Blogger Indonesia of the Week (82): Sherwin Tobing

Blogger Indonesia of the Week (82): Sherwin Tobing

Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936) is a Dutch scholar of Oriental cultures and languages and Advisor on Native Affairs to the colonial government of the-so-called Netherlands East Indies, that is Indonesia, One of his famous advice to the Dutch colonial authority to win Indonesian Muslim’s heart and mind was by “tolerating the spiritual aspects of Islam but containing rigorously Islam’s political expression. ”

What is the implicit meaning of that advice?

Geert Wilders, another Dutch and director-producer of Fitna, knows very well what it means: if you want to create a furore and anger among Muslim for whatever purpose just do the opposite of Hurgronje’s word; attack the spiritual aspect of Islam. He just did it and he got what he wanted: personal fame, controversies, criticism as well as “solidarity”. Muslims around the world feel so angry as usual. That’s understandable. You’d feel the pain when something or someone you adore and love got insulted.

But Muslim should also understand the context mentioned in the first para of this piece: the more you’re furious and uncontrollable, the more Geert Wilders (and anyone like him in the past and future) got and will get what they want. Which means you are in a “losing side” of the game.

It’s in this context that we need to hear another advice which represents a good spirit and maturity of attitude. And I believe Sherwin Tobing’s take on this issue represents that grown-up spirit, in which he said:

Protesting should be fine, but I surely hope that Indonesian Muslims or even Muslims around the world not to attack Dutch Embassies as happened before with Danish’s. Wilders, and some other people too, might be using this film as bait. Any kind of brutal and barbarous reactions from Muslims worldwide would just make them smirk and say: “See, Muslims are, indeed, barbarians”. Show them that Islam is religion of peace, show them that those Muslims in the video did not act accordingly to the Koran.

Sherwin Tobing seems to understand well the thumb rule on how to live together peacefully:

I did not know what to say after watching this film, I have always been against any behavior or language that insults or shows lack of respect for God or religion, thus I feel sorry for all Muslims around the world.

I believe that people should never talk about something which they do not really understand. I used to involve myself in religious discussion with people from different religions. I have seen that there were so many people picked up some “scary” or “weird” verses from other believer’s holy book, interpreted them in their favour, and used those interpreted verses to attack their debate opponents. I guess what Wilders did was much of a muchness, he just picked up randomly those Koranic verses and visualized his misinterpretations blatantly in this bad film.

I long for this kind of blog posting not only in commenting for this particular issue, but also in dealing with social relationship among religious followerss as a whole. The kind of articles Sherwin Tobing writes consistently and regularly in his blog deserves his blog to be a regular hang out for all of us, Indonesian bloggers as well as those who want to know more about Indonesia.

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