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Indonesian Blogger Confronts US Media View on Indonesian Muslims

Here is a stark example on how people from different cultures see the same thing differently. And how bias and pre-occupied notion on certain issue and on certain people or community can lead you to see thing only from the negative side of the picture.

Rasyad A. Parinduri at Sarapan Ekonomi – Indonesia's Economy criticises strongly the editorial view of Washington Times (WT) on the result of LSI survey where. WT said (emphasis is mine):

More than two-thirds of Indonesians favor the country's current secular system of law, according to a privately funded nationwide survey by the Indonesian Survey Circle, a pollster. If that seems like good news, read it this way: This means there are “only” about 82 million Indonesians who favor Shariah. Approximately 216 million out of Indonesia's approximately 246 million inhabitants, or nearly nine-tenths of the population, are Muslims. And while Indonesia's religious and cultural climate is justifiably regarded as moderate in comparison to much of the rest of the Muslim world — and its government is a very useful ally against terrorism — the numbers still leave plenty of room for concern.

… When the aggregate numbers of people are factored in, the study looks considerably more disturbing. If one-quarter of Indonesians favor cutting off the hands of thieves, it suggests that upwards of 60 million Indonesians favor the practice. If roughly 164 million Indonesians oppose stoning adulterers, it means that more than 80 million favor doing so.

Parinduri thinks that such kind of logic–making good thing from “others” look ugly and bad thing uglier– is misleading and by no means it would help people across cultural boundaries getting closer understanding. He asks the WT editor to think at the same token for themselves:

I guess, by similar token, since about 45 millions Americans (15 percent)1 do not think that “democracy is better than any other form of government”, the future of democracy in US is, really, considerably worrisome.

This kind of analysis — it's just beautiful, isn't it?

He explains further trying to put thing in right perspective:

LSI reports that 69.6 percent of Indonesians favor Pancasila, 11.5 percent favor Islamic country like those in the the Middle East, 3.5 percent favor Western style system of law, and the rest, about 15 percent of them, do not respond or do not have any preference.

The Times's editor should have written that “there are about 28 millions Indonesians (out of 246 millions) who favor Shariah”.

By the way, the survey's finding that “more than two-thirds of Indonesians favor the country's current secular system of law” does not mean that “there are ‘only’ about 82 million Indonesians who favor Shariah”. The Washington Times editors are simply wrong.

He advises the WT's editor to write his op-ed in more prudent way in the future for the benefit of peaceful co-existence and greater understanding:

The Times's editor should have written that “there are about 28 millions Indonesians (out of 246 millions) who favor Shariah”.

Commenting on the above post, Calson said:

And even among those 28 million who favor Sharia a considerable number of people will not be in favor of the harsh Saudi interpretation.

I guess. I hope.

Even Indcoup, a British expat in Indonesia, whose opinions in his blog tend to highlight Indonesian Muslims in the bad light agrees that “the WT editorial is poor,” but adding that:

The point is, I guess, that ALTHOUGH a small percentage of Indonesians favor Sharia law there IS an impact.

Look at Indonesian society and you can see that extremists, though small in number can, have an effect.

ie: Sharia laws in Padang & Aceh, the idea to ban gossip shows, SMS, segregation of male and female students in some parts of Indonesia, the anti-porno law that would make the kebaya illegal, etc etc.

In which Parinduri responds back:

That's true, IndCoup. But, why don't they just say so? (This also applies to people at IndoMatters).

There is no need to distort the survey results, or to bend the analysis, just to suit one's opinion.

Why don't people provide more balanced analysis. When the survey in 1999 was published that 12 or more percent of Americans “do not support Democracy”, I don't think they would write that “the aggregate numbers of people are factored in, the study looks considerably more disturbing”.

Why is it when it's about Indonesian muslims, suddently it matters? This kind of analysis is just unbelieveable.

And why do people, it seems, expect too much from Indonesia's democracy? It's been only a few years old, for God's sake. Or do they think that democracy is always perfect?

Btw, I don't think NU calls for any gov't laws banning gossip shows as you seem to suggest. But, it's another story.

My point is this: Indonesian muslims have problems, all right. (Others may have problems too, btw). There's no need to paint a picture that make us look much worse. Distorting the picture just to make us uglier is insulting, to say the least.

And you know what, people should not distort the picture of Indonesian muslims if they really want to engange us muslims. They will definitely failed. Unless of course enganging us is not what they want.

(I mean, go ahead, paint an uglier picture of us if they just want us to look uglier. But, one thing for sure, they are not helping moderate and liberal muslims. But again, it doesn't matter if they are not really care).

Mud Disaster and Letter to the Indonesian President

Onceuponaweblog, in the meantime, wrote that she has sent a letter to the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), to handle mud disaster that takes place in Sidoarjo, East Java, as soon as possible to avoid the disaster get deteriorated further:

I have today sent a letter via email to SBY. My main intent is for the president to prioritize on efforts to put a stop to the mud disaster in Sidoarjo, which has drowned four villages to date and the figure is still counting.

1 comment

  • I agree with you Fatih, maybe they just want make Islam look bad..
    pesantren and madrasah is just like terorist school..
    whats wrong with Islam? why they only attack moslem people?

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