Discourse : ‘I want every citizen in our country to feel at ease’

Jakarta Post: Nasaruddin Umar : Last Friday an unidentified group attacked an Ahmadiyah congregation in Tasikmalaya, West Java, the latest of hundreds of incidents against the minority group. Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali said the Ahmadiyah community, considered heretic by mainstream Muslims, must obey the regulation that bans them from spreading their beliefs. His deputy, Nasaruddin Umar, stressed the need to ensure security for minorities. The following are excerpts of a phone interview on Tuesday with Nasaruddin, a co-founder of interfaith organization Masyarakat Dialog antar Umat Beragama (Public Interreligious Dialogue), with The Jakarta Post’sAmahl S. Azwar


Question: You have taken a slightly different viewpoint from your superior regarding a series of attacks against Ahmadiyah groups. Will it create a conflict between you and him? 

Answer: I think our viewpoints are not different as long as both of us refer to the [1945] Constitution. Please, you do not have to pit us against each other. I am optimistic that we can manage our views well.

Why do you seem concerned about protecting Ahmadis’ rights and other minority groups, while Minister Suryadharma has been telling Ahmadis to “abandon their defiant beliefs”?

What I really want is for every citizen in our country to feel at ease about themselves, without exceptions. If one minority group feels insecure, the others will suffer the same thing. The government should find a fair solution that meets the needs of everyone. I am sure that we can find a solution for the Ahmadiyah.

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