A Mosaic of Moderate Muslim
I wrote here on the various kind of moderation as far as Muslim goes particularly Indonesian Muslim. A term which is often misunderstood by western analysts or pseudo-analysts if you will in which I said that a moderate Muslim is not what, entirely or partially, many westerners think equally like moderate Christian, secular christian or leftist where ignorant and indifferent from the basic teaching of their religion being regarded as a sign of moderation.
And therefore a departure from this kind of “moderation” could be regarded as fundamentalist.I reiterated in the same piece that the silverline between a moderate Muslim and the fundamentalist ones are only this: while the former regards Islam as a simple moral guidance the latter regards it more or less as political means.Thus, like fundamentalist Muslims, moderate Muslims are a mosaic, instead of a monolith. Many moderate Muslims are indeed like their co-religious counterparts in Christianity or Judaism with little care to practice their religious teaching. But to say that this kind of groups are the only entity which can be called “moderate” Muslim is indeed misleading or a sign of ignorant to say the least.
I’ll give you a vivid example of one type of moderate Muslim that respects diversity and multiculturalism and enjoy living side by side with anyone from other faiths and yet at the same time are practicing their religious teaching in full gear.
Tanty Blatind who’s been in Norway with his Norwegian husband is a good example.
Have a look at her interesting statement about what she likes and dislikes and take your own conclusions:
I am a religious person. I wear hijab but it doesn’t mean that I am too fanatic. I go to the party sometimes mostly like a birthday party or wedding or just few friends gather together.
I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke but I don’t mind being around drinkers and smokers. Though sometimes they’re really bother me.
I used to work in office and the best time I’ve ever had was when I work at RCTI, the biggest TV station in Indonesia. I love how we, the crew, stick together day and night. It’s like having a new big family. I miss those guys.
Tanty Blatind symbolizes a mosaic of moderate Muslims, and you’d see many variations of those.
It’s important for any non-Muslim, particularly the westerners to know and understand these facts if the Islam-West dialogue initiative are to be built with strong foundation and by those who have a true honest feeling to bridge the gap from the both sides.
I see many good people in the West who are really knowledgeable on the reality of Muslim and Islam and very self-critical as well like Prof Juan Cole who speaks fluent Arabic and Parsi. His understanding on Quran is so amazing. His sympathetic approach towards others simply exemplary.
If politics tears us apart, why not building our trust through people to people dialogue?
Blogger Indonesia of the Week (50): Ong Hock ChuanTo be honest, I am a bit doubtful about mentioning his true name as I see his current insightful blog does mention only his blog name. That makes me hesitant for quite long time to give an introduction here regarding his blog. But after I read his latest piece in the Jakarta Post here, I know he just forget or doesn’t care about mentioning his true identity in his blog rather than intentionally hide it.
A few months back, a person named Ong Hock Chuan emailed me thanking me for my comment in his blogspot blog (now it seems to be deleted and moves on to self-hosted wordpress). He seems to start learning to blog very quickly and want know more about blogging.I thought then that he’s just a simple person like many others who start showing interest to the power of blog and blogging and want to start blogging himself.
I was wrong. He is not an ordinary blogger. He is a former journalsit-turn-businessman and still writes passionately and regularly in conventional media like the Jakarta Post.
Needless to say what kind of blog he’s got and what kind of content his blog carries. And needless to say how personally happy I am and so should all Indonesian bloggers to have him blogging regularly. Why we should be happy upon their presence?
Simply put this: the Indonesian bloggers will never be no where near a kind of influence the conventional media has, until and unless the person like Ong and others like him are also engaging in blogging activities.
No intention at all to belittle the role of ordinary bloggers like myself and you. Blog is a citizen media anyway. But it’s a person like him, Yosef Ardi, etc to put a few who will make the Indonesian blogospere presence felt by wider and more influential audience. Because these people know much and they know how to attract attention as far as making news is concerned.
See for example his post on Defense Minister, Juwono Sudarsono’s blog which got some attention from other world bloggers like “Shel Israel of Naked Conversations, Jeremy Wagstaff of Loose Wire and Pablo Halkyard of The World Bank.”
Or have a look at his post about the Jakarta Post which cause some heated and contentious debate from some of the Post journalists.
I personally want to congratulate him and wish him luck for his newly-found passion of blogging and hope that others will follow suit soon.
I firmly believe that one day political and current affairs blog like his own, Yosef Ardi, Indonesia Anonymus and Sarapan Ekonomi and some few others will attract as many visitors as Dailykos.com or instapundit.com just to name a few of American political bloggers in which their daily visitors are above 100K a day. They should be the forefront faces of Indonesian bloggers to the world.
And what ordinary bloggers like me and you can do to contribute to their growth? Simply this: put a link-back to their blogs not only to add up their traffics but also on top of it all as a show of support and camaraderie.
I’ve been a regular reader of Agusti Anwar’s Bahasa Indonesia Blog. His reflections are insightful and his opinions are clear and unambigious and elegantly written. So, I’ve a slight hope that someone like him should be blogging more actively in English as well. As a civil servant in foreign ministry he must’ve been in command in that language. My little hope turns out to be true. He starts blogging in English more regularly now.
As a person who is very passionate in writing, he naturally has insightful ideas in responding to certain issues. Anyone who gets obsessed and honest concern with his/her surrounding will be a good commentator. That’s one basic lesson as a launching pad to be a good writer or commentator. You cannot write an insightful writing if you think none beyond yourself.His posts covered many socio-political issues, on Indonesia-Australia relation he wrote:
[…] Australia has its own prejudice and qualm that is true. But both countries have just to come to terms with their own particularity. There are always more to gain from cooperation instead of tension.
Considering the complexity of global problems nowadays, be they traditional or more non-traditional, joint endeavors are always of the best. Indonesia is a democratic country now, the same with Australia. We both fight terrorism; we both want peace and development. These are a range of commonality assets that could bring both hand in hand.[…]
And representing the voice of majority, he unequivocally condemns the atrocities carried out by Israel against Lebanese civilians:
Children are killed or wounded. Aggression for domination, the strategy taken by Israel now, does not only complicate the chance for peace, but also ensure wider spread of conflict in the Middle East.
Israel has to back off. The US needs to play the honest-broker role.
The UN needs to work hard, not just the toothless exercises.
The World needs to join hand to save humanity.
The Muslim world has to fight closer; joint rank, combine strength; champion the peace. The Muslim needs to work diplomacy to its very limit.[…]
I hope, and we all Indonesians should hope, that he would be more courageous to blog in English. Indonesia needs many more English-speaking blogger, to be Indonesian ambassador to the world. I fully support his choice to blog his English blog in blogspot as it’s the only most reliable free blog provider that could last long, as long as Google alive, despite its many technological shortcomings compared to that of wordpress based free blog providers like blogsome.com or wordpress.com.
Blogging is about recording history. It should survive beyond our lifetime. Ideally it should be and could be read and some lessons might be learnt by our children, grand-children and beyond. Could you tell me, is there any free blog providers that could give or guarantee that long-lasting (hopeful) records other than blogger.com?