Robert W Hefner
The phenomenon of populism is increasingly prevalent in the world. United States, Europe, India, Myanmar experience this. Indonesia is no exception as a democratic country. According to Professor of Anthropology at Boston University, United States Robert W Hefner, this is a threat in Indonesia, especially for the Nusantara Islam and the political and cultural ideals of an inclusive Indonesia in the midst of multiracial and religious.
Nevertheless, he remained convinced that Indonesia was able to withstand the threat. That does not mean just leaving it.
“Indonesia will hold it. (But) It does not mean free from populist threats. It will certainly take place as part of democratization,” Hefner said while filling out a public lecture at Jakarta's Nahdlatul Ulama University (Unusia), Jalan Taman Amir Hamzah , Pegangsaan, Jakarta, Friday (11/1).
Hefner is still confident that the Nusantara Islam and the Advancing Islam will continue. However, he also reminded that the participants and the community in general must feel confident too.
“This test will be felt continuously because of the general phenomenon, especially countries that want to be democratic. We will continue to see the same phenomenon,” he explained.
Populism, explained Hefner, does not mean popular. He also does not come from the expectations of the people themselves. On the contrary, populism destroys the culture, values, and institutions of society which have the soul to live together.
“Populism is a mobilization strategy that is applied by certain political figures,” said the man who has been researching Indonesia for more than 30 years.
The author of the book Civil Islam  mentions two features of populism, namely the mobilization strategy by creating enemies and assuming oneself as figures. He explained that the creation of the enemy was carried out to create a social threat for all. From there, politicians withdrew their support through calls made deliberately in harmony with their aspirations.
“There must be changes to normative work, finding things that can be exploited to create enemies,” he explained.
Furthermore, the Director of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA) also emphasized that the creation of the enemy was also to make the politician a figure. Without having a strong mass base, based on the creation of the enemy, he is shown to be a new figure.
That, he said, was done by Donald Trump in his efforts to become the number one person in his country. Trump, explained Hefner, created many enemies. Two of them are Latin American immigrants and the Muslim community.
Populism, according to him, created tension between civil society. The tension is made through baseless news. That is what destroys their relationship. “Through facts that are actually baseless,” he explained.
More clearly, he gave an example of Poland. A country that has almost no Muslim population makes Islam a threat. The people who obeyed the church were also made hostile to liberals.
The discussion was guided by Ahmad Suaedy, the lecturer at the Unusia Postgraduate Program, and was also attended by the Dean of the Unusia Islamic Faculty of the Archipelago Mastuki HS, Ulil Abshar Abdalla, and Unusia lecturers. (Syakir NF / Muhammad Faizin)
This Article was Published On: NU Online
Translated by Google Translate