The cyber world nowadays is a free forum, not only to express healthy opinions but often to blaspheme and throw vituperations as well. The internet as a communication media that is supposed to stand as a connector between men now lashes up at us as a divisive.
“Indeed, Satan had found it despairing to make believers worship him; but he is determined to always spread enmity and hatred amongst them.” (Prophet’s Hadith, as compiled and written by Tirmidzi)
A divisive information is just like a spreading poison.
At the first stage it will sow seeds of class or group fanaticism. It could be religion, football hooligans, supporters of presidential candidates, etc. Each group would product information that corroborate their supremacy while degrading others.
In this stage, information would form a segregation stronghold. The society would be compartmentalized in a closed stronghold.
The result is, they failed to reflect each other in a clear light. And it’s easy for each other to fall into prejudice and prejudgment.
Following this, stereotype will grow. People would buy assumptions and inert on making confirmation. Prejudice and prejudgment happen not only between two arguing factions, it would spread amongst neighbors, even seeping to households and families as well.
Once we fail to trust each other, labelling is the next stage. I-you, we-they, friend-foe, Sunni-Shiite, Viking-The Jack, indigenous-newcomer, fundamentalist-liberal, and other labels. These labels make everyone recognizes who to protect and those who should be banished.
Next, we could anticipate small sparks that would lead into a massive explosion (example: cases of Ambon and Poso).
Each and every mass violence usually have gone through these stages. Begins with an information; then little by little the poison of information eats up the “immunity” which is called trust. When trust in the society has gone, friends would slay each other, and even a nation could rumble when the citizens and the leaders had lost trust to each other (e.g ehat happened to Yugoslavia).
Therefore we the Loving Islam Movement ask each and every single member of the society to be aware of this situation and start to take real actions, no matter how small.
Do not participate in reproducing and spreading divisive information. Information is there to be considered in a wise and reproachful manner. If you are not able to reproduce positive contents, then please consider not to reproduce negative contents.
“It is fit to be called a liar when one told (spread) everything that he had heard.” (Prophet’s Hadith, as compiled and written by Muslim)
Do not get entangled in a polemics thrown on purpose in the cyber world to clear-cut pro-cons group segregations. Note under observations, during the past years there were always time where the netizens yelled to each other, arguing and participating in certain polemics. Each December, for instance, “Is it halaal or haram for Muslims to say merry Christmas” becomes the hot topic everywhere. Each person feels it’s a natural right to issue a fatwa (religious injunction).
The beginning of Ramadan, or a certain religious holiday, are also peak times for debate forums, this time on the difference when to start or to end fasting. Throughout the year those “hot”, energy-draining topics are abundance and seemed to be endless. The debates following them often did not true to the topics, but had aimed to segregations, perceiving each sides of the debates as separate and as different as it can be.
It is to this situation that the Prophet PBUH’s hadith could really be applied: “I assure unto thee a house in the bottom of Paradise should thou avoid arguments although he was in the right side; and I assure thee a house on top of Paradise to those with flawless morality.” (Prophet’s Hadith as compiled and written by Abu Dawud)
Instead of draining our energies in endless debates, let us instead produce love and unity-packed contents. These could be set as a counter-argument against hateful contents.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre reported that websites/pages with hateful contents reached around 11,500 in the year of 2010, raised up to 20% from the previous year. Should we want to neutralize the poison of hatred in the cyber world, we need a whole lot more of love-packed websites and contents.
Teaching critical thinking method and growing the tabayyun (a habit to re-checking and cross-checking a news/information until the truth could be assured) tradition to students, teachers, as well as to members of the society. As poisonous a poison-ridden information as it could be, it would be negated when we have a defense mechanism in the form of literate ability, digital literation and critical thinking.
In accordance to this appeal, The Loving Islam Movement also launched several programs and agenda.
The 2016 Loving Islam Festival (LIF): it’s a festival along the current of moderate Islam, promoting the peace-loving Islamic values. This festival is a space for organizations, academicians, artists and individual entity who want to voice the peaceful Islam to a broader audience. The 2015 LIF was held in Syarif HidayaNational Islamic University in Jakarta, and had successfully presented more than 1,500 audiences; notable figures like Anies Baswedan, Moh.Mahfud MD, Alwi Shihab, Komaruddin Hidayat etc were also seen attending. The 2016 LIF would be held in February 24, at National Islamic University of Malang, East Java. East Java as a basis to pesantren, traditional Islamic school, would make ample spaces for the kyai (religious leader), santri (religious students), other than to students, academicians and notable figures in local and national Muslim societies.
Literation training for preachers, teachers in Islamic schools, asatidz, santri and activists in Islamic organization in middle/high schools: a collaboration work with Ministry of Religion, the Loving Islam Movement (LIM) would guide several preachers, teachers, sanntri and activists to possess an ability in literation and digital literation. They are the avant garde troops, the tip of the spear that will determine the face of Islam in Indonesia. By training them, it could be hoped that the Juma rostrums, religion lessons in schools and traditional Islamic schools everywhere would radiate the cooling, peaceful Islam nuance.
Publishing and distributing Juma com-bull (comic strips-bulletin): working in collaboration with ISLAMIC (Islam in Comic), LIM would produce and distribute comic strips-bulletin, concentrating in mosques within university campuses. The moral in these bulletin would be the peaceful Islam values. Pack in the form of comic strips to catch students’ attention, these bulletins are very strategic in spreading the peaceful Islam message, considering that nowadays it is Juma bulletins packed with intolerant concept that flooded the mosques. ISLAMIC is a movement initiated by students; so far it is already a year on circulation online and has raised up to 30 thousands audience. This media is one out nine creative promulgation movements in online media.
By: Abdullah Alawi