News / Asia

    Indonesia Teaching Tolerance With Comics

    Students at Ash-Shidiqiyah Islamic boarding reading comics about Muslims teenagers dealing with stereotypes and ethical dilemmas.
    Students at Ash-Shidiqiyah Islamic boarding reading comics about Muslims teenagers dealing with stereotypes and ethical dilemmas.

    A new series of comic books is being introduced in Indonesia to promote diversity and tolerance. The group behind the creation of the comic book series says they are an innovative and effective way to combat the messages of intolerance from Muslim extremist groups.

    Based on a true story

    A newly-released comic book in Indonesia profiles the true story of how Malaysian-born Nasir Abas became disenchanted with the Islamic radical movement.  The colorful panels tell how Abas fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, and went on to become a leader of the Southeast Asia terror network Jemaah Islamiyah. 

    Abas says the group's decision to target innocent civilians, starting with the 2002 Bali bombing that killed more than 200 people, led to his change of heart. “So it makes me feel bad. I disagree with that kind of operation in the civilian area because it's against my knowledge. It's against the words of Jihad,” he said.

    Abas now is an advocate for religious tolerance and works with authorities to rehabilitate Islamic radicals. “I am a Muslim. I have my own obligations and one of my obligations is to tell the good deeds and to prohibit the bad deeds," he said. "So I have a responsibility to stop my friends not to do the bad deeds.”

    Abas says he likes how the comic book illustrates his life and his message in a way that appeals to young people.

    Promoting tolerance

    His is one of many comics promoting tolerance that are being released in Indonesia. At the Ash-Shidiqiyah Islamic boarding school outside of Jakarta, teenage students are being introduced to another comic series that focuses on the adventures of students and how they deal with stereotypes and misinformation.

    Initial feedback from students has been positive. Mohammad Fauzi says he likes the moral message at the heart of the story.

    He says the lesson is to appreciate the differences and know you cannot fight each other just because you are different.

    Students reading comics about Muslims teenagers dealing with stereotypes and ethical dilemmas.
    Students reading comics about Muslims teenagers dealing with stereotypes and ethical dilemmas.
    Sixteen-year-old Sheila says she likes how the comic books focus on young Muslims like herself, who face ethical dilemmas.

    She say comics usually only tell love stories or are about action heroes, mostly from Japan. This comic, she says, has an element of knowledge and the essence of morality inside it.

    There has been a rise in violence against religious minorities in Indonesia.  While a small vocal minority of Islamic extremists are often blamed for inciting acts of intolerance, there has been concern that the moderate Muslim majority is not doing enough to win the hearts and minds of young people.

    Series, tolerance comics

    The international conflict resolution organization Search For Common Ground developed the series of tolerance comics. Agus Nahrowi, a teacher/trainer with the group, says comic books are a creative way for moderate Islamic voices to be heard.

    “It is fair to say it is difficult to change the behavior, to change the mind.  But for a starting point to change their awareness, to boost awareness [the] campaign is very important,” Nahrowi said.

    The Search for Common Ground project is supported, in part, by the U.S. State Department. The group is planning to distribute 60,000 comic books to Islamic boarding schools throughout Indonesia.

    You May Like

    Brexit Vote Triggers Increase in Racist Attacks

    Britain's decision to leave European Union seen by some as 'permission' to unleash anti-immigrant resentment

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    AIIB Takes Big Strides Amid Fears About China's Dominance

    Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank says it is independent, but concerns persist; China holds 20.6 percent of bank's shares, others have less than 7.5 percent each

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmarki
    X
    John Owens
    June 26, 2016 2:04 PM
    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora