RELIGIOUS CONVERSION AND ITS IMPLICATION FOR RELIGIOUS HARMONY
Meaning for the Practitioner and Religious Elites in Malang
Choosing a religion is a individual right. Islam gives freedom to human beings to choose their religion in accordance with the will and beliefs each. Islam insists that there is no compulsion in religion (QS.2: 256), because it's all people are welcome to choose religion based on considerations of rationality, reason and conscience. This is because of compulsion in religion will only bear labile figures that have no rational and philosophical basis in the religious. The objective of this research is to understand the meaning of religious conversion for the practitioners and religious elites as well as its implication for creating building religious harmony in Malang. Informants this research are practitioners and religious elite. Data were collected through interviews, observation and documentation. The result shows that there are various meaning of religious conversion. For practitioners, the meaning of religious conversion is closely related to personal dimension that they feel. The dimension can be categorized into four categories; conversion as the shifting from something bad into the good one, the shifting from one religion into another, the shifting from inappropriate side into the appropriate side, and the appropriateness of long process of finding the God. For religious elites, conversion is related to esoteric dimension which is experienced and felt by the practitioners. Besides, pragmatic-practical motive in the form of marriage and position promotion cannot be avoided in conversion case. In wider context, theoretically, religious conversion can make the inter-religious relationship close because it is a result and logical consequence from the interaction. Conversion can be understood as one of positive influence of inter-religious relationship in plurality context. However, it can be also a negative influence when the conversion is not based on strong believe in the new religion. Otherwise, the conversion is based on contemporary interest of the practitioners which is pragmatic and practical. Practically, the phenomenon of religious conversion mostly becomes destructive potential for the building of religious harmony particularly for the preaching which is not proportional for each religious community. It is due to the triumphalistich ideology which Muslim and Christians pose.