Jakarta Post/thanks to Mullah
“…a Muslim must always refer to the Koran and the deeds of the Prophet Muhammad.
People may say that some Islamic law, like cutting off hands and rajam (stoning to death), are cruel, but that is what the Koran says. No matter how bad the laws are, they are undoubtedly the laws of Allah.”
JI crown prince Abdul Rohim sees violent jihad as inevitable
The youngest son of firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, Abdul Rohim, 31, is tipped by many to become the future leader of the jihadist movement in Indonesia. The young and energetic father of three daughters talked with The Jakarta Post’s Hasyim Widhiarto several days before the police arrested Ba’asyir, the spiritual leader of the Jamaah Islamiyah. Here is an excerpt of the interview:
Question:Â Many believe you have been groomed to lead the future jihadist movement here. What is your response?
Answer: (Laughing) I don’t think that’s true. A journalist once asked me the same question and I said that he had picked the totally wrong guy.
Why? It is because I still don’t have enough knowledge and fighting experience (to follow in Ba’asyir’s footsteps).
Can you tell us about Al-Ghuroba, an organization that you formed in Pakistan?
(The now-defunct) Al-Ghuroba was merely a student club, established to help and support its members while they were studying in Pakistan. There were some parents in Malaysia, who knew my father well, asked me to watch over their sons while studying there.
But you know, it’s not easy to handle teenagers. Once they are sent to study overseas, many of them just want to hang out and have almost no want to study.
To deal with such a problem, I and several friends set up the student club. In Pakistan, these kinds of organizations are common. They help students support one another, especially those coming from the same country.
Why is the organization often linked with terrorism?
It started when Gun Gun, one of our members, was arrested for helping his brother, Hambali, in keeping some money allegedly used for terrorism. I actually don’t know the detail about it, but I think it’s normal for someone to ask his brother to hold onto his money.
The case then triggered false accusations against our organization.
In Malaysia, Hambali lived next door to us. So, how could I refuse his request for his brother to join the club while studying in Pakistan?
You are also a senior member of the Jamaah Ansharu-Tauhid (JAT), which has also been linked to terrorism. Can you tell us more about this organization?
The JAT was established as the representation of our shared willingness to live according to sharia.
We have realized that Muslims in this country have no support to practice sharia, but we can’t just keep silent about this, as Allah will someday demand our responsibility for our inaction.
We hope to see this organization play a role as a community for all Muslims who want to help us spread and practice Islamic teachings, for both ourselves and society.
Unfortunately, if you share these objectives with the infidels, they will liken such efforts to terrorism.
So what is jihad to you then?
There is no doubt that jihad has become an inseparable part of Islam. Why? Because the Koran explains it in more than 100 verses.
Even the Prophet Muhammad took part in 28 of more than 70 wars that took place during his 23 years of active missionary period.
Here, we teach our students about the Koran and Hadith, including the topic on jihad.
However, more and more people, even some Muslims, now consider teaching students about jihad similar to training them as terrorists.
We have also realized the West has put up much efforts to persuade Islamic schools worldwide to scrap the jihad subject (from their curriculum) and skip discussions on all Koran verses containing it.
Our duty is to share the complete version of our religious teachings to our students. We never urge them to set up terrorism operations as people have accused us.
It’s someone’s personal choice to choose their life path after graduating from Al-Mukmin [boarding school in Ngruki, Sukoharjo].
But, some Ngruki alumni have involved in several major terrorism attacks in recent years? How do you respond to that?
It’s true there are our alumni who involved in terrorism. But I can ensure you that their choice to commit such acts have no relations at all with what they studied here. It’s the circumstances and the people they meet after graduating that have driven them to terrorism.
If the media wanted to be fair to Ngruki, why don’t they, for example, ask the government to shut down the police academy after many police generals have been revealed to have bank accounts lined by corruption?
How do you view Islamic groups that use violence to promote sharia?
I have always believed that what these groups are doing is actually showing their deepest love of Islam and strong willingness to practice the entire teachings of their religion.
When such embedded rights (to practice Islam) have never been given, it’s normal to see more and more Muslims joining an (organized) effort to get their rights back.
Some groups may choose the peaceful approach, but it’s inevitable to see others take the violent path.
However, it’s not in my capacity to make any comment on the violent approaches chosen by these groups to reach their goals, as they must have their own reasons to do that.
Do you think the government has given enough opportunity to all Muslims to apply their religious teachings?
I don’t think the government has given enough space for Muslims to practice the entire teachings. I believe other religions are given much better opportunities to apply their teachings.
Although Muslims are the majority here, many of them know very little about Islam outside the regular sermons and rituals.
So it’s obvious to see many Muslims who feel satisfied with the government as long as they are allowed to build mosques, run daily prayers, and fast during Ramadan. But Islam is not as simple as that. It is true that all Muslims must adhere to all five pillars of Islamic principles. But like a house, Islam cannot stand with only pillars. It needs walls, a roof, paint, and other things to be complete.
That’s why a Muslim must always refer to the Koran and the deeds of the Prophet Muhammad.
People may say that some Islamic law, like cutting off hands and rajam (stoning to death), are cruel, but that is what the Koran says. No matter how bad the laws are, they are undoubtedly the laws of Allah.
Once the entire Islamic law is upheld, it will bring mankind into a happy and orderly life, which cannot be achieved with any man-made laws.
Are you trying to say we should replace Pancasila with sharia?
There are some people who don’t like with the word “sharia”, so I would rather say that we need to ask our government to give all Muslims citizens the full right to run and comply their religious teachings.
If they finally give us that right, then perhaps we can say the government has acted fairly, just like it is said in one of the tenets of Pancasila.
Take a look at the Hindus in Bali, for example. When they celebrate their Nyepi holiday, all people on the island, including Muslims, are asked to follow their rules. They, for example, are not allowed to use taps nor leave their house.
But, have we ever tried to pressure the Hindus to follow any of our teachings. We have never requested people from other religions to stay at home during Ramadan fasting month. But when we ask them to respect the month by stopping sinful acts like gambling and prostitution, they get angry, saying we don’t respect their freedom.
For us, the implementation of sharia is our final goal. It’s because once you declare your syahadat creed, you must apply Islamic teachings entirely and not partially. Of course, we cannot ask Osama (bin Laden) to come to Indonesia and implement sharia here. It is our obligation to do that and Allah will ask your responsibility in the afterlife.
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