Saturday, 21 January 2012

Kamilia Hamidah, Jakarta | Tue, 01/10/2012 7:00 AM

The late Abdurrahman Wahid once stated that, “Nahdlatul Ulama [NU] is like Shiite minus Imamah; similarly Shiite is NU plus Imamah.”

There have been too many similarities between the two, as the position and role of kyai is somehow similar with the position and the role of the imam in the Shiite tradition. The main contrast between them is that in NU, the concept is visible in the form of accepted culture, while in Shia, it takes the form of theology. Perhaps this is the substance of his statement.

The tragedy of Sampang is once again a strong slap to our religious harmony and it is very unfortunate that our security apparatus was not able to prevent this atrocity before it occurred.

The attack on the Shiite Islamic boarding school should have been prevented if the police, as well as local government, had a greater concern about this important issue.

Article 18 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that freedom of religion is a fundamental right, which should be protected by the state. The entire state machinery, therefore, should assume the responsibility and awareness to foresee any possible threats which could lead to violations of this right.

The attack on the boarding school in Sampang reminds us of the tragedy that occurred in Cikeusik, Banten, last year, which left three people dead and their place of worship burned. Just like the tragedy in Cikeusik, the police in Sampang seemed ill-prepared for the raid, even though they were called few hours beforehand.

Also, in a similar way, the local police stated that they were prevented access to the site by angry masses positioned a few hundred yards from the school compound.

It is totally unreasonable for the police apparatus to have so casually given over their position of strength to the angry masses, which they were supposed to expel.

The position of this minority sect is much more marginalized due to the release of a fatwa (edict) by the Ulema Council of Sampang (MUI Sampang), which states that the Shiite tradition has gone astray and is a misguided sect; despite the fact that the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) never released such a fatwa against Shia.

Indeed, they recognized that Sunni as well as Shiite were two great sects in Islam, as recognized by the Islamic Conference in Mecca in 2009. This decision shows that the fatwa issued by the MUI Sampang poses a great threat.

Previously, several attacks on Shiite Muslims occurred in East Java, in Bondowoso, Pasuruan, Malang and Bangil; these should have made it imperative upon the local government to prevent this particular conflict from escalating and to seek any possible solution to prevent further possible attacks.

Meanwhile, the ongoing Sunni-Shiite dialogue among academics, as well as elites, has helped to minimize misunderstanding and build a common understanding among the two groups.

It also affirms that previous misunderstandings between Sunnis and Shiites were not based on fundamental aspects from each religious teaching.

It is, however, very unfortunate that this kind of mutual understanding is found only within the elite and academic levels; the recent tragedy in Sampang illustrates what can happen if such awareness does not find its way to the grassroots level: namely, the common people.

The growing misunderstanding between Sunni and Shiite among ordinary people varies from theological differences, as with Sharia, which at an “elite” level is in fact not very significant, but there is a huge gap between academic dialogue at an intellectual level and what is understood among the majority of people. This happens because of the absence of a strategic approach to familiarize the dialogue process from the elite level in order to reach, and be accepted at, the grassroots level.

It is very interesting that culturally there have been several Islamic traditions that have sprung from the Shiite tradition.

Tabok and the remembrance of the month of Muharram is one example; although it has been mingled with various cultures from Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra along with their own cultural idiosyncrasies, the essence and the substance of the tradition remains the same.

This shows how an accepted culture in the form of a soft approach is more-easily welcomed by people than a hard approach, such as an overly theological or Sharia approach.

Also, there have been harmonious relations between Sunni and Shiite, and it’s already been interpreted into common acceptable tradition.

Such tradition also shows that culture can become an effective medium to translate elite-level dialogue for acceptance among ordinary people.

Thus, for the academic scholar, there should be some sort of comprehensive study to diagnose possible misunderstandings as perceived by people regarding the Sunni-Shiite issue, as well as to map the characteristics and the level of those misunderstandings according to particular provinces.

This information could be used to determine the extent to which such misunderstandings may threaten to erupt into serious horizontal conflict, which could be used as the basis of a blueprint to foster further dialogue. Misunderstandings between Sunni and Shiite followers in Indonesia are mostly due to the absence of culture as a means of propagation and dialogue.

