Madura ulamas write to president over Ahok’s alleged blasphemy case




LEADERS of Islamic boarding schools have written to President Joko Widodo, urging that the due process of law should follow in the alleged case of blasphemy involving Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok).

The letter was written by leaders of these schools across Madura Island in East Java Province. “We sent a letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo today,” chief of All-Madura Islamic Boarding Schools Association (HP3M) KH Lailurrahman said in a press briefing at Pamekasan Police Precinct here on Friday.

The letter, dated October 26, 2016, was signed by HP3M Chief KH Lailurrahman and his secretary KH Djakfar Shodik. The ulamas said if the legal process in this case was not followed, it will trigger larger rallies against Ahok, the Jakarta governor who is seeking re-election in February 2017.

In the letter, the ulamas also mentioned several articles in the 1945 Constitution that could form the legal basis for their call, including article 1 para 2; article 1 para 3; article 4 para 1; article 24 para 1; article 27 para 1; and article 30 para 4. “Article 4 para 1 of the Constitution stipulates that the President of the Republic of Indonesia holds government power in accordance with the law,” he noted.

Article 30 para 4 stipulates that the Indonesian police is a state apparatus assigned to keep security and public order, protect and serve the public and uphold the law, he underlined. He lamented that it seemed the police had not bothered about the case despite widespread protests against the Jakarta governor.

The Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) said Ahok has committed blasphemy citing a Al Maidah verse 51. Ahok told people in the Seribu Islands not to be deceived by people using the verse asking them not to elect a non-Muslim leader in the forthcoming election.

Also read: MUI: Ahok’s statement is a blasphemy and has legal consequences

MUI chairman Ma’ruf Amin pointed out in a statement that Ahok has insulted the Quran and the ulamas, and that police should investigate the case.


Saturday, 29 October 2016




MUI chapter in Madura Island designs concept of Islamic tourism

sumenep mas



THE Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI) of Sampang district on the island of Madura, East Java, will design a concept of Islamic tourism to meet the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community.

“Islamic management of tourism is needed to protect the local people of Madura from bad influences which are against religious values,” the secretary of the MUI Sampang chapter, Moh Sueb, said here Saturday.

The community of Sampang in particular and Madura in general will not be able to reject everything coming from outside because Indonesia has agreed to the implementation of ASEAN free trade, he said.

In view of that it is not impossible for things that are against local traditions and values to happen, he added.

Therefore, the local community and governments including clerics must be able to regulate visitors so that they would comply with local regulations.

“With regard to tourism, we are now designing a concept of Islamic tourism,” he said.

Not only in the tourism sector, but MUI Sampang as well as three other MUI chapters on the Madura island, have also thought of designing an Islamic concept in hotel management, education and industrialization, he said.

The implementation of an Islamic concept on Madura had indeed been discussed during a Madura-wide MUI meeting several days ago and it is being finalized, he explained.

MUI plans to gather experts from the hotel industry, tourist destination management, and universities and Islamic boarding schools, for finalizing the concept, he added.

On a separate occasion, the head of the Sampang district, KH Fannan Hasib, said he agreed with the MUI idea and was of the view that the Madurese community must be protected from various possible negative influences.

“Madura indeed has to advance on all fronts, but Islamic values must remain preserved there,” he said.


Sunday, 29 November 2016


Islam in Madura and the Violent Tradition of ‘Carok’

CluritAbdur Rozaki

Islam in Indonesia is deeply rooted in local communities and it is therefore impossible to find a common interpretation of the religion in this country of diverse ethnic groups. There are many Muslim communities, each with its own character. The different characteristics of each community mostly stem from different methods being used to interpret religious texts and are also closely linked with real socio-cultural situations.

Take the Madurese, for example.

Madura is part of East Java province and people outside Madura Island often assume that culturally the Madurese are the same as the Javanese. However, if we take a closer look into Madurese communities, there are clear socio-cultural differences that distinguish the religious character of the Javanese from the Madurese.

CLURITIn Madura, there are common beliefs that reflect the social character and way of life of the people regarding certain issues perceived to be sacred and that command full respect. Among those issues are Islam, women and self-esteem and the three are closely intertwined. A disregard of any of the three will bring forth violent reprisal, popularly known as carok, which is the Madurese problem solving mechanism.

