Oz Muslims urged to learn from Indonesia

SHAFAQNA – Australian Muslims need to learn from Indonesian Muslims in taking part in discussions on sensitive issues like radicalism and terrorism, a scholar from the Australian Catholic University (ACU) said on Tuesday.

Joshua M. Roose, a research fellow at the university’s Centre for Religion and Society, said that although Australian Muslims had been able to integrate into Australian society and had contributed to the socio-economic life of the country, they had done little to join efforts to counter radicalization.

“They [Australian Muslims] just look after their families,” Roose said on Tuesday in a public lecture at the Jakarta State Islamic University (UIN) Syarief Hidayatullah in Ciputat, South Tangerang, Banten.

Roose said that Indonesian Muslim scholars had actively engaged with their community in discussing important issues.

“I argue that Australian Islam [Muslims] needs to learn from Indonesia. There are many Indonesian scholars and intellectuals who engage more,” he told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the lecture. 

Roose cited an example of radicalization that was rooted in conservative Salafi Islam as an issue that the Australian Muslim community had done little to address. 

Radicalization has brought negative impacts for Australia in the past couple of years. 

Besides domestic terrorism, Roose said 250 Australian nationals had flown to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) organization so far, compared to just 60 Indonesians who had flown to the war-torn country.

Roose said Indonesian Muslims were tolerant and respectful toward pluralism, traits that should also be promoted by Australian Muslims.

He encouraged Australian Muslims to come to Indonesia in the near future.

“Australian Muslims need to come to Indonesia to learn about pluralism and respect for differences because we [Australia] have problems with these issues,” he said.

However, Roose acknowledged that Muslims in Australia still faced problems in fully practicing their faith.

“The hijab is still targeted by politicians,” he said.

Separately, Dina Afrianty, lecturer at UIN Syarief Hidayatullah and a postdoctoral research fellow at the ACU’s Centre for Religion and Society, said Australian and Indonesian Muslims shared many differences.

Unlike Indonesian Muslims, who were bound by their religious affiliations, Australian Muslims were bound by their ancestral origin.

“In Indonesia, we have big Muslim organizations like Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah. The Indonesian government normally just needs to cooperate with these organizations when they want to engage Indonesian Muslims,” Dina told the Post on Tuesday.

“I think this is what makes engaging Indonesian Muslims a lot easier,” he said.

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