Finally, the enemies of Islam — as for all religions — are oppression, poverty and ignorance. These common enemies of religion should be examined and understood by local ulema in order that they do not disrupt harmonious relations between different sects within a particular religion or between different religions.

Was published at The Jakarta Post 
The writer has a post graduate degree from the department of politics and international relations at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Kamilia Hamidah, Jakarta | Wed, 09/14/2011 7:00 AM

Ten years have passed since the events of 9/11 struck the United States, taking some 3,000 lives. The so-called terrorist attacks have had enormous global impacts since then. We have marked two wars as part of the US-led War on Terror, in Afghanistan and Iraq, where somehow there are still few signs of stability despite the tens of thousands of additional lives that have been lost.

However, after 10 years, while the traumatic events still haunt the legacy of 9/11, we have seen some signs of hope with current developments, particularly with the democratic upsurge in the Arab world, which provided both the ideology and leadership for al-Qaeda. 

The current trend of the Arab spring is to smash the gulf that was created, deliberately or otherwise, between the Muslim world and the Western world — between the vision of al-Qaeda’s Caliphate Creed and the US championing democratic values.

It is not the collision between the two ideologies that created the wave of extremism and the later building of a global terrorist network, but this discourse is based upon conflicting policies toward the Middle East, particularly concerning the Palestine conflict, which is crucial for Muslim and Western-backed despotic regimes and rulers. 

The discourse will persist and will continue to have an audience as long as the collective West does not make adjustments in their policies toward the Middle East. 

For al-Qaeda itself, the end of the Osama bin Laden era this year has had a devastating impact on the organization in South Asia. Its remaining leaders will continue to be hunted, either being caught or killed. 

For instance, last week Pakistani and US security agencies collaborated in a joint operation to capture Sheikh Younis al-Mauritani, a senior leader known as the group’s global operations chief.

However, the threat of al-Qaeda might continue amid the rising turmoil in Arabian Peninsula and parts of Africa. The recent leadership crisis in Yemen might provide an opportunity for the organization to regroup, plan and carry out terrorist actions in the region. 

With the growing humanitarian disaster in Somalia we see al-Qaeda-linked groups intensifying their guerilla campaign, although the terror network has virtually lost their reign of action in the region where it planned international terrorist acts such as 9/11.

While the threat of al-Qaeda may have become less intense since the events of 9/11, this is not a cause for celebration, particularly from the Muslim world perspective. What the al-Qaeda leadership preaches has undermined and harmed Muslims more than anyone else. 

So, when Egyptians or Tunisians or Libyans fill the streets demanding their desire for democracy, they collectively reject Western-backed political despotism in their respective countries with religious despotism of the sort of jihadis militancy, such as Zawahiri.

Not only al-Qaeda and its terrorist manifestation are to blame for the global havoc, but the manner in which the War on Terror has been waged has made the world more unstable. Iraq in the post-Saddam era is not as stable as was expected before. 

Afghanistan is another battleground, which was supposed to end this year, but it seems that there are few signs of a US troop withdrawal anytime soon. 

The militaristic US response gives opportunity for despotic regimes to sustain their status quo by labeling or branding their political opponents as al-Qaeda-linked organizations.

President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, for instance, has employed this trick quite successfully for several years, as it would have been difficult for Gen. Musharraf to rule over Pakistan for so long in the absence of 9/11. 

While Col. Muammar Qaddafi also tried the same game, until recently the current wind of change in North Africa and across the Middle East are so massively popular that even Western desires to keep a Muslim despot and deny democratic opportunity are no longer feasible. 

Thus, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 should be a suitable opportunity to reflect upon why extremist causes spread and terrorism thrives within them. As revolutionary trends in various Muslim countries suggest, the way forward is reconciliation and democratization. The war can only end by reconciling with the enemy, as we have seen countries where al-Qaeda and its extremist-terrorist affiliates had flourished have finally chosen the path for democracy and are now looking for the support of the free world.

The response to 9/11 in the form of war has shaken the very fundamental foundation of the way world politics has evolved for centuries. In terms of inter-state relationships, the sovereignty of various nations has been violated with impunity in the name of fighting al-Qaeda. 

Now as the threat of al-Qaeda has started to recede, it would be the right time to revert to the same code of conduct that the members of the world community have long adhered to, which is to respect each other’s sovereignty.

