In the history of mankind, religious traditions have become second nature and been deeply rooted among people: Christianity to Europe and America, Islam to people in the Middle East, Confucianism to China, Buddhism to Thailand and Hinduism to India and other religious traditions. There are still other religious traditions I cannot mention all. In each area of high traditions we have also their accompanying low traditions.1There have been Catholicism and Protestantism traditions in Europe. The latter tradition has many religious denominations with their own traditions; in Middle East we have Sunni and Shiite Islam; Buddhism has Mahayana and Hinayana traditions, Sunni tradition in South Asia has many religious trends, not traditions, such Islamic organization as Ahmadiyah, Deoband, Barelwis, Jama’ah Tabligh, Taliban etc2 where people express their groups’ aspirations. In Indonesia, we have social organizations like Muhammadiyah, Nahdhatul Ulama, Persis, al-Wasliyyah, al-Khairat, Majlis Mujahidin Indonesia, Hizbut Tahrir, and Front Pembela Islam. The three latter organizations have not been classified into traditions. Besides, we can find Salafism, Wahhabism and the likes. They are more or less still the organizations for their members trying to build traditions different from the others.
It is really naive to ignore the existing religious traditions in the world, the West and even the East. They have their own rights to exist, their own ways to sustain and conserve in their own traditions and identities. Indeed, education is the most effective media to develop, sustain, maintain and conserve their traditions from generation to generation and from one century to the other or the others.
It seems that the most important problem the religion educators and socio-religious activists have to face in the current plural and multicultural era is that how each of the religious traditions can conserve, care for, preserve, transform and inherit their absolutely confessed beliefs and traditions along with their awareness of the other traditions’ existence with their same purposes and right. Beside their efforts to strengthen their identity and groups, what do the socio-religious educators in their traditions do in keeping togetherness, social cohesion and collective totality? If they realize them, what are the implications and consequences possibly implemented to the ways, methods, approaches and selected matters and to the techniques of teaching and learning applied to the open-plural-society in the present time? Are there still “rooms” to think at a glance and discuss with the current groups in the plural and multicultural society? Are there any alternatives to choose? If none, what are the implications? If any, what are the consequences? To me, this is the area and new space to solve so collectively that the certain groups’ rights of living, culture, and of life expectancy will not clash with the others’.
In the present global-plural-multicultural era, unpredictable and unimaginable things might happen any time. The New York’s World Trade Center bombing in September 11, 2001 and Bali high explosion are the clear and undeniable proof for this statement. The advance of science and technology, on the one hand, may result ease and comfort for human being. On the other hands, it may cause wider disparity on economic income level between the rich and the poor countries. The more advanced and sophisticated means of transportation have an impact on the loss of distance between one area of certain religious tradition bearers and the others. Cultural contacts tend to be faster while clashes of culture and tradition become unavoidable cases and there are nearly no more conventionally geographical boundaries. Through Internet, e-mail, facsimiles, telephone, mobile phone, videos and the likes, pupils tend to get knowledge earlier than their teachers using conventional ways and media.
It is true that the 20th century, mainly the 21st century have been marked by the emergence of religious revivalism. But now, everyone can repeatedly ask what kind of religious revivalism it was and is. Sociologists of Religion have tried hard to understand and explain what is really going on. What happened to former thesis saying that the more modern and functional the level of human culture is the more the religions will be left behind. The fact, unfortunately, says the opposite?3 The recent undeniable phenomenon was that the phenomena of religious revivalism in the world were followed by the appearance of primordial-sectarianism-radicalism aroma. Religious followers, whatever their religions are, have witnessed violence in the name of religion mushrooming in the rainy season.
Religion educators and socio-religious missionaries and activists are then surprised by the fact. There arise the following questions then. Why have the programmes of “transmission” and “conservation” on lofty and valuable religious values in many religious traditions changed into “intolerance” and “confrontation”? Why have the scientists in this more modern era tended to predict the emergence of “clash of civilization”?4 Has not the “modern” era been claimed as the most civilized one in the history of human civilization? The prediction could be right. The question is that why violence in the name of religion have appeared everywhere: in Ireland, Palestine, Ambon, Poso, Karachi, Chechnya, South Thailand, Madrid, Casablanca, Nigeria, Riyadh, former Yugoslavia and in Afghanistan? Why were, next to the change of political leadership like in Indonesia in 1996-1998, there riots frightening religious life?5 Why did “booms” explode everywhere? In Indonesia the people had witnessed boom explosions in Bali, in Jakarta (in Mariot and Kuningan), in Poso, Ambon and in other places. Was the network of violence a national or international one? If it was an international network, why was it too easy for the actors to contact each other relatively successful in committing violence with not so expensive cost? Is it right that modern technology makes human efforts easier, facilitate, accelerate and multiply in committing violence?
