Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Association of Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI) is a shield that safeguards Indonesian Muslims from exposure to radical and extreme ideologies, Presidential Advisory Council (Wantimpres) Head Wiranto stated.

"I am thankful that I can accompany the ICMI since its establishment in 1990 until now," Wiranto noted in his remarks during the ICMI gathering here on Friday (May 12) evening.

The former military commander recounted having once posed a question to then-president Soeharto regarding his motivation to consent to the establishment of ICMI initiated by then-state minister of research and technology B. J. Habibie.

"I was still a colonel at that time, and I was summoned by the Army chief of staff, who instructed me to ask the president about his reason to approve the ICMI establishment," he remarked.

Soeharto, at that time, explained that his approval was based on his acknowledgement that the main religion in Indonesia is Islam, specifically the traditionalist strand of Islam, he noted.

Hence, to protect Indonesian Muslims from being exposed to extreme ideologies, the president believed they must be protected by Muslim scholars, Wiranto affirmed.

"Those who will protect them are Muslim intellectuals, individuals who possess a wider outlook," the advisory council head stated.

ICMI is also established to awaken and protect fellow Muslims from being exposed to foreign ideologies at that time, he stated.

At the gathering, Wiranto also highlighted that those who will win in the global competition are not the largest or the strongest but rather those who can utilize existing opportunities effectively and adapt themselves to new technological advancements.

"Our nation's key is the Indonesian people's intelligence," he remarked.

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Translator: Fauzi, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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