Leaders of the Indonesian Institute of Islamic Propagation (LDII) said that exclusivity was not part of their doctrine as suggested by a table published in The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Such a perception would likely stem, among other things, from behavior displayed by organization members “whose understanding of the teachings has not matured,” one of the leaders said when visiting the Post on Friday, along with other board members.
“It is such members who we are educating,” said Aceng Karimulloh, a deputy LDII Jakarta branch leader and among the ulema from the organization. LDII chairman Teddy Suratmaji, an engineer, said such a misperception could have resulted from the “stigma” contributed by members of Islam Jamaah, an exclusivist and hard-line movement well known in the late 1970s, which later developed into the LDII. Islam Jamaah was closely scrutinized by the government following reports that its followers considered non-members as infidel or kafir, even though they were from the same family.
Nowadays, the LDII organization, which is legal, “has no connection” with Islam Jamaah, according to its official handbook. Information on LDII can also be viewed at http://www.ldii.or.id. The handbook addresses all “frequently asked questions” related to perceptions of Islam Jamaah and LDII.
Teddy displayed pictures of LDII’s activities in their bimonthly magazine, Nuansa Persada, which depicted its interaction with various Islamic groups, “which could not be possible if we were exclusivist,” Teddy said, denying that they did not pray with non-members.
Nor it was true that each member must pay 10 percent of their income to the imam, they said. Perceptions that LDII members consider non-members as
filth (najis) was also denied. “In the 1970s, it was commonly accepted that people of different sexes who were not muhrim (directly related) could not touch each other,” board member R. Sabaruddin said, “so maybe people got the idea that non-members were considered najis. But now this practice is “common” among many Muslims in the country.
The logo of LDII, which claims to be independent, clearly bears the banyan tree, symbol of former president Soeharto’s political vehicle Golkar, which sought all potential avenues to increase its control and influence. They said that they had intended to change the logo, but faced resistance from older members. (http://www.thejakartapost.com)