According to a study conducted by Wiyata (2002), sexual advances or harassment of other people’s wives topped the list of conflicts between carok in Madura. Although religion values human life and advocates amicable solutions to conflicts, for the Madurese there is only a solution to a dispute involving a man’s wife: kill the perpetrator. Moreover, Muslim clerics or kyai seem to give social approval of such a violent action. No case involving a dispute over women has ever been settled peacefully, despite the involvement of the kyai as a mediator.

There were even reports of a kyai resorting to carok when his wife was harassed.

book mdrCarok has become the common way to settle problems in Madura, especially with regard to a threat to human dignity and self-esteem, as it satisfies the Madurese’ craving for justice, as compared to a court settlement. Madurese people have no trust in law enforcers. For the Madurese, to bring a case to a legal institution means to end up with greater losses. The case may not be settled, while the individual must also dig deep into his/her own pocket to cover the legal fees. Besides, it is a common belief that justice here belongs to the rich, not to the poor.

Madura’s religious institutions are powerless to end this violent practice. The Kyai, too, in whose hands lies the power to interpret religion and promote nonviolent acts, seem to be powerless to end the practice of carok. They have been trapped into providing justification and social approval for this cultural phenomenon.

In most cases, carok has led to a vicious retaliatory cycle. It also form a vicious cycle of violence which is unbreakable as the kyai and religious institutions in Madura are unable to start a new tradition of conflict-resolution. Ironically, some kyai play a significant, albeit indirect, role in preserving the carok culture by practicing magic and selling religious symbols like amulets, spells, and offering other “religious services”.

Why does violence as reflected in the carok tradition flourish in Madura?

There are several explanations to the question. First, the land is barren with limited water resources and yields limited agricultural produce. Poverty is rampant and discontent has made the people highly temperamental and emotional. Poverty has turned the eyes of the Madurese to immaterial things, including the value of dignity and self-esteem. Poverty has not made the people lose their social dignity. Hence, life is at stake when it comes to preserving their self-esteem, considered to be the last “treasure” owned by an individual. Ango’an pote tolang e tembeng pote mata, literally translates as: “It is better to have white bones than white eyes”, a local proverb meaning … Life simply loses its meaning when a man or a woman is humiliated and loses their self-esteem.

book mdr manSecond, there is the blater tradition. In Madura, there is a community known as blater, or thugs that plays a prominent role in their community. As a blater, an individual must have courage, wit, and skill in handling all means of defense, like martial arts, weapons and debus (magic). Blater are very fond of cockfighting. In addition, these local thugs also belong to a place called remoh, where they get together to feast to enjoy music and alcoholic drinks. Blater each take turns to hold such meetings and contribute money to the host.

A blater will enjoy great influence and command respect from the people if he wins in a carok duel. The influence of blater is strong in Madura as most village heads or klebun come from the blater community or are at least a former blater.

Third, weakening governmental institutions. The impotence of the already corrupt government institutions has strengthened blater‘s presence in Madurese society and made them more powerful than government security forces.

carokAmong these three social factors, Madurese Muslims seem to face a complicated social dilemma. On one hand, they are willing to create the basis for peaceful and tolerant values, but are faced with social-cultural conditions that provide a hotbed for violent traditions. In this context, Muslim Madurese are still dominated by local character rather than by Islamic teachings which are basically humanistic.

Hence, the best way to break the vicious cycle of violence is through: 1. Promoting a more pluralistic, tolerant, and humanist face of Islam through discussion because Islam that merely emphasizes symbols and texts promotes a violent expression of Islam; 2. Building a religious orientation which is deeply rooted in society by strengthening civil society to counter the structural and cultural domination that has tainted the religious elite, i.e., the kyai; 3. Tracing back the socio-cultural roots of the Madurese society to find a conflict resolution model that capitalizes on the people’s social behavior and non-violent facets like humility, rampa’naong, baringen korong (life in the shadow of peace).

— The writer is a post-graduate student of the school of sociology of Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta. He is also writing a thesis on the Power relationship between kyai and blater in Madura.

The Jakarta Post
Fri, February 07 2003


madura map