Indonesia has been facing serial bombings and terrorist attacks in Surabaya and Sidoarjo within a month. The bombing that is considered an act of terrorism has caused fear among people. Terrorism has also caused stigma against Islam getting worse. As Muslim academics, it has to be our concern to respond to such phenomena. Thus, KORPS MIHI invited the master students to attend a public discussion entitled “Indonesia and Terrorism”, on Thursday, May 17, 2018, with Muhammad Shifa Widigdo, Ph.D.
According to Dr. Shifa, there is no single panacea that has successfully explained the cause of terrorism. Some experts might see that terrorism occurs because of economic disparities, political injustices, lost hope, and a number of other factors. However, terrorists do not have a single profile, they come from the different educational background, various economic level, as well as diverse religious understanding.
Although the notion of terrorism itself still leads the pros and cons, we can not deny the current fact that terrorism is often associated with Islam. Some Islamic groups and Muslim scholars have issued some theories about peace as the essence of Islam. Unfortunately few groups still justify various acts of violence in the name of religion.
We cannot deny the fact that Muslims nowadays have been confronted with Modernization. Each group Islamic group has various interpretations about “what to do” and “how to respond”. While violence or to revolt against is virtually an unwise shortcut resulting from textual interpretation of few religious texts. They (terrorists) always think that Muslims are inferior, they are overly attached to apocalyptic hadith, and they actually have less contribution to ummah and dawah.
Dr. Shifa sees there is an epistemology gap that occurs even among Muslims themselves. Bridging the gap can be an alternative to prevent and counter the spread of terrorism. Beside religious knowledge, Ulama’ or Muslim scholars must understand about facts and social science, as Islamic knowledge is not a monolithic knowledge, and the problems that we have been facing nowadays are still evolving.
To establish the peace, we also need to embrace each other and become more open to people; different Islamic groups or other religious believers. We should treat ‘ikhtilaf’ or differences among Muslims wisely. We have the faith in what we believe to be true, but we as human beings also have the tendency to do wrong. For instance, Muhammadiyah which has been well known as ‘tajdid’ or ‘renewal’ organization should be able to appreciate the ‘khazanah’ or treasures of traditional Islamic groups, as well as Nahdlatul Ulama ‘should be more open to the various Islamic group and diverse understanding of Islam.