MUI in push to "fix" nation's morals

Indonesia's leading clerical body says it is trying to stop the country's moral degradation.

By Andhika Bhakti for Khabar Southeast Asia in Jakarta

June 12, 2014
Reset Text smaller larger

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has unveiled a seven-point programme to reverse what it sees as a nationwide slide in morals that induces criminality and violent behaviour.

  • Indonesian Ulema Council Chairman Din Syamsuddin (pictured in 2006) on May 13th announced an initiative known as the National Movement to Correct the Nation's Morals. [Adek Berry/AFP]

    Indonesian Ulema Council Chairman Din Syamsuddin (pictured in 2006) on May 13th announced an initiative known as the National Movement to Correct the Nation's Morals. [Adek Berry/AFP]

"The National Movement to Correct the Nation's Morals is our initiative to improve morality in Indonesia. As we can see, the levels of violence in Indonesia have been increasing, including murders, drug abuse and sexual deviation. Those crimes are not only against state law but also Islamic law," MUI chairman Din Syamsuddin told Khabar Southeast Asia.

"We will continue this until 2015. After that, hopefully, there will be improvement, and Indonesia will be more peaceful."

MUI's recipe for morals

Launched May 13th, the MUI programme calls for toughening child protection laws, revitalising religion-based education, monitoring entertainment programming for pornography and violence, promoting morality-based institutions, and reviving the Pancasila philosophy, among other goals, according to The Jakarta Post.

The MUI-initiated programme will make the country safer, said Aysha Noorlina, a student at the Islamic University in Jakarta.

"We all agree that to develop our country we need security. More importantly, our young generation is Indonesia's future. If they are being abused or molested, they may be traumatised and this can affect their future," she told Khabar.

The best approach to introducing this movement is through schools, religious institutions and social media, she said.

The programme is for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Chairman Aqil Siroj said for his part.

"MUI is initiating this, but the programme itself is the people's movement. We are all responsible for protecting our children and keeping our region secure. MUI will encourage everyone to be engaged regardless of religion or ethnicity," he told Khabar.

In Tangerang, cleric Muhammad Bagus Cahyono said he would introduce the programme to the entire community. As a cleric, he said he felt responsible to answer this call.

"I will do whatever I can and hope that other Indonesians will transfer this spirit to their fellow citizens. We need to work harder on this. This is part of Islamic teaching, and this is true jihad, fighting the bad to reach a peaceful world," he told Khabar.

Reader Comments
CLICK HERE to Add a Comment
    • hamedan
      June 16, 2014 @ 07:06:07PM
    • What we need to understand is that: 1. Virtue comes from the Word of Allah, different from morals, ethics, good customs or the like. 2. From the highest office of leadership to the neighborhood level, be the best example for all the people of Indonesia.
    • Helena
      June 14, 2014 @ 10:06:08AM
    • A religion-based education? What movement is this? Is it not evident that many religious figures turn out to be crooks and involved in corruption? What Indonesia needs is not a religion-based curriculum, what it needs are good models and consistency in law enforcement. Other countries which are not religion-based are able to progress because there are good models and law enforcement. Why are we being unrealistic? Every person needs to be critical because this can sound like an agenda that is lovely to the ears but is in actuality a poison injected into the people through curriculum and eventually the laws. Religious education is often used as an excuse because when it comes to religion, no one has the courage to speak out against it, especially in this society of hypocrites. Everyone wants to appear religious, but only on a physical level or with words from verses that are considered holy. Religion is not the answer to every problem. If narcotics are a problem, enhance the competence of law enforcement to deal with it; not religion. If we find that many children are watching porn, cut off their access; not religion. It is baffling that these intelligent people are thinking irrationally. What has clouded their brains? How much of the people's money will be expended yet again for a curriculum which will create a irrational society? They say they want progress, but funds and energy are spent taking care of religion while there is never enough funds to build infrastructure. Hopefully the new government will not be complacent and remains vigilant of this hidden agenda. We need Jokowi's brand of mental revolution.
    • wtriwahyudi
      June 13, 2014 @ 03:06:21AM
    • Was the virtue of followers the first thing Prophet SAW fixed and then the clerics. Therefore, the corruption of the faithful is due to their lack of virtue.

Add A Comment (Comments Policy)* denotes required field


The most important issue in Indonesia's presidential election is:

Photo Essay

Mariyah Nibosu, whose husband was shot dead in 2009 by unknown gunmen, stands outside her home in September 2013 in the state-run 'widows' village' of Rotan Batu, 20km from Narathiwat. "Women suffer a lot here," she said. "But we are strong. We have to feed our children by ourselves. We have to survive." [Christophe Archambault/AFP]

As Thailand's Deep South insurgency drags on, families suffer, persevere