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Human Rights

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Agus Miswanto


Human rights becomes mainstream issues and core paradigm among people in the world today. And declaration and covenant of human rights has been ratified and adopted in laws and constitutions of many countries in the world. And we think that it is a good news for people. But, an approach through laws solely is not enough. Developing human rights awareness need many instruments to promote it among people. And the instruments which is viewed effectively is through education. 

Human rights education is a gate for translating human rights awareness especially for young generation. Even nowadays, in many part of the world, young group people are to be targeted of violence and harassment. Therefore, educating on human rights awareness among them are unavoidable to do.  Beside, building a human dignity would not exist, if each person of young generation does not have properly enough knowledge on protection and violence of human rights. Therefore, supporting the existence of human rights education from early age shall to be interest for every group and organization who pay attention the development of future generation. 

Human rights education commonly teach about Universal Declaration of Human rights and its covenants, values implied in human rights, and socialization on the example of violence cases and fighting to defend human rights. Besides that, although human rights are universal, introducing human rights as a system of law and new morality also require the comparative or contextualization of human rights values with local values or religious values which have been adopted by the people. Basically, all groups of people, religion and tradition uphold human dignity, but introducing a new concept usually triggers questions and doubt, before finally it is digested and accepted. Therefore, the contextualization of human rights values is unavoidable.


Today, human rights education programs have been conducted through formal education or non-formal. In Indonesia, since July 1998, Curriculum Center of Research and development chamber of Indonesian National Education, together with KOMNASHAM (Indonesian National Commission of Human rights) and UNESCO have developed a pilot project of human rights education model in elementary schools in Cianjur, west java. In 1999, this project was upgraded to secondary school level (SMP and SMA), and higher education in Kupang, and Timor, east Nusa Tenggara. In Muhammadiyah Organization, the largest Islamic Organization in Indonesia, also has introduced human rights education reconciled with Islamic teaching since 2008, and this project was successful   

In other country, human rights education is still conducted, even the discussion on human rights become an essential element in almost all organizations and religious programs, including Islam. There are examples in many of part of the world in which Islam reconciled with human rights education. For instance, a comparative study on human rights documents in European tradition, America and Islam (human rights values in Al-Qur'an and Hadith), are joined together in lesson plan discussion of American Youth Muslim. This program is aiming at the introducing Islamic principles, and at the same time the clarifying the misconception on Islam which is frequently dubbed as a pro-violent religion and less appreciative on humanity. Human rights also become one of primary concerns of Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance, a prominent youth organization in Kenya. The commitment of activists and Islamic Institution on human rights also has received many awards and appreciation. For example, human rights education project in Al-Ghazaly Islamic High School in New Jersey, which supervises a case of conflict between Palestine and Israel, got human rights 101 award, from Thirteen/WNET Human right 101 New York. In 2003, Sherin Ebadi, a human rights activist Muslim woman from Iran, got a noble price on peace through her efforts to fight and defend against women discrimination.

Human rights education in formal schools does not mean to include human rights subject in curriculum. If it is to do so, the students would only receive the knowledge on human rights, but they cannot implement values implied in its content. It is the same case with the religious education and Pancasila (five pillars of Indonesian ideology) or civic education in schools which only focus on memorizing, but the students do not implement in their daily life. Besides that, adding a subject of Human rights in the curriculum will only burdens the students. Human rights education in school can be set up in the context of relationship between teachers and students which accord to human rights values, such as democratic relationship. Human rights values also can be instructed in the relevant core subjects, such as Al-Islam. 

Teaching on Al-Islam together with human rights insight is a part of efforts to reconcile human rights and Islamic Shariah.  Digging human rights values in Islamic teaching can reduce a doubt and controversy on human rights. Finally, exposing Islamic teaching which uphold the human dignity hopefully can educate students to be a Muslim not only believe in God and lead to be a pious, but also actively involved in building his/her rights and protect rights of others.


Controversial issues on compatibility of human rights and Islam has been debated for long time. Commonly, the refusal do exist based on two reasons: (1) the reluctance of Muslim people to accept western doctrine. It is because of the traumatic experiences which is bearing Muslim people in a long colonial era. That western paradigm is viewed in negative assumption, which is only to be an instrument of western countries to dominate and to do harm in Islamic societies. And (2) there is a belief among Muslim people that only Islamic Shariah is solely valuable laws and ethics for Muslim people.  Because Islamic shariah is to be solely an instrument for Muslim people in which they can be independent far from the intervention and domination of western ideologies. These two views which is spreading among Muslim people not to accept human rights implementation among Muslim people.

