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Waging a holy war against Corruption
Wednesday, 27 September, 2017 | 14:24 WIB
Waging a holy war against Corruption

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta,

Muhammadiyah`s Anticorruption School

The Muhammadiyah community has launched anticorruption schools-informal learning spaces where efforts to eradicate corruption are taught as part of a holy war. One such school was established in the Pariaman Regency, West Sumatra. 

Ikbar Rizal, a postgraduate Islamic education student at the Imam Bonjol State Islamic Institute in Padang, West Sumatra, always finds time to discuss corruption with his futsal (indoor football) mates, either during halftime or after the weekly match. Ikbar describes his campaigning as da’wah, or promoting the teachings of Islam.

He does not talk about difficult concepts. For example, he would talk about the many forms of corruption. Many of his mates around him see corruption as an ‘upper-class’ crime committed by bureaucrats and politicians, Ikbar explained, but bribing a traffic policeman to get out of getting a ticket is also a corrupt practice. So is handing over an unofficial fee for administrative services at the village office.

"I want to gradually share my knowledge of corruption to people in my age group," said the 27-year-old.

Ikbar is not the only one campaigning against corruption in Pariaman. Zilrahmadi, 23, actively rejects corruption in his lectures at the mosque, He not only provides examples of corrupt practices and their impact on the community and the nation, he also stresses that corruption is forbidden in Islam. "The move to get people to wage war against corruption is not a separate item from morality and religion," he said.

The informatics and computer science graduate from the Indonesia Putra University, Padang, also talks about corruption during musrenbang, the village development meetings in Padang Birik-Birik, his village in North Pariaman. Ikbar attends the musrenbang on a regular basis to provide input on the management of village funds. 

He feels the potential for corruption in his village is significant because village administrative staff tend to be unaware about regulations and what constitutes corruption, not to mention the absence of adequate supervision because of it. This is why Ikbar proactively encourages the village’s youths to tighten their supervision so that development funds can be channeled properly.

Neither Ikbar nor Zilrahmadi has been at this for very long. The two became aware of corruption issues and began becoming proactive against the practice after attending the Anticorruption Islamic School (MAK) in the Pariaman Municipality from February to mid-2017. The Anticorruption Islamic School was founded by Pariaman Muhammadiyah Youth in February 2016 after the central management of Muhammadiyah, the country’s second largest Islamic organization, declared war against corruption the previous year. 

According to MAK Pariaman’s Chair Abrar Aziz, 32, the Muhammadiyah youth in his town are some of the pioneers of the special school. To date, the youths have built MAK in 24 regencies and municipalities throughout Indonesia, among others in Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara), Batam (Riau Islands), and Medan (North Sumatra). The number of students is now in the thousands. 

The Muhammadiyah Youth, including the one in Pariaman, collaborates with various anticorruption organizations such as the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in establishing these schools. All these groups aspire to the same ideal and wish to foster an anticorruption mindset among youngsters, said Abrar. Corruption, they have noted, is still pervasive on a massive scale everywhere, including in West Sumatra. 

"Our task is to instill a greater awareness and keeping young people on the alert about the bad effects corruption has on our communities," Abrar said. "As for our parents, let them bear their own sins," he added, laughing.

Nanang Farid Syam, an official at KPK’s Inter-agency and Inter-commission Partnership Network (PJKAKI), confirmed Abrar’s statement. According to Nanang, the KPK feels boosted by MAK considering the KPK itself has very limited reach in its campaign against corruption. Moreover, MAK is targeting young people-the potential agents of change in their neighborhoods. "We hope it will give rise to more and more young leaders with integrity," said the instructor at MAK Pariaman. 

MAK organizes training programs at intervals for Muhammadiyah’s young cadres currently performing doing undergraduate or graduate studies. MAK’s training activities are held on weekends for the length of one semester at Muhammadiyah’s Pariaman office. 

Currently, the MAK Pariaman has already ‘graduated’ two groups of 25 individuals each. The last class completed the course only last month.

Virgo Sulianto Gohardi, chair of the Muhammadiyah Anticorruption Boarding School, said his organization elected to conduct weekly courses lasting six months because they want their participants to properly internalize the material given. Although Muhammadiyah runs formal educational institutions ranging from kindergarten through university levels, the organization feels corruption studies would be less effective if given as a formal subject. "We don’t want students to study about corruption merely to obtain academic credits," said Virgo.

Although the sessions only last six months, the subjects are covered in a comprehensive manner. Experts on the issue of corruption from different backgrounds come to teach in the program. At MAK Pariaman, instructors do not only hail from the KPK and ICW, but also from the Legal Aid Institute, a number of non-profit organizations in West Sumatra, as well as from academia. All instructors teach on a voluntary basis.

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