A new series of comic books are being introduced in Indonesia to create awareness and educate young people about religious extremism. The group behind the creation of the comic book series says that comics are an innovative and effective way to combat messages of intolerance from Muslim extremist groups.
This recently released comic book in Indonesia, entitled Makna Jihad (‘I found the Meaning of Jihad’) is the true story of how Malaysian born Nasir Abas became disenchanted with the Islamic radical movement of which he was a part. He was once a member of an al-Qaida linked extremist group and helped to train militants. However he lost faith in the jihadist cause and became an informer. Abas now advocates religious tolerance and works with authorities to rehabilitate Islamic radicals. His comic book is part of his attempt to change perceptions and teach people about the true teachings of Islam by depicting the course of his own life. It is now gaining increasing popularity in schools in Jakarta.
Another Islamic author who has set out to have her views on Islamic thinking heard is Irshad Manji. She laments the fact that Ijtihad, the Muslim tradition of independent thinking and questioning, is sometimes missing in contemporary Islam. Her books Trouble with Islam Today and Allah, Liberty and Love emphasise the need to regain this tradition.
The Language of Comics,
The Trouble with Islam Today,
Allah Liberty and Love