Universities declare war on radical ideologies

The Jakarta Post, page 5

An alliance of state-owned universities in the eastern part of Indonesia has pledged to fight the growing threat of radicalism on campuses. The antiradicalism declaration was made at Hasanuddin University in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on Friday.

Twenty nine university rectors and leaders signed the declaration in a ceremony that was also attended by Research and Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir, National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Syafruddin and South Sulawesi Police chief Insp. Gen. Muktiono.

In the declaration, the university leaders said they were committed to upholding the national ideology of Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution and that they would reject any kind of extremist ideology on campuses.

Hasanuddin University Rector Dwia Aries Tina Pulubuhu said the declaration was meant to prevent radicalism and terrorism from entering campuses. “We want to reaffirm our commitment, which is to maintain the integrity and sovereignty of the Indonesian republic.”

Meanwhile, Minister Mohammad said radical ideologies had thrived on campuses, as university students could easily be influenced. He continued that in cooperation with the police, they are helping universities prevent radicalism and terrorism from entering their respective campuses, adding that stern action was needed to combat radical ideologies.

He argued that being stern did not necessarily mean that university managements would curtail academic freedom and strip students of their right to express their opinions. Students, he said, would be allowed to discuss radical ideologies, but they should not be allowed to be radicals.

Comr. Gen. Syafruddin concurred that there is not freedom to become a radical person, saying the National Police would not deploy personnel or intelligence officers to campuses as they were still considered safe.

He argued that the seeds of radicalism planted by the Darul Islam/Tentara Islam Indonesia (DI/TII) led by Abdul Qahar Mudzakkar had died and would not reemerge because generations had changed. However, he added, a new threat of radicalism had emerged. He said, the existence of the Islamic State [IS] group, which is now looking to Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, is cautious.

Separately, rector of Makassar State University, Husain Syam, said he would take stern action against students involved in radical or terror acts.

He said the students’ understanding about Pancasila needed to be improved through a Pancasila education program that had been carried out during the New Order Era.

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