A national survey published on Tuesday shows that most Muslim teachers in Indonesia are intolerant of other religions and highly prone to radicalization. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Nearly 6 in 10 Indonesian Muslim Teachers Intolerant; Many Vilify Modern Science: Survey

OCTOBER 18, 2018

Jakarta. Most Muslim teachers in Indonesia are intolerant of other religions and highly prone to radicalization, a recent survey showed.

The results of a national survey by Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University's Center for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM), published on Tuesday, show that nearly 60 percent of Muslim teachers are intolerant, while about 46 percent had radical leanings.

The PPIM conducted the survey between Aug. 6 and Sept. 6, randomly sampling 2,237 Muslim teachers from regular and Islamic schools across the country. Respondents were given an implicit bias test consisting of computer-assisted questionnaires that measured their levels of intolerance and radicalism.

The center reported a 2.07 percent margin of error and a confidence level of 95 percent.

The PPIM drew its conclusions from answers to several implicit bias questions that reflected intolerant attitudes and radical tendencies among teachers.

When asked about non-Muslims building faith-based schools in their areas, 56 percent indicated that they did not approve. Nearly 30 percent meanwhile said they were ready to wage jihad to establish an Islamic caliphate in Indonesia.

When given the opportunity, around 27 percent of teachers expressed a desire to encourage others to join the fight to establish a caliphate, while 13.3 percent said they would attack members of the police if they tried to arrest those fighting for a caliphate.

The survey coordinator, Yunita Faela Nisa, highlighted how teachers greatly influence students' values.

"From our previous survey in 2017, we've seen the significant influence of teaching methods, and how school experiences greatly impact the values held by students when it comes to intolerance," Yunita said.

In a similar survey conducted among students last year, the PPIM found that nearly 60 percent of those in high schools and universities held radical views based on religion.

The result of another survey by the Mata Air Foundation and the Alvara Research Center, which was released in November last year, also showed that nearly 20 percent of students support the idea that Indonesia should become a caliphate.

According to Yunita, students discuss matters related to faith not only with their religious teachers, but also with other teachers.

PPIM executive director Saiful Umam said several key issues contribute to the high level of intolerance and radicalism among teachers.

"We found three things that strongly correlate with these high levels of intolerance and radicalism among teachers: their views on Islamism, demography and their involvement in mass organizations, both during college and at present," Saiful said, noting the difference between Islamism and Islamic views.

He said Islamism refers to a more fundamental movement that often calls for full implementation of shariah.

The survey found that nearly 83 percent of teachers agreed that Islam was the only solution to all kinds of problems facing society, while about 40 percent said the Koran contained sufficient knowledge and that Muslims thus do not need to learn from Western-sourced texts.

Moreover, those teaching language, sports, arts and crafts, tended to me more intolerant and radical, compared with those teaching other subjects.

The survey also showed a correlation between income and radicalism, with those earning less tending to be more radical.

The PPIM recommends, in addition to better salaries, an increase in diversity-oriented programs to give teachers more experience, and greater access to empowering institutions as part of efforts to curb growing intolerance and radicalism.

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