To me, these are the new agenda and programmes to be considered by religious followers, more especially by the religion educators, religious callers (da’i), missionaries and the pioneers and activist of socio-religious movements in general in the West and in the East as well. Why was religious followers’ individual and mainly collectively communal stamina so susceptible when socio-economic, socio-political and perhaps military interests penetrated them? Why was the religious followers’ stamina so weak that they were easily provoked? Why do powers of elite groups, socio-economic, socio-political and military interests in a certain level have to use and abuse “religion” when they want to run their big programmes successfully? We just wonder why they use religion as their “lackey” and “milk cow” to reach at their purposes beyond religious mission. Or has it been an undoubted fact since the past that “religious” entity cannot be separated from “political” one? Does the statement “addien wad daulah” (religion and state) in the mind of Muslim politician in the Middle East and elsewhere symbolize it like the one? As a result, is it easy for the socio-political power to manipulate religions? Had there been bases and seeds of violence coincidently taught to the religious followers when the long conservation process of religious values mentioned above were in progress? The questions will be traced and elaborated in order to give more knowledge to teachers, lecturers, religious callers, and religious missionaries (in all levels including socio-religious activists in the global-plural-multicultural era), social activists, researches, journalists, and politicians as well.
Violence in the name of religion: origin, strength and spread
The differences between Western (Abrahamic) religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and Eastern religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism) lie on the textual strength or revelation. Compared to the others, the strength of Orthodox Judaism, Protestantism and Islam lie on their holy scriptures. It does not mean that Catholicism and Judaism in general have no textual basis, as great religions usually have textual basis. All depend on their different strong consistency and rigidity.6 In terms of Anthropological perspective, the phenomena of revelation, Holy Scriptures, and texts or Nash (authoritative quotation) reflect a fact that the human culture at that time had been in the era of literate culture, and not in the era of non-literate any more. Really, it took long enough time for human culture to create symbols of characters as a means of communication, not only oral communication that also took time to reach at the level. Even, it also took time for human beings to change from an oral culture into a literate one. It was in the time when men knew literate culture considered by the Holy Scriptures as the use of characters to communicate that human expressions of ideas, beliefs or faiths appeared to the history.7
For the sake of religious practices, religious adherents -whatever their religions are- usually ignore the long historical process. When the literate culture emerged in the world, there happened automatically changes of way of thinking, interactions and of communication. Flexibility in the oral culture changed into rigidity in the literate culture in which there happened a more complicated process involving, among other things, the processes of collecting information by memorizing or in other ways, recording, editing and spreading selective information.8 The religious adherents in general assume that all of them are nonsense. Why? Not only is it caused by their beliefs that Holy Scripture is a verbatim divine revelation but also by their practical necessity. What the religious followers, mainly the elites having ideological interests and purposes and those who have routine profession (division of labour), need is to have an easily obtained “practical guide” which is instant and ready for use without having to trace the historical roots (asbab al-nuzul) of the verses.
The terms “ready for service” and “ready for use” show that there exist psychological aspects of hastiness, short cut, and of effective time in understanding the Holy Scriptures. When they look at and read the characters and sentences in the Holy Scriptures especially when they found verses suitable to their socio-political interests and subjective tendency, then they directly (without understanding the essential, substantive and contextual meanings of the verses) hold the verses as their norms of life, beliefs, faith, life guide, attitude former and even their social attitude. Hastiness and instant understanding shape life norms. Unfortunately, because of practical needs, the readers then make what he read as a codification, and hold it as a guide and consequently sustain it. After that, in a period of time, which could be one century or more, there possibly appeared reformers who repeatedly ask the relevance of the collectively and permanently agreed norms in the society.