Finally, while thousand of those who lost their lives in the tragic events of 9/11, or the many thousands more who have perished as a consequence of terrorism and the war on terrorism, they deserve our prayers. Their sacrifice for humanity can only be honored if the most powerful nations are willing to get their act together for the sake of greater democracy and peace in the world.

The writer is a post-graduate student of politics and international relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad. Was published at The Jakarta Post

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Eventually Osama episode has been over, we have seen mixed reaction across the world praising the successful operation done by US SEAL in one of Pakistan territory in Abbottabad, which just one and half an hour drive from the capital city of Islamabad.

Within US perspective this operation means lots for Obama’s Administrations, at least he and his team has fulfilled one of his promise during his presidential campaign. Despite domestic issue on the rising price of gasoline and also the rising percentage of unemployment rate, this event has eventually direct the public attention from domestic issue and somehow rising Obama’s popularity among American society and as positive support as he embarks for his re-election campaign.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Menjadi orang tua untuk anak yang mulai beranjak meninggalkan usia 5 tahun, tentu ada sebuah kebanggaan tersendiri, bahwa sebagai orang tua kita telah diberikan kesempatan untuk dapat terus menjaganya sampai sebesar ini. Akan terapi sebagai orang tua masa kini, tentu saja kita perlu menyadari perubahan-perubahan apa yang terjadi pada diri anak kita baik secara fisik atau mental, dan kesemuanya itu harus senantiasa kita ikuti perkembanngannya. Memastikan apakan semuanya normal dan baik-baik saja..

Anak saya pernah mengeluhkan nyeri salah satu payudarannya jika kesenggol, usianya belum genap 7 tahun saat ini, meski saat ini saya amati tidak ada perkembangan lanjutan, tetapi tetap saja sebagai seorang ibu saya masih penasaran, 'masa secepat itu udah mau jadi anak gede', lalu seharian saya mencari-cari artikel yang mengupas lengkap tentang puber dini, tapi saya tidak menemukan artikel yang secara lengkap menuliskannya sehingga akhirnya saya menemukan istilah 'precocious puberty' dan mulainya googling sampai saya pada sebuah artikel yang di muat di laman, yang membahas secara panjang lebar tentang masalah puber dini pada anak. Saya sempatkan untuk menerjemahkan secara bebas kedalam bahasa Indonesia semoga dapat di ambil manfaat terutama para orang tua yang anaknya sudah mulai beranjak pada usia transisi.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Oleh: Kamilia Hamidah  

Bermula dari sebatas keisengan meng-unggah video pendek ke media youtube, yang diberi judul ‘POLISI GORONTALO MENGGILA’ yang berdurasi 6 menit 30 detik, melambungkan nama Briptu Norman pada seantero negeri, Norman yang kala itu hanya bermaksud menghibur rekannya yand dalam kondisi depresi karena masalah keluarganya. Tidak lama video lip-sync lagu India Chayya..chayya…chayya…ini membuatnya hampir mendapatkan sangsi militer dari Mabes Gorontalo beberapa waktu lalu, bahkan tidak menutup kemungkinan akan menghambat proses kenaikan pangkatnya atau lebih sadis lagi di nonaktifkan. Ah, sadis sekali..!!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Image taken from Uzbek Cooking
Assalom, Navruz! 

Sebuah karya puisi terkenal oleh seorang filsuf dan penyair terkemuka Umar Khayam dituliskan: ‘Bahwa dia yang merayakan dan memberikan kegembiraan pada hari Navruz akan menghabiskan hidupnya dengan riang sampai pada perayaan Navruz berikutnya’.
Untuk semua bangsa yang hidup dalam empat musim, musim semi diibaratkan sebagai waktu kebangkitan alam dan kehidupan, sebuah  masa rejuvenasi dan harapan perdamaian antar manusia dengan sesamanya, juga sebentuk masa waktuya penyemaian bibit tanaman, baik pada ladang-ladang maupun pekarangan sebagai penopang ketahanan pangan, pun sebagai masa peningkatan pada ternak, yang kesemuanya itu untuk memperkuat tali kasih sayang dan sebentuk gambaran hubungan mesra antara manusia dengan alam. Hal itulah yang melatarbelankangi perayaan Navrus pada kebanyakan wilayah Asia Tengah, Iraq, Turki dan sebagian Cina Persia.


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