Religious Affairs Minister Gus Yaqut Talks of Islamic Populism

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, or Gus Yaqut, talked of Islamic Populism, saying there have been attempts to lead views on the religion as a conflict of norms recently.

“In an extreme saying, whoever has a different belief is considered an enemy and so must be fought. The trending term is called Islamic populism,” said Yaqut in an interfaith webinar event on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020.

As the previous chairman of GP Ansor, the youth wing of Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama, Yaqut claimed he had many times asserted that there would be no Indonesia without Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and other local beliefs.

The Indonesian nation, he added, stood as an agreement between cultures and religions. “So, whoever wants to eliminate each other on the basis of religion, it means that they do not recognize Indonesia, they do not have a sense of being Indonesians,” Yaqut remarked.

The new minister underlined that he did not wish the Islamic populism to develop widely. Thus in his first speech as a minister, he called on all Indonesian people to see religion as a source of inspiration, rather than aspiration. “Because if it [a religion] is used as an aspiration by wrong people, it can be dangerous,” said Gus Yaqut.


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