These views are not properly acceptable, because, first, actually Muslim people has recognized human rights concept. The notion of upholding human dignity can be found in the historical tradition, cultural and religiosity of Islam,  nonetheless  modern human rights formulation which has yielded  the Universal declaration of Human rights (UDHR) theoretically is something new (Ihsan Ali Fauzi, 2008). Nonetheless, the modern human rights are not exclusive of western product. The drafting the declaration and covenant of modern human rights involved representative of religions and the number of countries in the world. Second, Human rights do not incessantly contradict with Islamic Shariah. One of efforts to reconcile human rights and Shariah has been done in 1990, when the representatives of Muslim countries integrated in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) signed Cairo Declaration. The declaration declares that all elements of human rights is highly appreciative in Islam, but all has to be obedient under shariah. Although placing human rights under shariah become controversial issues and received many critics, the declaration itself is a strong evidence that human rights accords with Islamic values.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015


Agus Miswanto

Every people almost know that free expression and thoughts are guaranteed by the Indonesian state constitution.  There for, every people can express their idea freely, and can criticize some cases of social or political phenomenon. Criticizing upon the government is also guaranteed, even though it is very hard.  Indonesia has declared as one of democratic countries which uphold ideas and philosophy of democratic system adopted in state constitution and many state decrees. Democratic country shall honor independent press journals which is a part of pillars for democratic countries, beside civil societies, law enforcement, good governance, and general election. The existence of press journals in such countries denotes the indication of guaranties for free thought and expression of people. There for, if the state government intervenes deeply into press journals, such as contents have to get approval screening from the government authority, it indicates that free thought and expression is not fully guaranteed in this country. 

Press Journals in Democratic Countries

The important principles and fundamental tenets in democratic society are that challenge, even threat of thoughts, theories and paradigm is not answered by harassment treat. But it is accounted and taken into philosophical dialectic. All challenge and threat which come from the ideas expression of people would be put and grounded into philosophical debate which is free area for expression which people freely think, talk, and do critics upon them, and it is far from intervention of state power. So thoughts, paradigm, theories, and beliefs could not be punished, and all of them are guaranteed by the state constitution. There for all expression in press journals, even printed or on line, are fundamental rights for every people.  And the expression in press journals is fully independent without limitation, unless it is demanded by people through fair trial at the courthouse. The expression which drives fidgety of people and hatred can be sued through the courthouse and shall be punished, if only it is prosecuted through the courthouse which could be proof through process of fair trial. In democratic country therefore, government cannot close press journals without the decree of the court.  And closing press journals by the state government without trial is not democratic, even it is characteristic of dictatorship government.

Press journals in democratic countries function to control the state governments in dealing with its accountability. Besides, it also educates people to know what their rights in relation with the government and other people. Therefore, press journals shall give different shouting upon the government perspectives and acts. And some times, press journals must shout loudly towards such conditions which people have to know and aware of jeopardy. So, critics, even soft or hard, are fundamental tenets of press journals in democratic countries. But the critics have to be objective, fair, rational, and reasonable. Due to the situation, press journals must achieve remarkably up top position among people, and contribute positive intake credibly upon society.     

Islamic Press Journals in Indonesia

In Indonesia, the development of Islamic press journals is not so rebound; it is relatively too small compared to the number of Muslim people. Therefore, the existences of Islamic press journals in Indonesia to promote positive Islamic teaching to people, is slight needed, even it is much demanded. If the Islamic press journals are limited, and it is difficult to be accessed by people, it would be jeopardy to people and the state. When Muslim people cannot get available positive information on Islam, they would be easy to be a targeted group of brain washing by radical group. The brain washing is used to radicalize people, especially for people whose lack of information on Islam. In other word, almost minimal Muslim is to be targeted group, in which they are not educated in Islamic teachings. Why? Almost minimal Muslims do not have an adequate argument to answer challenges and critical question of radical group. In the contrary, educated Muslims on Islam, they are more open and can articulate good argument in debate although with high challenges and questions.  Therefore radical group shall face difficulties to spread and promote their ideologies among Islamic Universities students, because their ideological argument must be kicked out by brilliant argument of students there. Therefore, member of radical Muslim group linkage deals with uneducated people on Islam who is mostly not educated in Islamic universities.

Islamic press journals in Indonesia beside present normative Islamic values, also discuss much problem of social phenomenon to solve and search alternative solutions. Even some times, it do debate and answer many challenges and critical questions issued by other press journals which has different perspective and ideologies. Through many different topics presented, Islamic press journals educate people to aware of the situation and rights accordingly with Islamic tenets. Even though, Islamic press journals only give alternative information and solution to people, they have free choices to choose to read and do critics upon information and solution from abundant of press journals which is available among society. So abundant of different perspective or ideologies presented in Islamic press journals is not problematic for Muslim people, but it shall help them to open their mind.

