Ninin Karlina: From a Hater to a Peace Maker

Friends, let me introduce myself, my name is Ninin, I am 31 years old. Since my childhood I used to live in a homogeneous environment. I have lived in Muhammadiyah Islamic environment, my father is the leader of Muhammadiyah and also a member of Cleric Council in one of Muhammadiyah Sukoharjo Pesantrens, and in this modern Muhammadiyah Pesantren I studied for 6 years, I learned a lot of religions here until I was convinced that my religion and the mass organizations I involved in was the best and true one, for me the outside of my religion and mass organizations I belong to is a threat and misleading, the way how I see people is not only for non-Islam, even to my fellow who shared religioun with me, who are from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) often I bully, I had a chance to say to my friends that even you do hajj seven times and you are still NU, so you are not going to enter to heaven because all NU is Ahlul Bid’ah and Ahlul Bid’ah are all misguided, I was not sure how what I defined what bid’ah was. Not only that, I also often say that the NU community’s prayer programs are like a monkey mask performance, even less interesting than funny monkey acts, and I also didn’t know what was the reason why I hated people outside my beliefs.

The worse this happen when the examination time for Civic Education, Pancasila and citizenship subject, I had never been serious in answering, once I answered with the verses of the Qur’an and the Hadith, I did not think of my answers would offend my teacher or not, what I knew was Pancasila was not in line with Islamic teachings, and respecting the flag is part of shirk because it resembles Allah, I felt I understood Islam but my behavior did not reflect the Islam, I put a little respect to the older who have less understanding about Islam and I have no affection or empathy for people who are different with me, for me this kind of attitude was good and right at that time.

As the time went on, I began to grow up, but my religious attitude did not grow up, in 2005 when I was in 11th grade and was serving as a chairman of Muhammadiyah Student Association in my Islamic boarding school, I also represented the organization which I considered in line with Muhammadiyah. The organization called ARIMATEA, in English is the Effective, Actual and Integrated Aqeedah Immunization Rehabilitation Advocacy, with the main mission of explaining Islamic da’wah to non-Muslims, also aims to prevent attacks of apostasy, as far as this da’wah invites convert non-Muslims into Islam by attacking the verses in Bible, I joined this ARIMATEA training for 3 days in Ponpes Assalam Surakarta in 2005 with two of my colleagues, from this forum I got to know an ex-nun woman who gave me a lot of understanding about the mistakes of Bible as well as she taught me how to open them, however the language of the articles and verses that I learned I did not really understand, so I hated even more Christianity. The Bible that I carried, I trampled underfoot. Since that training, I became more interested in attending interfaith debates and most often I took part in Muslim-Christian debates, that time I was always urged to point of rival and point of conflict whenever in a debate.

I had studied at the Islamic Boarding School for six years. After graduating, I was immediately recruited as one of the teaching staff at the Islamic boarding school where I studied, my routine activities were teaching my students and studied at one of Muhammadiyah Universities, focused on Comparative Religion studies. I chose this department inspired by ARIMATEA activities that I wanted to understand the weak points of other religions. I got involved actively in several campus organizations from the Student Association of the Department, the Student Executive Board, the Muhammadiyah Student Association and once I had become the chairman of Ar-Rasail, it is a kind of Arabic language development community. I lived my life like a normal student, during college I studied all religions, from Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Judaism, and also learned varies of beliefs. Besides this, I often got invited to schools, campuses, or communities to give a speech, the bad of my speech content was so exclusive, I was not open to other groups, so it is less beneficial to the people and the community.

As time went by I got to know Muhammadiyah more deeply, and realized that what I was doing was actually not in accordance with what Muhammadiyah original teaching that is progressivity. That Islam which sowed the seeds of truth, goodness, peace, justice, prosperity, and the virtues of dynamic life for all humanity. Islam that upholds the glory of men and women without discrimination. Islam which promotes anti-war mission, anti-terrorism, anti-violence, anti-oppression, anti-backwardness, and anti-all forms of destruction on earth, such as corruption, abuse of power, crimes against humanity, exploitation of nature, as well as various evil that destroys life, Islam that is positively gave birth to the virtues of diversity, ethnicity, races, and cultures of mankind on earth, I began to realize but did not know what to do, since then I began to get upset and nervous with myself.

My anxiety grew when I witnessed young people, both students and college students, even parents having an understanding like me before that I was exclusive and intolerant, this was truly a chaotic condition. Religion is no longer offered peace, harmony, calm, but instead made religion is a mean of divisions, media for fighting, provocation tools, thorns of civilization and disharmony factors, and this sequences began to strengthen when the conservative clerics loudly voiced up the primitive fatwas in a package with the signs of ignorance, which in my opinion is this one of the causes that people misinterpreted the hijrah, khilafah, jihad, end the end of times, etc. From that moment I wanted to become a moderate speaker who could convey what truly Islam is, but I was always confused about what method I should use in this digital era, and everytime I thought of this, this always led to despair.

