|Prof. Dr. Syamsul Arifin, M.Si in the National Seminar of Dissemination of Research Result event (Photo: Mirza/PR UMM)|
Religion has become a powerful tool for politicians. During the early years of Reformation, the politicization of religion was often associated with Islamic parties, which clearly campaigned for an Islamic agenda such as the adoption of sharia. Now, everyone plays religion for politics. The identity politics played by Islamists encourages other politicians, generally from secular backgrounds who are not interested in religious matters, to use the same tools to defeat them.
The 2019 election is the clearest evidence of how secular nationalist groups use religion for their election purposes. The two presidential candidates, Prabowo Subianto and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo did not come from Islamic backgrounds. Both of them, to use the term Gifford Geertz, each came from prijaji and abangan families, and both used religion for their political purposes. While Prabowo used the Islamists.
This was conveyed by Lutfi Assyaukanie, Ph.D, a lecturer at Paramadina University when presenting the results of his research at the National Seminar on the Dissemination of Secular Research Results and Role in Indonesian Elections at the University of Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM), Tuesday (5/11). The research he and his team carried out over the past two years explored the role of religion in Indonesian politics, especially in the 2019 election. It is participated by the Rector of UIN Sunan Ampel Surabaya.
In his presentation, Lutfi focused on how religion plays its role and how people use it as their political tool. After identity politics and the rise of global populism, religion has ample scope to be expressed. "The main question discussed in this article is who are the main actors and how to deal with this problem? What makes the new politicization of religion different from the same phenomenon in the past? "Said Lutfi.
Taking the same picture, Rector of UIN Sunan Ampel Surabaya Prof. Masdar Hilmy, M.A, Ph.D., who was also a panelist of this one-day seminar revealed that the wave of identity politics can also be witnessed by the emergence of voluminous actions in Jakarta 2017. This is happened because of certain reason. According to him, political elites were driven to win the hearts of Indonesian Muslims using religious packaging to offer themselves as ideal leaders.
On the other hand, according to UMM Vice Rector I Dr. Syamsul Arifin, M.Si., identity politics has long been echoed and used by politicians to win votes. This method is an old technique that is often used to make an abundant voice considering the majority of Indonesian people are Muslims. "Religion should be as enlightenment. If it is not understood, it will really be easy to become a person who is being used in the name of religion," said Syamsul who was also a panelist. (joh)