This gathering was straightforward, although several VVIPs in Aceh attended it. I am interested in commenting on one of the policies of the TNI, where they have started accepting santris to become soldiers in Indonesia. In the video presented by KODAM Iskandar Muda, it appears they are assisting students who are going to take the military test. This particular route for santris and interfaith implies that the TNI is not far from Muslims in Indonesia.
In his remarks, Dudung said that TNI officers must be present in society, especially in the conditions of the Covid-19 Pandemic. This is the daily order of the Army Chief of Staff to all personnel in Indonesia. I see that this policy does give the impression that the territorial development carried out by the TNI through Kodams throughout Indonesia is unavoidable.
Dudung also said that the unity of the Muslim community must be put forward for the unity and integrity of the Indonesian nation. He wants this unity not to be damaged by groups that impose their will for specific reasons. The pattern of Dudung visiting Aceh said this as if to dismiss the notion that so far, there have been problems between him and a small number of certain religious groups in Indonesia.
Dudung, who also claimed to have been a santri, said that he still had his religious teachers who were still living on the island of Java. His santriness tradition was seen when he pilgrimages to the graves of two prominent ‘ulamain Aceh, namely Tgk. Hasan Krueng Kalee and Shaykh Abdur Rauf al-Singkili.
One of the habits of the Javanese people is to make pilgrimages to the graves of the ‘ulama. Several graves of ‘ulama Java are never empty of pilgrims. Dudung’s visit revealed the spirit of his santriness when he visited the graves of ‘ulama,’ indicating that this general had strong roots in religious traditions in the Nusantara.
|The Author with Brig. Gen. Bangun Nawoko (Deputy Ass. Operation of Kasad TNI AD), and Friends at a Hotel in Banda Aceh
Top Indonesian military who have visited Aceh often meet with ‘ulama’ to maintain good relations with religious leaders in the province. During this meeting, I saw several ‘ulama who are often invited to Banda Aceh as participants in this morning’s meeting with Dudung. I want to say that during the conflict in Aceh, ulama were also often the “mediator” on the battlefield between GAM and the TNI.
Finally, I would like to argue that if Indonesian military officials have good relations with the Acehnese, then it indicates that Aceh’s relations with Jakarta are on good terms. On the other hand, if top military officials come to Aceh and have a meeting in a place unknown to the public, then the relationship between Jakarta and Aceh is not in good condition.