It is a big fortunate that Allah answered my anxiety by meeting me with Peace Generation in the middle of 2017, when Muhammadiyah through the Disaster Management agency collaborated with Peace Generation in the project Sekolah CERDAS (Ceria, Damai dan Siaga Bencana) “A Cheerful, Peace and Disaster Preparedness School”, which integrates Muhammadiyah’s disaster management curriculum on natural disasters and Peace Basic of Values ​​from Peace Generation focus on social disasters. Actually, this program I only helped my seniors at Muhammadiyah but apparently I got a double bonus, in the form of extraordinary knowledge that I got directly from Irfan Amalee as a Director of PeaceGen, with Allah’s permission, those insecurities began to be answered, finally I found a new formula to make changes in me, the basic materials of peace from Peace Generation greatly contributed to the change in my life, from the textual me to the contextual-transformative me, from the exclusive me to the humanist-inclusive me, from the intolerant me to the plural-tolerant me.

After meeting Peace Generation, I often followed different forums, from different organizations and different beliefs to add insight and get to know them more closely, I am more open without dimming my beliefs, and for me the change is incomplete when it has not been able to bring change to the people and the community, therefore everytime I have the opportunity to deliver a speech, I will always convey the peace materials from Peace Generation. In order to keep the peace material is conveyed properly, I always do community assessment to the target/audiences, given that the target are diffrences from backgrounds, ages, etc., so that I can package the method of conveying according to the needs of the audience. And it turned out that Peace Generation also changed me, from me who used to be a conservative speaker, now I am a moderate-progressive speaker, who voiced up that Islam in Indonesia is wasathiyah, a moderate, inclusive, accommodative, tolerant and peaceful.

So far I have not been satisfied either, in fact that only conveying knowledge is not enough, I am still looking for ways to teach with fun activities and easy to understand and understand, especially for the younger generation, with Allah’s permission I could follow another Peace Generation’s creative programs in at the end of 2018, it was BGFP or Board Game For Peace, a program that teaches the values of peace with playing the boardgame which is a lot of fun and intriguing. With this boardgame I have a new way to promote peace, and it is proven that this boardgame has helped me to counter extremism of my students whose some of their beliefs are extreme, such as before playing, they said boardgame was forbidden and after playing, thay said the game was very useful, many lessons could be taken, also had a positive impact and was willing to become an Agent of Peace in Solo.

Here are the good practices that I have served as or done in:

  1. A Trainer of 12 Peace of Basic Values (PBV) in Elementary students Christian, Stabelan Surakarta, Agustus 2017
  2. Introducing program of Sekolah CERDAS to the big family of MIM PK Batang, Agustus 2017
  3. A Trainer of 12 PBV in Elementary students, Muhammadiyah 18 Surakarta, 2017
  4. A Trainer of 12 PBV in Secondary students, Muhammadiyah Simpon Surakarta, 2017
  5. Monitoring Team Sekolah CERDAS in 12 cities in Central Java 
  6. A Facilitator BGFP Solo 2017
  7. A Speaker in Natural and Social Disaster Education, PW Aisyiyah Central Java, 2017
  8. An Observer in BGFP Solo 2018 
  9. A Speaker (A Journey to spread peace with Boardgame) in Convey 1, March 2018 di Fairmont Hotel Jakarta 
  10. A Trainer Pemateri Pesantren kilat SMP 1 Sukoharjo tentang Stop bullying, tidak ngegank June 2018
  11. A Speaker to fresh students in FIB UNS “Conflict Management”, August 2018
  12. A Speaker in Ahmad Dahlan Boarding School Sukoharjo “Healthy Socmed and Stop Hoax” to MPLS, July 2018
  13. A Speaker in MPLS Secondary students, Muhammadiyah Dimsa Sragen “Conflict Management”, July 2018
  14. A Speaker in a research PSKP UGM on “Two speading peace, role and contribution Muhammadiyah dan NU” as a female representative in spreading peace, January 2019 
  15. A Speaker in Karang taruna Polokarto Sukoharjo, on “Different Believes, but still in Friends” June 2019
  16. A Speaker of 12 PBV in PeaceSantren Ramadhan 2019
  17. A Speaker in RRI (Radio Republic Indonesia) Solo on “To Liberate Society from Hoax” August 2019
  18. National Seminar for Muslim Female “Spreading the muslim female movement of proggressivity” November 2019
  19. Muslim Female Seminar “Be Awe Inspiring Muslimah” November 2019
  20. A Speaker in Leadership Inclusive training for State Secondary School in Sragen “Conflict Management” November 2019
  21. A Speaker in General Lecture in Duta Wacana Christian University, Yogyakarta “Students to speading peace” November 2019
  22. A Speaker a motivational training “Knwing yourself/ Who I am” in Secondary students, SMPIT Mardzotillah Sukoharjo November 2019

And there are still many activities that I have done related to peace that I cannot write here one by one. From all the activities that I have done it contains about the syiar or spreading peace and is always positive for each participants. At the moment it makes me very concerned and I must continue this work for the mission of peace in Indonesia, and now I am the Coordinator of  Peace Generation Chapter Solo as a way to realize the peace that I aspire to make it happen.

Thank you Peace Generation …


Writer: Ninin Karlina, Coordinator of PeaceGeneration Chapter Solo.

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