- a. Literal-scriptural understanding and exclusive-apologetic attitude
It is a very easy thing to have a textual-scriptural understanding of the Holy Scripture. In Ulumul Qur’an (the Qur’anic Science) we can find the term munasabah al-ayat. This term indicates that a textual-literal-scriptural understanding of a part of ayat (or hadith) sounds incomplete; as to have a more complete understanding it is not compared with the other ayats yet. It is a kind of superficial textual-scriptural understanding because of lack of deeply comparable elaboration upon the others, which could be more understandable, different or even contrary, not to mention contradictory. It is also lack of a contextual elaboration, which needs sufficient historical and psychological analysis.
The textual-scriptural understanding tends to lead easily to an apologetic and exclusive social attitude. In the social context it is natural that there are other social groups having different views with our groups, criticizing, disagreeing with, and giving some critical notes on certain life style and way of life internally convinced to be the truest. Our social instinct will spontaneously refuse and react, or at least be defensive, hold tightly our ideas, beliefs and notion without any accurate examination and elaboration when other groups mainly other religious groups raise some criticisms or disagree with us. It is very often that when we have bad argument and are in a weak and slightly pressing position, we need a backing of our instantly understood Holy Book assumed to be ready for service and ready for use to make our position and argument legitimate and charismatic.
In terms of socio-religious life, two keywords will disappear immediately if someone and more specifically groups hold on textual-scriptural understanding strongly. The words are “compromise” and “consensus”. The other disappearing word is “negotiation”. To use Khaled Abou El-Fadl’s phrase, it seems there is no “negotiating process” in understanding the Holy Book for those literalist people.9 The first two words are the keywords important for social life in the plural, multireligious and multicultural era. Because of pushing interest to support individual and collective identities, a textual-scriptural religious understanding easily tends to play with words its in-depth meaning and accuse their opponent as “hypocrisy”, inconsistency, and weak faith and even into “unbelief”. How clear the difference between theological and sociological approach is. Literal-scriptural theological approach, of course, can help someone strengthen, emphasize and fortify personal and collective identities tightly, but at the same time the understanding may indicate how “weak” and “brittle” that kind of understanding of the others’ existence is.10
Not only can we find such kinds of position and understanding in religious denomination but also in other non-religious ones. It may be said that unintended consequences of literal-scriptural understanding of Holy Book shows someone’s and certain religionists’ viewpoints upon the existence of other religious denominations or other groups beyond their own groups. They cannot even think of their coexistence, let alone think of their pre-existence. Such psychological situation is very sensitive for any interest groups to play with and to use it.
Literal-scriptural religious understanding causes the seeds, roots, initial steps and forms of “violence” or religious violence, while exclusive and apologetic social attitudes11 are the derivation of the understanding. Then, it is not wrong that “Ilmu al-Kalam” (Islamic Theology) in the study of classical Islam, which is still known until now is defined in Islam as the science of divinity intended to “refuse any other religious system of faith.”12
So far, there is no problem at all. We realize that our social instinct and need have to strengthen and emphasize individual, mainly collective identities, and more especially religious denomination identity in a very strong basis no matter the way is. If necessary, we can use presumably normal way in a socially responsible rule. All social entities mainly religious ones need defence mechanism when there are the other groups’ disturbing criticism and attacks toward their individual and collective identities. If not, the nature of their individual and collective identities will fade up gradually. When will then the natural step develop and change into unnaturalness and discomfort and even lead to a more destructive-endangering thing for the living togetherness of mankind?
b. Mutual distrust among members of social and religious groups
In a social life, it is normal that three happen discontentment, disagreement and the likes. Any individual and group have the nature personality and basic nature character. The growth of their personal nature will depend on and in accordance with uneasily forgotten social attitudes and past historical burden they had and still have as the two factors have been well recorded in their collective memories, literary books and in documentary films as well.
