hurriyetdailynews: by Mustafa Akyol: Yesterday’s New York Times had two separate but equally worrying opinion pieces on the religious bigotry in Indonesia, (“Indonesia’s Rising Religious Intolerance,” by Benedict Rogers, and “No Model for Muslim Democracy,” by Andreas Harsono). This overwhelmingly Muslim Sunni nation, both articles explained, was the stage of a number of hate crimes against minorities such as “Bahais, Christians, Shiites, Sufis and members of the Ahmadiyya faith.”
Churches in particular, both pieces noted, have been the targets of hard-line Islamists. The latter have pressured local officials “not to authorize the construction of Christian churches or to harass and intimidate those worshiping in ‘illegal’ churches.” Hence, a local mayor has declared a “zero church” policy. Worse, three Christian churches on Sumatra were burnt last year by “Muslim militants.”
As a Muslim, I find all such news simply shameful. All that violence against non-Muslims (or “heretical” Muslims) not only hurts innocent souls, but also defames Islam. Moreover, the militant Islamists who attack other faith communities violate not only the modern notions of human rights. They also, believe it or not, violate the very principles of the Quran.
This is most obvious in the case of churches, or, for that matter, synagogues. These Christian or Jewish places of worship are mentioned in the Quran only once, and in a very interesting way:
“If Allah had not driven some people back by means of others, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, where Allah’s name is mentioned much, would have been pulled down and destroyed,” (Sura 22, verse 40).