’s principles. Adding that GP Ansor members should stay vigilant over HTI’s attempts to recruit young Muslims.

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