The historical burdens we have experienced are among others: colonialism (the past Ottoman occupation in the part of Europe, Dutch’s authority over Indonesia), regional dispute or autonomy and economic disputes (like in Quebec of Canada as a past historical heritage of power struggle between England and French in North America), expulsion from mother land in Palestine, excommunication or exiles (Soekarno and Hatta were exiled to Digul; Zanana Gusmao to Jakarta; Nelson Mandela in South Africa), the existence of revenge against what happened in the unsatisfactory past time (crusades, jihad), areas occupation (East Timor, annexation of Kuwait by Iraq), regional disputes (Kashmir between India and Pakistan; Sepadan-Lagitan and the most recent Ambalat areas between Malaysia and Indonesia). These historical burdens will, more or less, widen, strengthen, sharpen and aggravate collective mutual relations all the time, not to mention forever. The unsound relation between two or three quarrelling sides will create uncontrolled accusation. A certain group, because of merely different opinion, will consider the others as “spies” and even enemies. Progressive intellectual groups were considered as agents of CIA (Fazlur Rahman in Pakistan); a hero of regional and cultural rights (Prince Diponegoro accused by the Dutch colonial regime); scientific works accused of a disturbing means of social community (Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid in Egypt),13 different epistemology in religious understanding (a case of al-Hallaj in the classical Islam, Sheikh Siti Jenar in Javanese culture); disputes in domestic political-economic influence (Mahathir Muhammad versus Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia); humiliation against a certain country’s or regime’s dignity and reputation (Salman Rushdie accused by Imam Khomaini, the leader of Iranian government) and so on. In Islamic literature quoted from the Holy Book mainly from the Islamic theology14 there have been many vocabularies, which can be not only interpreted theologically but also sociologically. The words are among others: unbelief (kafir), apostasy (murtad), hypocrisy (munafiq), denial (inkar), criminal (mujrim), tyrant (bughat) and the likes.
These attitudes finally disagreeing with and ignoring the existence of someone’s or others’ rights, if they grow rapidly will crowd and then create intolerant attitudes, hatred, anger, threat and discriminative actions. There in turns will grow lung illness called prejudice (su’u al-dhan) against those or other groups who have different ideas, faiths, sects and organizations. At the end, when all prerequisites are completed then distrust among individuals, family members, internal groups and of course mutual distrust will emerge.
When preparing this paper, I wished to check the Encyclopaedia of Religion. I was sure that the encyclopaedia published after the 1990s should have had the entry word “violence” in the vocabulary of religious language. If not, the encyclopaedia then did not follow the contemporary development of the history of religions. What I assumed was right. We can find a description on “violence” in religion. Here, I quote its complete description as follows:
Violence: An aspect of human behaviour often bound up with emotion (especially anger), which religions cannot ignore-and often express. Opinion is divided as to as where violence should be located along the nature – nurture spectrum. Those favouring natural process or psychodynamics theory hold that religious activities reduce violence if they function cathartically, but increase violence if they result in frustration. Those favouring cultural processes, hold that religious function as learning systems. It is pointed out that apparently non-aggressive societies are informed by religions, which function to instil peace by presenting the adverse consequences of violence. Aggressive peoples, on the other hand often live with aggressive religious ideologies.15
There are three implicitly concluded keywords:
(1) Religion cannot be separated from, not to mention glued on, “emotion”, while emotion itself is the root of aggressive behaviour easily leading to violence.
(2) Religious activities can minimize violence if they can function well as catharsis, but it can maximize and support violence if they even create frustration and dissatisfaction for the religious adherents.
(3) The types and models of learning system the politely religious and social leaders and religious groups usually offered have conditioned non-aggressive religious denominations. Really, teachers and leaders always promote and seed values of peace to the social members, while the aggressive religious denomination are normally formed by models of religious understanding of their leadership elites (teachers, lecturers, religious scholars, priests, Catholic priests, monks, religious leaders) unconsciously changing into the “ideology” of certain interest defenders.
Religious elite leaders including teachers, parents, lecturers, religious scholars, and the leaders of student movement, politicians, religion-based social and political organizations constitute decisive factors where and when they will involve their religions in their lives. They will decide whether they will bring their religions into comfort and peace, or into opposition, mutual distrust, conflict and violence. Basically, a religion is ambivalent.16 It can be comfortable, wild, tame, smooth, rigid, peace and a war. Because of its ambivalence, the religious elite leaders must be very careful and aware of. Behaviour, socio-political morality, statements, and religious advice or fatwa17, the elite leaders have will really shape aggressive and non-aggressive types of behaviour of their religious adherents. The other things to be wisely treated is that how they have to provide models of religious system of learning or education concerning matters, methods, approaches and techniques of teaching in the public schools, Islamic dormitory schools, religious schools, colleges, religious sermons, arena and places of religious services, meetings, and in agitate religious speeches in public forums in open square, mosques, temples, churches and so on.
c. The even spread of socio-economic and socio-political injustice
It is unfair to make a religion the scapegoat when there occur religious violence in society. The seeds of intrinsically given violence in religions cannot grow and spread out automatically without external factors beyond the religions. The factors beyond the religious entity that can get a free ride are the real political, economic and social situations.
