TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The head of law affairs at the country’s largest Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Robikin Emhas, said that many kiai or ulema protested and disappointed about the assignment of retired general Fachrul Razi as Minister of Religious Affairs.
“Many kiai from various regions express their disappointment in protest,” Robikin told Tempo via a phone call, Wednesday, Oct. 23.
According to Robikin, the ulema had indeed acknowledged that the Religious Affairs Ministry must stand in the front line in combating religious-based radicalism. However, they did not believe that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo tapped Fachrul, who had a military background, for the post.
The ulema, Robikin added, had long worried about the phenomenon of religious illiteracy, or the lack of knowledge about religion, that was marked by the rampant intolerance behavior, not to mention extreme actions in the name of religion.
Robikin said that his organization had long reminded about the dangers of radicalism. “NU sternly remind the dangers of radicalism.”
In Indonesian history, the Ministry of Religious Affairs had never been helmed by someone from the military. Before Fachrul, the ministry was led by a civilian, either public figures, politicians or professionals.
Since the reformation era, several names who served as the minister were M Quraish Shihab, Abdul Malik Fadjar, Muhammad Tolchah Hasan, Said Agil Husin Al Munawwar, Muhammad M Basyuni, Suryadharma Ali, Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, and HR Agung Laksono.
Meanwhile, Fachrul Razi, who was the former leader of Jokowi’s military volunteers dubbed Bravo 5, assumed that the President chose him because he performs pray diligently and used to deliver a religious speech themed peaceful Islam and tolerance, as well as unity and union.