07/23/2019, 11.52
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Muslim experts: Presidential elections are over, rebuild unity against lies and fake news

by Mathias Hariyadi

The vote that led to the confirmation of Widodo also revealed a divided country. News or disparaging campaigns polluted the election race. A phenomenon in worrying growth. Preserve the "multi-colored" face and fight those who feed extremism.



Jakarta (AsiaNews) - "Rebuilding Indonesia" preserving the value of unity in diversity, to heal the country after an electoral campaign for the presidential elections based on hatred, divisions, "fake news" increasingly widespread on the net for discredit the political opponent.

In this spirit, in recent days the "House of Gus Dur" (Griya Gus Dur) in Pegangsaan, Central Jakarta, hosted the intervention of two prominent Muslim leaders. An essential task, stress the two speakers, to rebuild a common path in a nation divided into two after the vote.

The first speaker at the meeting was Professor Sumanto al-Quertuby, writer, media expert and professor of Anthropology at King Fahd University, in Saudi Arabia. The second item of the meeting is that of Anita Wahid, daughter of former President Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid.

Both intervened at the invitation of the Universal Community (KU) and the Komunitas GusDurian, an association that is inspired by the ideas of the former head of state and promotes dialogue between ethnic groups and the protection of each group - even minority - in Indonesia. The event recorded the public support of Bina Swadaya, the most important NGO in the country for democracy and rights.

Speaking of pluralism and diversity characteristic of the nation, al-Quertuby states that Indonesia is "special" for ethnicities, languages, social values ​​and cultures. For this reason the authorities must preserve its "multi-colored" face, making sure that radical groups that foment hatred, divisions and walls between people, based on the fact that "we are not all equal" do not prevail.

The teacher strongly attacks the radical Muslim groups, which repudiate democracy and propose the "Caliphate" as a model for overcoming social problems. Even in "prosperous" countries in the Middle East, he continues, "radical groups are not welcome". They "grow" and "develop" only "in European nations" where democracy is well established and guaranteed ".

Finally he recalls the era of the dictator Suharto (1967-1998), in which the extremist movements were "monitored" and only after his fall and the start of the democratic process "have come to light". That is why, he concludes, "the idea that they are against democracy is without foundation" because "they benefit from it".

Anita Wahid, daughter of Gus Dur, focused her speech on "lies" and "fake news" that pollute the political, social and institutional environment of the country. The intellectual recalls the passages of the presidential elections in 2014 and 2019, underlining the verbal attacks and not only aimed at the "new" contender Joko Widodo, who this year obtained confirmation for the second term. In recent months, during the electoral campaign, a mass movement "fomented public hatred" against Widodo, but "even on this [second] occasion the plan failed".

Despite the victory of the outgoing president, stronger than any "fake news", worrying phenomena emerge in society, observes Wahid. Lies and calumnies that exploit hostility towards what is perceived as "different", even though they are also part of the national fabric. "Lies - she warns - are flourishing like never before in Indonesia, simply because these methods of disseminating 'information' act in the virtual world and feed emotions" that push, as the creator wants, "to hate or to distrust of the public ".

And the numbers confirm the seriousness of the problem: from the 10 "hoaxes" a month circulated by text message in 2015, we went to 27 in the following year, to 584 a month in 2017, then 83 a day last year, up to touch 100 per day this year.

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