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Saturday, November 03, 2007


I have recently been wondering what America would be like now if it had not been ‘colonized’ (instead of ‘rediscovered’) by Columbus at the end of the fifteenth century; if the welfare of people in England had been good after that, if Puritans—and some other so-called ‘deviant’ religious sects—had been welcome well by the country so that they did not need to escape from their homeland.
Todd and Curti in their book “Rise of the American Nation” (1972: 24-25) mentioned five reasons for many English people—as well as other Europeans” to migrate to the New World:

Conflict over religion
Search for religion freedom
Search for political freedom
Widespread unemployment
Economic ferment

The first and second reasons can be categorized into one similar problem, and so can the fourth and fifth reasons; while the third reason shows the hostility of the citizens toward the government. King James I (1603-1625) and King Charles (1625-1640) ruled without Parliament because they believed in “the divine right of kings”. (1972:25)
The recent condition in Indonesia reminds me of the not conducive situation in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The somewhat chaotic situation in adhering religion in Indonesia lately—due to the most contemporary so-called deviant Al Qiyadah Al Islamiyah and some other sects such as Ahmadiyah before—in fact is not far cry from the ugly condition in England several centuries ago. This is also accompanied by the rising poverty line due to widespread unemployment and the soaring prices of anything. The difference is it (still) happens in Indonesia in this “modern” time while “modern countries” are supposed to support tolerance and freedom to choose which religion to adhere. It shows that Indonesia fails to fulfill one of the tenets to be a modern country.
Lately, some newspapers (I read) have headlined Al Qiyadah—that is categorized deviant sect unfairly by the government. The way the newspapers write the news and even in the editorial—the dictions, the tone, etc—shows that they also take side to the government and Al Qiyadah becomes the culprit. That means the government is strongly supported by the media (forgive my limited reading because I don’t read a lot of newspapers published in Indonesia) to dictate the majority of Indonesian citizens’ attitude.
Coincidently not long ago one mailing list I join—RumahKitaBersama—talked about adhering a religion and practicing its teachings blindly—one of its longest thread if I am not mistaken. One of its discussion is about the arrogance of Muslims’ claim that Islam is the most perfect religion, the last one that complete its two ‘older siblings’—Jewish and Christian. I threw a question, “When Christian was believed by its adherents to complete Jewish, this upset the Jewish. When Islam is believed by its adherents to perfect Christian (and Jewish)’ teachings, this offended both religions. Will one day a new religion emerges, and it is said to complete the previous three Abrahamic faiths, will Muslim get angry?” The answer was: “the new religion perhaps will not have time to grow since it will easily and quickly be labeled ‘deviant’ and killed afterwards.”
And there it was: out of the blue Al Qiyadah emerged and its prophet Abussalam alias Ahmad Moshadded became a new celebrity.
When Professor Kenneth Hall—my guest lecturer when I was studying at American Studies Gadjah Mada University—said that the social life of Indonesia was left behind America around 50 years, can we say that Indonesia is left behind England several centuries in the not conducive situation in adhering religions?
PT56 11.11 021107


Marisa Duma said...

This is one mind-blowing article. I rarely read ones like these written by a woman, and I rarely found a Moslem who could admit that ..Yes, Christianity and Jew is Islam's 'siblings' in the Semitic beliefs.
Therefore, please excuse my amazement right now.

"Will one day a new religion emerges, and it is said to complete the previous three Abrahamic faiths, ..”
Maybe in the future you should elaborate on that particular matter. Will it? If it will emerge, how would the teachings be, and why will there be people in the world --if any-- convert to such teachings?

Just a thought.

Best regards,
Marisa Duma

Jethro said...

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