Magelang, C Java (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin affirmed that the choice and manner of wearing clothing was unrelated to radicalism and intolerance but are instead closely linked to the public’s thought process and behavior.

Amin made the statement while delivering a speech at an event to inaugurate the Syubbanul Wathon Hospital in Magelang, Central Java Province, on Thursday, in connection with a public debate on the issues of religious radicalism and intolerance.

"Now, a public debate is ongoing about intolerance and wearing trousers below the ankles. Indeed, radicalism and intolerance are actually related to the way in which one thinks, behaves, and acts that should be corrected," he noted.

Amin highlighted the need to eradicate the intolerant and radical thought and behavioral process to realize the Onward Indonesia Vision since disunity, radicalism, and intolerance were apparently the gravels that could debilitate the nation and pose a hindrance in its path to realizing the vision.

He drew a parallel between the Onward Indonesia Vision and an aircraft that must take off. To this end, both the government and nation should work in unison to prep it for take-off.

"To enable us to take off quickly, we must prepare a strong and solid runway. Thus, the gravels and muddy roads must be removed. If we fail to do that, it is impossible for us to be able to take off," he noted.

However, Amin emphasized that wearing niqab, or a piece of cloth that several Muslim women wear to conceal the entire face except for the eyes and trousers below the ankles did not reflect the person’s radical and intolerant stance.

The public debate on the issues of religious radicalism and intolerance is fueled by the recent statement of Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi.

Razi was quoted by CNN Indonesia (Oct 31, 2019) as saying that he planned to ban those wearing niqab from entering the government's compounds and that he would study it and incorporate the ban in the religious affairs minister's regulation.

While introducing his new cabinet members on Oct 22, 2019, President Joko Widodo drew attention of appointed Religious Affairs Minister Razi to the pressing need to tackle radicalism.

Furthermore, Vice President Amin brought up issues concerning radicalism during his meeting with Malaysian King Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta'in Billah.

"I called on Malaysia, along with Indonesia, to develop a peaceful and tolerant Islam as 'rahmatan lil alamin' (graceful for the universe), so we can prevent the spread of radicalism in Islam," Amin stated in Tokyo on Oct 22.

He pointed out that Indonesia, with the world's largest Muslim population, along with Malaysia, play a pivotal role in developing Islam wasathiyah, a middle path or moderate Islam that balances the way of life, avoids extremes, and believes in moderation.

Both countries are expected to maintain peace in Southeast Asia.

"Indonesia and Malaysia are both Muslim-majority countries. At the same time, the ASEAN is facing the emergence of radicalism and intolerance," Amin pointed out.

Former coordinating minister for political, legal, and security affairs Wiranto also highlighted radicalism as one of the serious tasks that should be handled by his successor, Mahfud MD.

Related news: VP Amin, Malaysian King discuss endeavors to fight radicalism Related news: Radicalism called "homework" for Mahfud MD: Wiranto


Translator: Fransiska N, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
Copyright © ANTARA 2019