Any of Dialogue Sphere for Ahmadiyah?

Tolerance is a must for responding the plurality. The Plurality of race, ethnicity, religion, etc sometimes can trigger the potency of conflict because one tends to place his identity in superior to others so that, tolerance is required to reduce it. Tolerance is defined as “the willingness or ability to tolerate something/somebody (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 1995).

In instilling the tolerance, education both formal education from the school and informal education from the family upbringing play an important role. It is insisted for it to teach the one in the importance of tolerance of plurality to achieve what Bhikku Parekh (2008) says that “plurality of differences is not as threaten, but as conversation partner” to learn each other in giving unique contribution for the better world. .

In this case, I will refer to a scholar namely Geir Afdal who is a prominent figure from Norway who has devoted himself to write a lot of works concerning with dialogue. He formulates some theories of tolerance such pre-modern, liberal, critical, communitarian, and postmodern tolerance.

I am thus very interested to probe his theory ‘liberal tolerance”. As explained that the liberal tolerance is divided in public and private spheres. Public sphere entitles one as a citizens who have the very liberty and is restricted by the state law, while and the private sphere entitles one to embrace his religion to be his way of life for achieving his private good. In this case, people can use his religion as the way of salvation and claim it as the truth, but in the public sphere, he must take precedence for the state law for the public good.

Moreover, the liberal tolerance consists of state tolerance and individual tolerance. As Weissberg in Afdal (2010: 604) argues “the state tolerance is political tolerance, and individual tolerance is moral tolerance.” A very big question pops up, if the state tolerance is based on political tolerance, it can be guessed that majority will become a victor, why? I myself can argue that, the state, of course, will decide something based on the shared paradigm that the majority agrees with. So, what would be with the minority?

Ahmadiyah case is one of the very actual things that can show us that how the state tolerance is unjust. Ahmadiyah (Qadian) is one of the sects and also minority in Islam deemed as a deviant teaching (heretic) by the edict of Indonesia Moslem Cleric Council (MUI) which is one of the government organizations under the Ministry of Religious Affairs due to claim that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the subsequent prophet after Mohammad. As we all know, Mohammad is the last prophet for mainstream Moslem.

I confidently say that Indonesia is a country implementing “the liberal tolerance” because in its constitution (UUD 1945) is stated that” the state guarantees freedom of religious and faith”. It means that the state divides two realms between the state and the private, so that it must give the very liberty for the citizen to embrace any religion or faith and also deserves to protect its citizens for freedom of religious and faith.

However, the fact is in contrary. By means of the edict issued by MUI, some Moslem organizations attack even kill some Ahmadiyan and they also destroy Ahmadiyah’s Mosque as recently in Pandeglang (06/02/2011). They insist the government that Ahmadiyah must be abolished and then to establish a new religion as in Pakistan where this sectl comes from. Ironically, the state in this case has been absence to protect its citizens.

I assume that some probably forget that Indonesia is not Islamic state as Pakistan, Indonesia is based on Pancasila (five principles of Indonesia) where Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in diversity) is our slogan and they also forget that despite Ahmadiyah as a new religion in Pakistan, its adherents still get any violence and threaten from some Moslem groups there. Besides, if Ahmadiyah proclaimed itself as a new religion, would it be officially acknowledged by the state as Islam, Christian, Catholic, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism as an official religion? The state is to ideally guarantee the liberty of its citizens as long as they do not bother the public security and the liberty of someone else.

Undeniably, our state tolerance towards Ahmadiyah case is too political because it draws on the paradigm of mainstream Moslems and the state is functioned as the servant of the majority only and to forget the minority’s right. This thesis can be argued that how if the Ahmadiyan is the majority in this country, are they deviant or heretic? Of course not, because “majority tends to dominate and hegemony” ( Zaenuddin, 2003).

The refusal of Ahmadiyan has not been also occurred in Indonesia, but also in Arab Saudi. Professor Salam was one of Ahmadiyan who got any rejection from Arab Saudi. It evens forbade Salam unkindly to step his foot in its land. However, when Salam won the physics noble prize, many people in the world came in multitude to congratulate him, particularly the government of Saudi who forbade Salam to step his foot in it. Saudi, finally, did ‘double speaking’ by inviting him officially to be the guest speaker in Arab Saudi for speaking about Islam and Science (Pranowo, 2010). This designates the Ahmadiyah case is too political.

The state should indeed implement the real liberal tolerance which accentuate primarily in a real liberty and also what Paulo Freire’s says “dialogue which based on humility” (Freire, 2006). Humility is a must because when the state still put the majority in superior to minority, the escalation of violence will happen over and over because the majority with much power easily oppresses the minority. The majority is to be the protector of the minority.

Hence, the state should invite the Ahmadiyan to sit together to be a conversation partner, promise to protect them by prosecuting the people who have attacked, and also accommodate them in order to gain just treatment. Otherwise, Indonesia will be failed state.


Afdal, Geir. (2010) “The Maze of Tolerance” in Kath Engebretson,, eds., International Handbook of Inter-religious Education. London and New York: Springer, 597-615.

Freire, Paulo. (2006). Pedagogy of the Oppressed: 30th Anniversary Edition. New York: Continuum.

Jonathan Crowther (ed.). (1995). Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Parekh, Bhikku. (2008). A New Politics of Identity: Political Principles for an Interdependent World. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

M. Bambang Pranowo. (2010). Orang Jawa Jadi Teroris. Jakarta Selatan: PT. Anggaraksa Jaya.

Muhammad Zaenuddin. (2003). Menggoyang Pikiran: Menuju Alam Makna. Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar.


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