1 in 5 Indonesian students supports the establishment of a caliphate
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1 in 5 Indonesian students supports the establishment of a caliphate

ACCORDING to a new survey, almost 20 percent of Indonesian high school and university level students support the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

Amid concerns of rising religious radicalism in Indonesia, research released by Jakarta-based Mata Air Foundation and Alvara Research Centre last week found that 17.8 percent of university students and 18.3 percent of high school students supported the notion of a caliphate in the archipelago.

The survey drew upon the views of 2,400 high schoolers and 1,800 students from 25 top universities in Java across a wide range of faculties, reported Tempo.

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A quarter of Indonesian students in the study said that they were prepared to wage jihad for the establishment of a caliphate, while about a third said that they would not tolerate being ruled by a non-Muslim leader.

The findings reflect a similar survey from Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC) in June, which found that one in ten Indonesians think the country’s democratic system should be altered to become part of a global caliphate.


Islamist groups hold flags during an anti-communist protest outside parliament building in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sept 29, 2017. Source: Reuters/Beawiharta

Nevertheless, students in the new study felt a greater sense of connection to the archipelago’s large, mainstream Muslim organisations Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah than to fundamentalist groups like the notorious Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI).

A presidential decree banning any civil organisations deemed to go against the country’s secular state ideology was approved by parliament last month. HTI – a largely peaceful organisation that calls for the establishment of a caliphate in Indonesia – was the first group to be disbanded under the decree.

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Some 82 percent of respondents said that they disapproved of interfaith marriage, while more than 90 percent said that homosexuality was immoral.

“This indicates that intolerant teachings have already entered top universities and high schools,” said the report.

“The government and moderate Islamic organisations must start taking tangible steps to anticipate this and be present in student circles with language that is easy for them to understand.”

Additional reporting from Reuters.