A week appointed as Minister of Religion, Fachrul Razi, made a controversial statement. The four-star general alluded to the matter of the state civil service (ASN) who wore trousers over the ankles (commonly called cingkrang pants) in government offices. He stated that ASN or civil servants (PNS) have dress codes, especially when in the work environment.

Mr Razi’s words invite polemic. Even though it is said that cingkrang pants cannot be banned from the religious aspect because there is indeed no prohibition, there are rules for ASN or PNS related to this. According to him, all ASNs must be able to obey the rules and follow them from top to bottom.

Not only cingkrang pants, Minister of Religion of the Advanced Indonesian Cabinet also rolled out the idea of a ban on the use of veils in government agencies. Even though it is still a discourse, the discourse can be reviewed and taken seriously by the Ministry of Religion.

He said he did not prohibit niqob or veil, only applies when it is within the environment of government agencies. His reason was security, learning from the stabbing case of the former Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security (Menkopolhukam), Wiranto, Thursday (10/10/2019).

When first introduced by President Joko Widodo, one of the tasks given to the Minister of Religion was indeed to fight radicalism. Then, is this discourse rolled out to fight radicalism? Many people disagree with the discourse.

The clothes that a person wears, whether a pair of pants or a niqob, are not the size of someone exposed to radicalism. Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Commission VIII in charge of religion and social affairs, Ace Hasan Syadzily, said that the Minister of Religion should be careful in giving statements so as not to cause controversy within the ASN environment.

Mr Syadzily said, the Minister of Religion should conduct a study first and based on a strong database. Giving statements related to religious beliefs without a strong database, according to Ace, could have an impact on the wrong perception of President Jokowi’s government.

Sosilog Thamrin Amal Tamagola believes that, despite the discourse, the policy is ridiculous when applied. According to him, a minister should not arrange a person’s clothes, even though he is a servant of the state. According to him, each religion has its own rules about clothing, and this discourse can actually cause controversy and noise among Muslims. Surely this could potentially disrupt harmony in society.

Non-Benchmark Clothing

President Jokowi did give a special message to Mr Razi about radicalism. Unfortunately, radicalism is not measured by how to dress. Clothing can not be a benchmark for someone exposed to radicalism or not.

The issue of radicalism is becoming wild and is identified with someone wearing a veil or trousers. Based on several events or incidents in Indonesia, Islamic “identity” has always been linked to radicalism, for example the case of Wiranto’s stabbing some time ago.

Another example is the terror planning case carried out by Abdul Basith, a former IPB lecturer who plans to blow up Indomaret minimarkets throughout Jakarta. Basith is allegedly also involved in riots in a student demonstration late last September.

Radicalism has indeed become a major work of the government to eradicate it. Moreover, this understanding is now prone to infiltrate the lower classes through educational institutions or in the community. Including ASN.

Head of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), Komjen Suhardi Alius, said that the radical notion of terrorism was not only targeting ordinary people, ASN in the regions could also be exposed to this understanding. Moreover, ASN deals directly with the public in the line of public services.

Society cannot justify someone being exposed to radicalism through clothing alone. There are specific criteria for radicalism, as stated by the BNPT. Criteria for radicalism, first intolerant, this attitude means that they are not ready to differ in various ways. This is often the first criterion that must be understood. Secondly, Takfiri, in Arabic means the term for someone who accuses others of being infidels or apostates. Third, reject the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). Finally, refusing or not recognizing Pancasila as the basis of the state.

The government is indeed obliged to fight radicalism that has begun to spread in Indonesia. However, the studies carried out must be strong and have a basis. Do not let policies that aim to secure actually lead to chaos.