In addition, the numbers of Islamic journals shall help the government to protect people from radical perspective, but give them wide horizon on Islam with different perspective. So, more richer content of Islamic press Journals, it shall make people more mature and wiser in perspective and paradigm. And more colorful perspective in content, it shall drive people to honor more different thoughts, ideologies and beliefs. Then, the number of Islamic press journals with wide range from soft paradigm to the radical paradigm, from left perspective to right perspective, from liberal to fundamental perspective, shall give credits toward mature of democratic mentality of Muslim people in Indonesia. So fear of the government toward the emerging of radical or fundamentalist group movement must be eliminated. In other word, the frightened government on Islamic press journals is not accounted, even misleading excessively.

The ISIS in Press Journals: Misleading Government

Social and political phenomenon which is driving the Indonesian government to close Islamic press journals is the emerging of the ISIS ideologies. The ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) actually is Middle East phenomenon, especially in Syria and Iraq, but it drives wide implication of fear in many areas including Indonesia. To cut off the spreading of the ISIS ideologies, the government act screening to refine contents of Islamic press journals, even to block and stop the publishing of Islamic press journals in Indonesia. The reason which leads the government is that press journals are an instrument to promote radical ideologies to people, even as instrument to recruit members and sympathizers from Indonesian people to participate to do ‘jihad’ or holy war in Iraq and Syria.

Why does the ISIS succeed to frighten people and the government?  It is because of the ISIS is dubbed to have been spreading radical and harassment ideologies to people. Besides that the ISIS succeeded to do mimicry and turn camouflages from al-Qaida linkage, which is well-known as a radical Islamic movement commanded by Osama bin Laden. If we look up the history of radical Islamic ideologies in Indonesia, al-Qaida, the ISIS and Jamaah Islamiyah for example succeeded to develop linkage of ideological harassment movement in Indonesia through brain washing method and smuggling strategy. And brain washing method used by al-Qaida group (including the ISIS and Jamaah Islamiyah) and its wing or link in Indonesia is not through press journals. Because press journals spreads ideas and perspectives in very open way which people can read critically and independently, meanwhile al-Qaida or the ISIS group and its link is much closed, even smuggled. There for, al-Qaida or the ISIS develop linkage through doing smuggled small cell group strategy which its one or two cadre do meeting face to face with targeted persons or small group of people. Through this smuggled meeting, they do closed discussion and inject the indoctrination of radical ideologies to the targeted group of people. Therefore, the Islamic press journals are not possible to be an instrument for Islamic radical movement which characterized as smuggled and very close. Then, the closure of Islamic press journals by the state government is misleading and unreasonable.

Sunday, 12 April 2015


by Agus Miswanto

Most people have paid much attention to what happen in Iraq and Syria today, including Indonesian people. As Indonesian, I am very concerned what was popping up and blowing up by several Medias in the world spreading about conflicts and war in Iraq and Syria on western perspective. Most people, from the west to the east, from the north to the south, have blamed that problem maker in Iraq and Syria is The ISIS (Islamic state of Iraq and Syria). Objectively and critically, what happen in Iraq and Syria actually is not simple like we see in the surface and reported in several media today. Therefore, all problems what happen in Iraq and Syria burdened to the ISIS, is over simplified even cynical. Why? Because root of problem actually, it is based on western act and treat, especially American strategy to win domination over the Middle East area economically, militarily, and politically. Even though, I also do not agree with what the ISIS has done such torture, hatred, and killing innocent people, in which their treats have bad implication to people and Islam.

Iraq Conflict:  The US Interest

If we root three decade ago even more, American, even western has double standard. It could be seen in the conflicts between Iraq and Iran in 1980s. The US government in that time, was prominent supporter to Iraq in which, every people knew, that chief of Iraq was Sadam Husein; in later to be the most enemy of the US. Well-known as a strongest military in Middle East in that time, all military equipment of Iraq such air crafts, missile, bombs, was supplied by US and the Western.  Why the US and Western countries was to be supporters to Iraq? It was blatantly, that the US and its allies to defeat Iran which is an important allies of Russia. Iraq and Iran in that time, were prominent and the biggest exporters of oil in the world. So economically, the US had advantages due to the conflicts between Iraq and Iran. The US could export high technologies of arm to Iraq, in which of course, the need to arm equipment was very high. And it could be bartered by oil, in where Iraq produced it. Then, Iraq got the arm equipment and the US got oils which lowest cost. And politically, the US had double advantages: the first, the US could reach more domination in Middle East area, which made many allies of Middle East countries. Second, the US could defeat Iran which to be Soviet allies, without sending the troops in the battle area. So it was cheap cost to defeat Iran as Soviet allies in those areas.  