The problems of inequality or apparent gap between the have and the have not clearly touch the public social inequality.18 The powerfulness of capitalist countries supported by the strength of their theoretical and mainly applied knowledge is run by their global machine of trade and economy through trans-national companies, WTO’s and AFTA’s programmes. If changes in the neoliberalist era go uncontrolled, and will be even well organized, in the side of super power countries, the process will then create massive social unrest. The accumulation of the third world’s national debts of some countries of Latin America, Africa and of Asia, caused by internal mismanagement – it is much worse if there are conspiracies between the debtors and the creditors without any proper solution – will consequently increase the accumulation of the third world’s and Islamic world’s public frustration.
Commenting on this difficult issue, it is worthy to quote Susan Buck-Morss’ explanation:
“We, as critical theorists, need to make Western audiences aware that Islamism as a political discourse embraces far more than dogmatic fundamentalism and terrorist violence that dominate in the Western press. It is also a powerful source of critical debate in the struggle against the undemocratic imposition of a new world order by the United States, and against the economic and ecological violence of neo-liberalism, the fundamentalist orthodoxies of which fuel the growing divide between rich and poor.”19
Global injustice will lead to a local one. The local injustice will trigger the emergence of senses of jealousy and spitefulness, dissatisfaction, and frustration in the society. Corruption, Collusion and Nepotism committed everywhere make the people powerless and have no proper access to economic centres, and power sharing in politics and education. The slow law enforcement upon the corruptors make the people more frustrated. In short, the weak and bad governance of the government, central to local, in providing public needs and justice will apparently increase the existing public dissatisfaction.
Injustice caused by the structures (politics, economy and society) of the government’s responsibility is clearly expressed in the level of social services such as health, food and clothing, education, information, transportation, clean water, communication, and law. All of them become the measuring rod of the structural and political leaders’ awareness, seriousness and responsibility upon public services.
A stable government can be usually measured and reflected through its social services. Change of regime through general election is really a problem unless social services have been perfect. Indeed, social services must be the first priority of a regime. Sufficient social needs will support the government’s stability and vice versa; the lower the quality of social service is, the weaker the government’s governance will be. The weak governance will decrease the authority and dignity of the government to continue the people’s expected leadership.
Initiated by the absence of social justice in the community, this structural injustice will lead to a weak stability of the government, as there will be intricate, manipulation, conspiracy, oligarchy, and clandestine, while political opponents start to intrigue to put the legitimate government down. The opponents can easily offer their ideas when the real political situation is possible to do so. It is the ideological resistance from the opposing group of the legitimate government that will become the forefather of open violence.
In the era of democracy and transparency, structural violence can be derived from the ruling regime, and from the ideological interaction between executive and legislative in designing and imposing the state economic policy (tariffs, bill and prices of electricity, fuel, telephone, and of basic commodity), interactions between the government and non-government organizations and the other interest-vested groups like political parties, military groups, bureaucracy, religious scholars, disappointed groups and so on.
The interaction and combination between the three above-mentioned factors, those are narrow textual-scriptural understanding of Holy Book, socio-psychologically feeling of insecure and global injustice mainly local injustices make the situation more complex and complicated. This situation is more complicated than the one in the middle age because of the current sophisticated science and technology of the present generation. If it is regarded as a symptom of illness, the solution must be then different from the former ways used in the past human civilization. It is more or less like a chronicle cancer to which there is no effective medicine to secure yet.
Neither is there still a problem so far. Externally open violence has not come up in the surface yet though internal violence the people and especially the elites felt nearly happen everywhere. There appear uncertainty, worry, and extreme confusion among community members and mainly the elites who wanted to improve the presumably uncomfortable situation and touched sense of injustice which all of them are expressed through demonstrations with their varieties of what the former did through anonymous letters, scholarly discussions, protests, appealed audiences, threats, boycotts, walk outs, pamphlets, and so on.
So far, as long as the government is still open to communicate and to have dialogues with all sides, all kinds of ways to express accumulative aspiration are natural matters, if in addition the government wishes to meet the expected solution. Unfortunately, social law goes opposite. Beyond the “formal” medias, there have been “informal” ones often having more fatal impacts than the constitutional-formal ones. The next point to elaborate is what is called a “trigger” making a situation uncontrolled. Very often, any religion educators and socio-religious activists can never touch this step.
d. The trigger: dry grass is easy to burn
The psychosocial situation mentioned above is really very sensitive and unstable. It is like water on the melting pan above a fireplace; it starts to be “hot” and “to boil” later. Like dry grass, it only needs a little fuel to burn its whole surroundings.
