Written by icrp
(By Musdah Mulia)

In the past, some friends and I were invited for a radio talkshow. We were to talk about the draft for the new Anti-Pornography law and Pornoactions (RUU APP). During the talkshow we elaborated on the idea that the draft contains a lot of controversial elements. The fact that it is: against consitution, gender-biased other than giving a problem to women’s freedom of expression. The worst of all, there is the potential that the draft would be misused by certain groups to justify their biased judgments; as we are currently seeing in our society.

Later on we had a male audience calling. One caller seemed very disturbed by our statements and was openly scolding us with religious rhetoric, “You two are becoming dangerous people, I’m afraid you are both are from hell!!”. His statement was spontaneously followed by my colleague’s, “Excuse me, are you from there too?”.

That moment always brings me nothing but smiles with bitterness, knowing that our society is used to casting judgment and punishment or social verdicts at others who are ‘different’.

The man is a muslim as I am. But I am considered to be ‘kafir’ (a rejector of faith) and deserved hell because I have an different opinion than his.

In this case, I can see there is something that has left my fellow muslims. The belief that “there is no God but Allah” being is frequently uttered, but it doesn’t go much further than a verbal exercise. It lacks a deep and genuine understanding about the concept of ‘tauhid’.

Once a muslim admits that there is no God but Allah, he/she supposedly disbelieves in any other power but Allah’s. Thus, in the context of ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell Muslims and Kafir, there should be no others with rights to judge but Allah. There should be none other with such priviledges (in terms of creature and creator).

Isn’t it said in the al-Quran (al Hujurat verse 13) that the first greeting of God was ‘yaa ayyuhannaas’ meaning ‘O Humans’ instead of ‘O believers’. Futhermore, it is stated in al-Quran that God created humans with differences in shapes, ethnicity and so on in order for us to get to know each other, ‘liita’arofuu’.

Many of us are interpreting ‘liita’arofuu’ naively as ‘only to get to know each other’ (passively). Meanwhile, I believe it means something much deeper than that. It means to mutually understand both similarities and differences among others, in order to build communication, create interaction, and dialog with tolerance. The meaning will be more active by making an actual effort to understand others.

In closing, the verse is not only to encourage people to know each other but also to encourage every human being to be actively open in their minds for the tasks of building communication, giving and taking, introspecting, and cooperating with one another in order to build a peaceful life that is eternal. This act is supposedly beyond any religious dogma. This is what I believe as the real concept of Islamic plurarism.

Translated & Edited: Inda D. Pitkanen & Johan K. Pitkanen

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