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Indonesia

Indonesian Ulema Council rejects move to certify preachers

Clerical body says it is not right for the state to intervene in religious matters

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Indonesian Ulema Council rejects move to certify preachers

The Indonesian Ulema Council has rejected the government plan to certify preachers. (Photo: mui.or.id)

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The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has rejected the Religious Affairs Ministry’s certified program for thousands of Muslim preachers scheduled to launch by the end of this month to boost their capacity by improving their national insights.

The ministry will initially target 8,200 Muslim preachers to participate in the non-binding program. Each participant will will receive a  certificate and the MUI and government institutions including the Agency for Pancasila Ideology Education (BPIP) and the National Counterterrorism Agency will also be involved

In a statement received by UCA News on Sept. 9, the MUI said the program “has sparked noise, misunderstanding and anxiety over the government’s intervention in religious affairs, will put Muslims in a difficult situation and has the potential to be used by certain parties as a tool to control religious life.”

“Therefore, the MUI rejects the planned program,” the council said.

The MUI also said in its statement, signed by secretary-general Anwar Abbas and deputy chairman Muhyiddin Junaidi, that they could understand the importance of improving competence among Muslim preachers.

“But such a program must be completely handled by Islamic organizations or associations including the MUI and other parties which have the authority for that,” the council said, calling for all parties to not easily connect radicalism to Muslim preachers.

Abbas refused to give further comments when UCA News contacted him.

Earlier, Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said at a meeting with members of the legislative body in Jakarta that the public should not worry about the program.

“There is nothing to worry about. In fact, the program’s goal is good. It wants to improve preachers’ national insights,” he said, as quoted by Kompas.com.

He said his ministry will hold the program for all religions.

“For Islam, the program will involve the MUI. For other religions, there will be religious councils from each religion,” he said, adding that each program will be held for three consecutive days.

However, Yandri Susanto, a legislator, questioned the government’s program during the meeting with the minister, saying that ulema “receive certificates directly from Allah.”

“It is not right if the state, through the Religious Affairs Ministry, intervenes in the matter. Therefore, we want the program to be canceled,” he said.

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