Survey finds that many state tertiary students want Islamic caliphate

Tempo – July 1, 2019
Setara Institute discussion at Ibis Hotel in Jakarta – May 31, 2019 (Tempo)
Setara Institute discussion at Ibis Hotel in Jakarta – May 31, 2019 (Tempo)

M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta – The Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy has released a survey on student religious patterns in 10 state tertiary institutions. Setara found that there were quite a large number of students who want a state based on religion.

“If on a scale of 1 to 5, an average of 3.09 respondents want a state designed around religious norms”, said Setara researcher Noryamin Aini in Jakarta on Sunday June 30.

The Jakarta State Islamic University lecturer said that based on this figure, respondents’ desire for religion to be more institutionalised and better accommodated in formal political life is quite high.

The Setara survey of 10 state campuses involved 1,000 respondents. The question given to students was, is there a need for religious law to be formulated to become a positive law and is there a need for religious communities to fight to establish a theocratic state.

“If perhaps discussed like Hizbut Tahrir would it’s a desire for an Islamic caliphate”, said Aini referring to the banned fundamentalist group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI).

The results of the survey showed that there were five campuses with a high percentage of students who wanted a theocratic state. The highest was Mataram University with a figure of 29 percent, followed by the Yogyakarta State University with 22 percent, the Bandung State Islamic University with 16 percent, the Bogor Agricultural Institute with 15 percent and the Jakarta State Islamic University with 11 percent.

Meanwhile students from the other five campuses showed a relatively low interest in a religious based state. These included the University of Indonesia, the Gajah Mada University and the Bandung Institute of Technology with 8 percent. The Brawijaya University and the Airlangga University scored 7 percent.

Aini said that students from these last five campuses showed a greater interest in more substantive relationship patterns between religion and the state. Meaning the state only needs to adopt the best values from each religion.

“There was a compromise [expressed] in religious demands, namely establishing a state which does not side with the interests of a particular religion”, he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Survei Setara: Banyak Mahasiswa yang Ingin Negara Bercorak Agama”.]