THE END OF RADICALISM STIGMA TO ISLAM

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By : Hafid Abbas
Professor on Human Rights Education, State University of Jakarta

In his interview with CNN, Fareed Zakaria, on October 25th, 2015, Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, very openly expressed his regret and apology to international communities for the mistake and miscalculate over U.S. and its allies invasion in Iraq.
Blair stated: “I apologize for the fact that we have received false intelligence allegations that Iraq has used chemical weapons extensively to attack his own population and others.
Our guess was not true. I also apologize for any mistake in planning, and especially for our miscalculation of what will happen after toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime.”
Likewise, President Barack Obama through his interview with Fox News (10/4/2016) also expressed his regret and apology to the Libyan people.

He stated that: “The U.S. is very sorry and as President, this is the worse mistake I have made in my administration, attacking Libya and overthrowing President Muammar Gaddafi without proper planning and calculation after the attack. As its result, Libya is completely disorganized and is continuously under threat of extremist violence.”
Shortly after the testimonies of Blair and Obama, the two world leaders, over their invasion and attack to Iraq and Libya, from July 16th to August 4th, 2016, I made a long trip to Iraq, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries to get a comprehensive field insight on the latest situation at those countries.
While in Iraq, I visited refugee and IDP camps in Abu Ghraib, met with UN missions, and various groups from the government institutions, universities and NGOs.
When I met with human rights activists, academia and professors at Nahrain University, University of Baghdad, and Almustansiriyah University, my impression was that sooner or later, they will fight to bring Blair and Obama’s open confessions and testimonies to international mechanisms as evidence of their conspiracy to destroy and attack both Iraq and Libya.
Iraqis and Libyans are not radical indeed, they will only continue to fight to get their justice and dignity in the future.

The End of the Western Radicalism Project on Muslim

A new surprising reality that was never imagined before, on Dec. 14th, 2021, a great appreciation from Islamic world to the pioneering work of Ilhan Omar, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the Democratic Party, who has successfully passed the Anti- Islamophobia Act (Combating International Islamophobia Act) to address the staggering rise in incidents of islamophobia worldwide.

Omar noted that there has been a rise in Islamophobia incidents globally. Whether it is the atrocities being committed against the Uyghurs in China and the Rohingya in Burma, the crackdowns on Muslim populations in India and Sri Lanka, the scapegoating of Muslim refugees and other Muslims in Hungary and Poland, the acts of white supremacist violence targeting Muslims in New Zealand and Canada, or the targeting of minority Muslim communities in Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Bahrain, and Iran—the problem of Islamophobia is global in scope.
This law has been approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate which requires the U.S. State Department to create a Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating all forms of Islamophobia. It will also establish a comprehensive strategy for establishing U.S. leadership in combating islamophobia worldwide.
This law mandates the U.S. State Department to prepare an annual report to Congress on human rights and religious freedom report in each country on: physical abuse and humiliation of Muslims; cases of propaganda by the media, whether from the government or not, which aims to justify and inflame hatred or incitement to violence against Muslims; and, measures taken by the government in each country to deal with any such cases.
The U.S.’s pioneering role in fighting Islamophobia is likely triggered by its failure and losses to invade Iraq and Afghanistan.
On August 30th, 2021, the U.S. officially ended its two decades invasion in Afghanistan.
Under such circumstances, by looking at the China’s increasing expansion and economic, social and political influences in Africa and in various countries in Asia, while the U.S. influence in the Indo-Pacific region continually to decline, U.S. then is moving to rebuild its new coalition with the Islamic world.
The international community is now increasingly aware that the source of all sources of radicalism is injustice. No religion teaches violence and extremism and terrorism to others.

The stigma of radicalism and extremism to Muslims as a project of the West in the past is now ended.

The Implications of the Radicalism Project for Indonesia

At the global level, the international community is increasingly aware that the root of radicalism is not religion, not Islam, but injustice.

It is relevant to note the rejection of former Vice President Jusuf Kalla (JK) when the Police Headquarter initiated to map mosques across Indonesia as an effort to counter extremism and radicalism.

JK strongly refused it by asserting that no radicalism has ever disrupted the country through mosques (Populis, 27/01/2022).

JK also regretted the statement of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) which suspects 198 Islamic boarding schools affiliated with terrorism.
Boy Rafli Amar on behalf of BNPT, then, immediately made a public clarification and apology for such suspects and mistakes (FNN, 07/02/2022).
Again, JK on another occasion stated, “From our experience as a nation for 77 years of independence, we noted, at least 15 major conflicts have attacked this country which caused thousands of deaths, 11 of them were triggered by social, political and economic injustices” (Tempo, 15/01/2022).
As an example to justify JK’s view, the burning of the Bima NTB Regent’s Office by local residents on Jan. 26th, 2012 actually was triggered by of the Regent Ferry Zulkarnaen’s unfair policy to give gold mining permits at three sub-districts to PT Sumber Mineral Nusantara. So, nothing to do with Islam.
Similarly, a case handled by Komnas HAM in 2016 for the eviction of residents in two sub-districts in Bima. The Regent gave permit of 5000 hectares at the two sub-districts to PT Sanggar Agro, then the evicted residents had to live with their children in torment, camping in front of the Regent’s Office for months.
If citizens take radical actions, it has nothing to do with extremism, but the absent of justice.

Finally, if the global radicalism project is over, the existence of BNPT and Densus 88 becomes irrelevant. If it doesn’t change, Muslims are still under suspicion, Indonesia can be a common enemy of the international community.

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