The Concern on Radicalism in Indonesian High Schools

The Nahdlatul Ulama Schoolers Association (IPNU) has expressed concern that the intra-student organization Rokhani Islam (Rokhis) at public high schools in the country will become a breeding ground of religious radicalism, a spokesperson said. Therefore, IPNU would urge the National Education Ministry to change its policy of allowing only Rokhis to exist as an Islamic schoolers’ club at public high schools in the country, IPNU chairman Ahmad Syauqi said here Saturday.

Speaking at an IPNU national conference to mark the oragnization’s 58th anniversary at the University of Indonesia (UI) campus in Depok, Ahmad Syauqi said IPNU would also ask the Nahdlatul Ulama national congress to be held in Makassar on March 22-27 to exert pressure on the national education minister to reconsider the ministry’s decision regarding Rokhis or dissolve it as the only Muslim high schoolers’ organization for religious activity. Rokhis which was first set up based on an education ministry decision issued in 1980 at first only engaged in cultural activities such as helping make arrangements for the celebration of Islamic holy days.

"But since the 90s it gradually turned into a religious organization that increasingly tended to become ideological in both thinking and actions," he said.

The shift from cultural to ideological was perceptible in the views and attitude of Rokhis activists which were tending to become exclusivist and to consider pluralism as anathema, he said. The inclination toward radicalism in Rokhis, according Achmad Syauqi, was the beginning of Islamic revivalism in schools.

"Revivalism will grow along with the belief that the state’s economic, political and social systems have failed and the only viable alternative is Islam," Syauqi said.

Therefore, he said, IPNU was stressing the need "to review the education ministry’s policy on religious organizations in schools to prevent radicalism from taking root among school students."