After the end of Iraq and Iran wars, Iraq was to be a strongest country in the Middle East. And the US did not want what Iraq had achieved. Because politically, the US domination in the Middle East in danger. There for, the US searched ways and strategies to block Iraq to be strongest military country.  One of strategies was, Iraq to be provoked to claim that Kuwait was one of parts of Iraq. Therefore, Iraq had rights to invade Kuwait due to that claim. Due to this situation, war in Middle East started in worst.  The US has a key to take intervention step through the UN, in which the UN released agreement toward the US military intervention to Iraq. To defeat Iraq, the US invited its allies from many countries to join military operation in Iraq. It was a brilliant strategy of the US government to defeat Iraq, in which the US was not single fighter to invade and occupy Iraq militarily and economically. So, the military operation by the US and its allies was not merely to save Kuwait, as motivation, but there was a hidden agenda; it was, actually operation of economical and political interest of the US Government; that was oil.

When, the US invading Iraq, the US did not merely release its troops in Iraq, but the US develop several paramilitary groups in Iraq to battle Sadam Husain. After defeating Sadam Husain, paramilitary groups want to develop a new country, a more democratic country than before. One of paramilitary groups which supported by the US was the ISIS like now. This group, actually, was small group which have allegation with other groups having same platform. The development of the group gradually has magnetic sympathy from diverse part of the world.  Therefore, many people who have sympathy to this group, they want to join although they have to take long journey to Iraq.

Arab Spring and the Syria Conflict: The US Proxies

In 2010, in which Arab spring started, it has contributions to the paramilitary groups in Arab to battle to topple and defeat the dictatorship system spreading in many Arab countries, including Syria. Syria although is well-known as having presidential system, like in democratic country, but the system is run in that country actually is not democratic. It is due to the concern of many western countries. Assad as president of Syria is like king in monarchies system. He is untouchable and powerful person. Therefore, there are many people who do not want such situation, especially in Syria itself. Whenever, the Arab Spring popped up in 2010, many groups in Syria took chance to challenge the government system of Syria to change.

To respond the challenge of several rebellions in Syria, Assad took hard action, even took army strategy to destroy and dismantle the rebellion rising in several Areas in Syria. The reason of Syrian government to take hard action is to protect the stability of government and state.  But hard action took by the government of Syria did not success, even give bad implication to people of Syria. Furthermore, many governments in Middle East and western countries reacted negatively toward what Syrian government has been taking. Even Syrian government was blamed to have mass killing in many areas of Syria. Furthermore, the sad situation was still running, western countries and the US government wanted that President Assad have to topple from the top position of presidential; of course the option was not accepted by Assad. But the western countries and the US did not have a key to take military intervention directly to Syria. Therefore, they took other strategy to arm many rebellion groups in Syria.  Even this strategy was also supported by the Saudi and turkey’s government. The US gave arm equipment supply to the rebellion in Syrian through Saudi and Turkey. So Saudi and Turkey actually are being proxies of the US government.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria: Unwanted American Proxy

Iraq and Syria 

The war and conflict in Iraq and Syria force people to live in bad condition and situation. Most people wherever they live, of course they want to live in safety. The western and US government give help such as military intervention and support several rebellion groups, actually people are accepted and they have dream that they immediately will live in good condition. Unlike dream, the situation and condition there is still running in bad condition, even the worst. The people have struggle and they have to determine what will happen in their future and they do not believe any more in western help and wish. 

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is actually integration of many groups of rebellion in Iraq and Syria to be one in chief under Abu Bakar al-Bagdadi commando. Many rebellion groups which separated and live in small group, they group in one chief commando. So this group, ISIS, become more famous and gradually accepted by people in Iraq and Syria. Even this rebellion could promote the attractive ideology, Islamic plate form, to people. Why, people in Iraq and Syria are interested? It is easy to answer; because of people in this area have a long time, lived under secular regime which suppressed them; dictatorship regime; Assad and Sadam is like. So whenever people in Iraq and Syria choose their future by supporting the ISIS due to secular regime before could not protect and secure them, their option actually is not fear of any country, even to be enemy in the world. May be it would be different, if the rebellion does not proclaim the state independently as Islamic state in Iraq and Syria. They would be getting support from many countries; especially the US and western Countries?