01/30/2009, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Senior Muslim clerics in Jakarta oppose suicide bombers and radical Islam

Religious leaders in Indonesia’s capital back national unity and view democracy as the best form of government. Almost three quarters (74 per cent) are not against the separation of state and religion; 80 per cent reject the notion that violence is necessary to spread Muslim religion.
Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An overwhelming majority of senior Muslim clerics in Jakarta reject suicide bombings, believe in national unity and consider democracy is the best form of government, this according to a report released today.

The study was conducted by the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture (CSRC) at Jakarta's Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University between November 2008 and January 2009. It surveyed 250 takmir masjid (mosque managers) in Jakarta.

Some 88.8 per cent of them approve of Pancasila [Indonesia’s state ideology] and consider the 1945 Constitution as the best model for Indonesia.

As many as 78.4 per cent agree that democracy is the best system of government for Indonesia.

“However, we found a kind of split personality among the mosque managers. As citizens they support Pancasila as the state ideology for the country, but as Muslims they support the establishment of an Islamic country,” CSRC senior researcher Sukron Kamil said.

Only 31 per cent support the introduction of Sharia or Islamic law, 56 per cent are against and 13 per cent did not answer.

Some 74 per cent said they would not fight a government that refuses to implement Sharia law against 14 per cent who said they would.

Significantly, some 74 per cent did not agree that the main purpose of jihad was to wage war

“On the question of whether violence is allowed to uphold amar ma’ruf nahi munkar [guiding people to the right path], 89 per cent of the respondents reject it, 9 per cent agree and the remaining 2 per cent are undecided,” CSRC research coordinator Ridwan Al Makassary said.

The survey all shows that for 75 per cent of respondents suicide bombing cannot be considered jihad compared to 9 per cent who said it was.

“Generally, the majority of mosques in Jakarta embrace moderate Islamic ideas and thoughts.

Nevertheless, among the total there is a small number with a tendency toward increasingly radical Islamic ideas," Ridwan said.

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