Indonesia gains much from tolerance in Yogyakarta

By Ahmad Suaedy The Daily Star, Beirut

In Yogyakarta, the cultural center of the island of Java in Indonesia, the governor, Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, has set an interesting precedent by refusing to ban the Ahmadiyah religious group. The group was founded by a 19th century Indian religious leader, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed he was the promised Messiah foretold by the Prophet Mohammad.

Though Ahmadis consider themselves Muslim, mainstream Muslims disagree with the belief that the Messiah has returned and therefore consider their teachings blasphemy.

The right to freedom of expression and organization in Indonesia, granted in 1998, has provided fuel for the emergence of a wide variety of civil society groups. Unfortunately, not all of these groups reflect the positive aspirations of the Indonesian people. In fact, a small but significant number of these groups have chosen violence as a way of making their demands heard. The Ahmadi community has sadly borne the brunt of this violence in recent months, often at the hands of minority extremist religious groups who believe the Ahmadiyah faith is heretical.

In an attempt to avoid confrontation and violence in their regions by appeasing militant groups, governors in Banten and East and West Java, as well as some local regents and mayors, have issued decrees that ban the practice of the Ahmadiyah faith to “prevent further violence.” This means rather than protecting the Ahmadis, the government places the blame for violence and disorder on the victims of the violence.

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(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

Note: We have already brought this News on the Indonesia page, I just wanted to show that also in Lebanon this News is published.

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