Unite Shiites and Sunnis in Indonesia
The Jakarta Globe: One day in December last year, Shiite preacher Tajul Muluk had to be rescued by the police after a mob torched his house, his Islamic boarding school and mosque in a violent rampage in Sampang, East Java.
He was not hurt. But in a twist of events, the preacher was subsequently detained by the police for allegedly insulting Islam in his teachings. His attackers, however, got away scot-free.
Last month, a district court sentenced the preacher to two years’ jail for blasphemy against Islam. His conviction was based on the evidence of witnesses who testified he had told his followers the Qur’an was not original, that Muslims should pray three times a day instead of five, and that pilgrimage to Mecca was not compulsory.
He denied ever telling his followers that, and described the allegations as lies politically fabricated to convict him as a deviant.
The cleric became the first Shiite Muslim to be convicted of blasphemy in Muslim-majority Indonesia.
Eventually, Indonesia will have to fall back on its national motto “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” or “unity in diversity” to strengthen tolerance and the spirit of co-existence. The motto should mean the acceptance of not only diverse religions, but also diversity within one religion, that is, Islam.