The gathering place of the three above factors is like a grass field nearly having dried. There are no more green spaces able to prevent the spread of burning. As soon as a sprinkling of fire comes out, the whole field will be burnt. With no pardons at all, the whole grass field will be burnt since there is no more power to prevent and muffle the spreading fire.
The strange thing is that it is not difficult to find out the “fuel” to burn and express emotion, impatience, frustration, social-hatred, and mutual distrust. It seems that it is not necessary to have galloons and drums of fuel to burn the grass field. This is the difficult and unpredictable area. Even the military forces cannot smell the phenomena. It will be worse when there are also involved intelligent and security apparatus.
If we elaborated how social violence happened in Indonesia 3 years before the fall of Soeharto, there were social factors categorized as the “triggers” of social violence reflected in the fighting among villagers and among students, the burning and the ruining of buildings, churches or mosques, and of government buildings (the House of Representative, Police and Court), the burning of certain ethnic groups’ department stores and so on.20
In Pekalongan, a town in Central Java, for an example, someone considered as a mad man torn a piece of Qur’an. The elites looking for logical reasons to move and release mass emotion for a certain purpose and interest had used the incident as the main explosive head to release mass emotion leading to violence by burning Chinese ethnic groups’ shops and department stores easily.
The establishments of church buildings, which were so luxurious for the surrounding people like the ones in Situbondo, a town in East Java, could be a trigger to touch a sense of social injustice and arouses a jealousy. It was very easy to stimulate the frustrated community to burn the church and school buildings. The former Military District Commander of Ambon informed me that the mistakes in writing unintentionally the word “babi”, pig, instead of “nabi”, prophet (in a computer keyboard, the position of the word n is next to b) became the trigger of nearly inevitable social violence. This happened before the 1999 incident.
There have been many other trivial things that the socio-political and social-communal leaders having no ability to control himself and his group have used as their arguments to create a chaotic situation and violence by releasing and stimulating mass weak emotion. The patterns and modes of operation of the incident may happen in the future with different situation and context and main actors, of course. It is the social-economic situation and the conflicts-trigging incidents that the “provocateurs” with their certain target, purpose and interests, expect.
It is the “standard” and “general” patterns that the provocateurs can play with that should be introduced to the students in the religious schools, Islamic dormitory schools, religious sermons, arena and places of religious services, organizational meetings, and in religious speeches so that the early warning system has been included in our religious learning systems. It is necessary to mention, as a religion constitutes the most effective ingredient to burn and release a situation as emotion and aggressiveness have been deeply rooted in each religion.
To study a religion in the present time, not only do we need to study its normative advantages but also its historical “disadvantages”. Very often, it is very complicated for us to detect the mingledness between religion and politics or power (al-aql al-lahuty al-siyasy).21 Informing and explaining the negative aspects of the advantageous aspects of collective identity and fundamental socio-religious values to the students will at least help the students and the community in general to be more careful to use religion for other interests beyond any religious concerns.
e. Power relation and religious radicalism: classical and modern
The term religious radicalism and religious violence have been known since the past to anytime in the future. There have been also other terms in our contemporary era usually considered to be synonymous with religious radicalism: fundamentalism, hardliners, extremism, militants, and finally terrorism.
Religious sectarianism-based violence we usually have in everywhere in the West and in the East, continuously bitter conflict and hostility among Muslim Sunni and Shiite, Catholic and Protestant Christians in Ireland and also in Iraq in the post Saddam Hussein’s regime as well as in the formerly Yugoslavia remind everybody to the religious war in the European history of war leading to the separation between “religion” and “state”, and the emergence of secularism in France. Basically, the movements of religious radicalism and fundamentalism are political ones coated and coloured by religious faith.22 The minority groups felt that the majority ones oppressed and pressed them, and made them under the latter’s hegemonies. There were no mutual powers sharing among them. There were no rooms for pluralism and multiculturalism to grow there. Each group remains in their status. The majority groups sustain their status quo, without regarding the right of the minority.
