Bangkalan, Jawa Timur (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin reminded Islamic boarding schools, or pesantrens, to continue to play a vital role in warding off the negative effects emerging from the process of modernization, including disruption to views on religions.

"We should ensure that pesantrens consistently play a vital role as a kind of fort that can protect our children from the negative and disruptive side effects of modernization. Such effects can alter the views of the children," VP Amin remarked.

The vice president made the statement while attending the ceremonial event of the 28th Anniversary of Al-Anwar Islamic Boarding School in Bangkalan District, Madura Island, East Java, on Thursday.

Amin stated that the process of modernization has negative side effects that could pose threats to the people's traditional view on religions.

"In addition to benefits, the globalization phenomenon and technological advancements can bring negative effects, resulting in a disruption (radical change) that drives numerous people to abandon their religions," he pointed out.

In this context, the vice president cited as an example what was occurring in South Korea. He said that on account of such a disruption, as much as 52 percent of the country's population identifies as irreligious.

"I believe that in the past, Buddhists accounted for 99 percent of the population in Korea before shrinking to today's approximately 20 percent. Modernization and 'progress' have left 52 percent of its population not having a religion," he noted.

Bearing that in mind, VP Amin emphasized that pesantrens in Indonesia can and should play a vital role in tackling the negative effects of modernization.

"Pesantrens have been formidable forts in protecting the people. They have been successful in keeping Muslims as a majority despite (Indonesia) being under control of colonial powers for hundreds of years," he stated.

VP Amin also made the most of his visit to Bangkalan to inaugurate Al-Anwar School's College of Islamic Economy and Business as well as flats for the school's residents.

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Translator: Indra Arief, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Sri Haryati
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