The majority tend to occupy everything, from the bottom to the top, while the minority because of no access in economic, political and social areas they have, they are willing and determined to reach their goal through the shortest way by exploding booms in the places where the majority usually perform their activities. There is also a possibility that the majority groups themselves, to prevent their power status quo, explode the booms. The power relation having elements of violence and injustice will not only be valid for the relations between the West and the East, between the West and Islam but also for any internal religious faction (clash within civilization) among internal Muslims, among factions within Islamic parties, in the internal circle of Protestant denominations, and so on.
Then, there happen endless mutual revenges and the grassroots become the victims again. The power relation between movements of religious fanaticism and radicalism, militancy, and even terrorism is very closely related, not to say identical. Nearly all the violence acts committed in various countries and religions are closely related to power relation, since power is the central symbol for economic, social, cultural as well as military interests.
To me, the differences between the type of religious violence in the classical and contemporary era lie on the growth of narrow religious mindedness, feeling of being oppressed by alien culture that aroused the psychosocial insecurity coupled with global and local injustice and the use of the semi-military sophisticated modern technology. This ingredient was used to design, distribute, express, facilitate and to reach at the worldly socio-political goals. Suicide booms exploded in the conflicting regions in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and also in Indonesia are the accumulative mingledness of the three factors. The most dramatic incident was the 11 September 2001 terrorism movement having studious and effectively and well-organized networking and extra ordinary media coverage. It seems that the tremendous advance of science and technology (in scientific perspective)23 and swallow or narrow understanding toward the existence of other cultural religious communities (in the perspective of cultural and religious understanding) can cause terrifying danger in the future.
The mingledness of science and technology and narrow religious understanding on the one hand and the insensitive social sensitivity can collect and accumulate dreadful power having huge explosive power. Human beings were surprised and so sad when witnessing the determination of the terrorist movement in ruining and destroying the symbol of global power and authority of the modern world manifested in the supremacy of technology, global money and stock market, computer, aeronautics and media networks.24
In addition, modern men are again reminded by the fact that the advance of science and technology has not guaranteed anything yet. The West because of monopoly of natural resources renewed and non-renewed using a high technology leaves the third world. It is undesirable that some of the disappointed people in the third world have decided their own ways in counting and calculating the situation. The calculation could be correct or wrong, moral or immoral, and like or dislike but it was the fact.
What Albert Einstein said, ”Science without religion is blind, religion without science is lame” is partly right. My question is: What kind of religion did Einstein mean? If the ability of science and technology is unified with the narrow types of religiosity and narrow religious mindedness and coupled with the nearly unabridged wider gaps between the rich and the poor countries, the result will be the unstopped spread of feeling of insecure which easily leads to the act of religious violence and terrorism. In the present global economic and cultural era, the provincially academic study of religions, and merely theological studies cannot do much to help the decreasing of spiritual thirst and subordination more especially of human material ones.
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al-Jabiry, Muhammad Abid, Bunyah al-aql al-araby: Dirasah tahliliqiyyah naqdiyyah li nudzumi al-ma’rifah fii al-tsaqafah al-arabiyyah. Beirut: Markaz dirasat al-Wihdah al-arabiyyah, 3rd print., 1990.
Mas’oed, Mohtar et.al. (Eds), Kekerasan Kolektif: Kondisi dan Pemicu (Communal Violence: Condition and Trigger), Yogyakarta: P3PK UGM, 2000.
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Oosten, Jarich, “Cultural Anthropological Approaches”, in Frank Whaling (ed.), Contemporary Approaches to the Study of Religion: Volume II: the Social Sciences, Berlin: Mounton Publishers, 1985.
Parekh, Bhikhu, Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.
Tibi, Bassam, The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
Waldman, Marilyn R. “Primitive mind/modern mind: New approaches to an old problem applied to Islam” in Richard C. Martin (ed.), Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies, Arizona: The University of Arizona Press, 1985.
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UIN SUNAN KALIJAGA
YOGYAKARTA – INDONESIA
30 JANUARI 2006
*) A paper presented in the International Seminar on Religion, Radicalism and Multiculturalism, Universitas Muhammadiyah , Magelang, 3 February, 2006.
1 The concepts ‘High’ and ‘Low’ traditions are usually used in the Anthropology of Religion. See also Ernest Gellner, Postmodernism, Reason and Religion, London: Routledge, 1992. p.11.
2 Barbara D. Metcalf, ‘Traditionalist’ Islamic Activism: Deoband, Tablighis, and Talibs, Leiden: International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM), 2002, pp. 1- 17.
3 Jose Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1994. p. 28; pp. 65-6. See also Bassam Tibi, The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. Bhikhu Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002, p. 328.
4 Samuel S. Huntington, The Clash of Civilization and The Remaking of World Order, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.
5 Mohtar Mas’oed et.al. (eds), Kekerasan Kolektif: Kondisi dan Pemicu (Communal Violence: Condition and Trigger), Yogyakarta: P3PK UGM, 2000.
6 In Islam, because of the Muslims’ strong consistency and strict affirmity on their holy scripture including its scholastic development of Islamic sciences, Mohammad Abid al-Jabiry named it the “civilization bearer of authoritative quatation of text” (Hadarah al-Nas). See further Muhammad Abid al-Jabiry, Bunyah al-Aql al-Araby: Dirasah Tahliliyyah Naqdiyyah li Nudzumi al-Ma’rifah fii Tsaqafah al-Arabiyyah. Beirut: Markaz Dirasat al-Wihdah al-Arabiyyah, 3rd print., 1990.
7 Cf. Jarich Oosten, “Cultural Anthropological Approaches”, in Frank Whaling (Ed.), Contemporary Approaches to the Study of Religion: Volume II: the Social Sciences, Berlin: Mounton Publishers, 1985, pp. 231-262.
8 Marilyn R. Waldman “Primitive mind/modern mind: New approaches to an old problem applied to Islam” in Richard C. Martin (Ed.), Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies, Arizona: The University of Arizona Press, 1985, pp. 91-105.
9 Khaled Abou El-Fadl, Speaking in God’s Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2003, especially chapter 3, pp. 86-95.
10 For further discussion, see Farid Esack, Qur’an, Liberation & Pluralism: An Islamic Perspective of Interreligious Solidarity Against Oppression, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1997, especially chapter 4 – 5.
11 Charles J. Adams “Islamic Religions Tradition” in Leonard Binder, The Study of the Middle East: Research and Scholarship in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, New York: John Willey and Sons, 1976, pp. 35-41.
12 M Abdel Haleem, “Early Kalam”, Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman (Eds.), History of Islamic Philosophy, Part I, London: Routledge, 1996, pp. 71-85. See also M. Amin Abdullah, Filsafat Kalam di Era Postmodernisme (Philosophy of Kalam in the era of Postmodernism), Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 1995, pp. 79-92.
13 Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid, al-Tafkir fi Zamani al-Takfir: Zidda al-Jahl wa al-Zaif wa al-Khurafat, Qahira, Sina li al-nasyr, 1995.
14 For a deep study on roots and patterns of thought of Islamic theologians (Mutakallimun), see further, Josep Van Ess, “The Logical Structure of Islamic Theology”, in Issa J. Boulata (Ed.), An Anthology of Islamic Studies, Montreal: McGill Indonesia IAIN Development Project, 1992.
15 John Bowker (Ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977, p.1025.
16 David G. Bromley & J. Gordon Melton, (Ed), Cults, Religion & Violence, Cambridge: the University of Cambridge, 2002.
17 See a recent interesting study on hermeneutics of religious advise by Khaled Abou El-Fadl, op. cit. This book has been translated into Indonesian under the title Atas Nama Tuhan: Dari Fikih Otoriter ke Fikih Otoritatif, Jakarta: PT. Serambi Ilmu Semesta, 2004.
18 John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in The Name of Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 152
19 Susan Buck-Morss, Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left, London: Verso, 2003, pp. 49-50.
20 Mohtar Mas’oed et.al. (eds), ibid.
21 Mohammad Arkoun, al-Fikr al-Usuly wa Istihalatu al-ta’sil: Nahwa tarikhin akhar li al-fikr al-Islamy, Hashim Shalih (tr.), Dar al-Saqi, 2002, chapter 5, pp. 295-351.
22 Karen Armstrong, A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, New York: Alfred A. Ilnopst, 1993, pp. 390-1; See also Bassam Tibi, The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998, p. xix.
23 Robert W. Hefner, “Civic Pluralism Denied? The New Media and Jihadi Violence in Indonesia” in Dale F Eickelman and Jon W. Anderson, New Media in The Muslim World: The Emerging Public Sphere, Second edition, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003, p. 176.
24 Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism and Other Essays, Chris Turner (tr.), London: Verso, 2003.