The Pakistanisation of Indonesia

Epigraph: Indeed, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and wrongful transgression. He admonished you that you may take heed. (Al Quran 16:91)

Source: The Hindu

By Pallavi Aiyar

Over the last few years, Jakarta has laid down legal infrastructure that discriminates against religious minorities, allowing Islamists to take the law into their own hands

The marble minaret of Jakarta’s largest mosque, the Istiqlal, and the cast iron steeples of the city’s Catholic Cathedral, jointly punctuate the city-centre’s skyline. The adjacent location of these two places of worship is a powerful, sensory manifestation of Indonesia’s multi-religious and tolerant ethos.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country. Although around 87 per cent of the population, or 210 million Indonesians, self-identify as Muslims, the nation is a tapestry of religions from Hinduism and Christianity to Confucianism and Animism. Scan any newspaper and the names that pop up — Teddy Anwar, Suryadharma Ali, Veronica Colondam — confirm the syncretism that has long defined this part of the world.

As a Muslim-majority, democratic republic, whose constitution guarantees the right of citizens to freedom of religious belief and practice, Indonesia is a rare creature. The U.S.-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation, awarded Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono a high-profile prize for promoting tolerance just last month. The country is, moreover, regularly feted by world leaders, as a beacon of moderate Islam and a model for the Muslim world.

And yet only a few dozen kilometres east of Jakarta, in the suburb of Bekasi, a group of 18 Ahmadis has been holed up inside a fenced-off mosque for over two months. They barricaded themselves inside in early April, after local police sealed it, placing locks on the entrances and erecting a fence of corrugated metal sheets. 

They refuse to come out until the mosque is allowed to reopen and serve as a place of prayer for the area’s 400-odd Ahmadis. Until then, their only contact with the outside world is through a square slat that opens in a back door to the mosque. It is through this opening that food is passed to them and through which they talk daily with Mohammad Iqbal, the leader of the congregation, about his attempts to secure redress. All efforts, he says, have so far failed. 

Outside the mosque, a local government-planted hoarding refers to a number of anti-Ahmaddiya decrees and resolutions passed by religious and central governmental authorities. 

Intolerance since 2005 

In 2005, the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), a coalition of Muslim organisations, issued a fatwa condemning the Ahmaddiya community as religiously “deviant.” Mohammad Iqbal dates the start of his communities’ problems to that year, with some members receiving threatening text messages on their mobile phones. 

But the real harassment began later, after 2008. That year, President Yudhoyono signed off on a decree issued jointly by the Religious Affairs Ministry, Home Ministry and Attorney General, which ordered the Ahmaddiya community to stop all activities that “propagated” its beliefs. The vagueness of the decree’s wording has emboldened some regional governments to interpret the law as an outright ban on the practice of the Ahmadiyya faith. 

The Ahmadis are not the only ones to have fallen victim to growing intolerance. On a recent evening in Jakarta, this reporter spent several hours talking with victims of religious violence and discrimination from across the country. Their complaints ranged from administrative inconveniences, to intimidation, violence and even murder at the hand of hard line Sunni Muslims. The vast majority of Indonesia’s Muslims are Sunni.

Muhammad Zaini, a 22-year-old Shia from Madura, in East Java, spoke of 600-odd Shias being forced out of their homes from two villages in the area, when a 200-strong mob of Sunni Muslims attacked their homes in August 2012. Several houses were burnt down and Zaini’s paternal uncle was killed. The Shias are currently camped out in a refugee camp in a sports stadium. Local Sunni authorities have issued edicts against allowing their return. 

Permits for churches 

Reverend Palti Panjaitan, of the HKBP-Filadelfia protestant church, talked about the seven churches in the Bekasi area (where Ahmaddiyas were also under attack) that had been forcibly closed or demolished by local authorities since 2005. Christian congregations across the country have been having a difficult time in recent years securing permits for the construction of churches. There are an estimated 22 million Christians in Indonesia, comprising over nine per cent of the population.


4 replies

  1. Indonesia take care! It is not yet too late to choose another path (besides the Pakistanization). What about following the Motto of ‘Love for All and Hatred for None’?

  2. Great suggestion!

    However, loving is a more difficult task, how about an easier start of giving justice to everyone?

    How about picking up something close to the American constitution, so that everyone has a stake in the development of the society and there is no or minimal internal strife?

  3. Also, it is a reminder to the Indonesian (Muslim)people that there is no stress on Khatam e nabuwwat in the Quran. Just one word “Khaatam an Nabiyeen” appears in Quran at one place only. No more.

    Allah did not teach that people should take up arms on that subject. Even the prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. did not preach to kill every one who believed differently about Khatam e nabuwwat.
    The prophet s.a.w.s. said, “There is no prophet after me.” But he did not say to kill every one who believed differntly.

    Musailmah Kazzab had visited Madinah with a large force in the life time of the prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. and suggested or demanded a share in the prophethood. The prophet Muhammad told him, “I will not give you so much as a straw.” But the prophet did not order his killing or arrest.

    He (Musailmah) was later killed during the Caliphate of hazrat Abu Bakr rz.a. due to rebellion, not due to his claim to prophethood. He had prepared and advanced to attack Madinah.

    The Khatam e Nabuwwat people have no case against Ahmadis at all. It appears that they are playing in the hands of the enemies of Islam. And the Muslim masses are being made a fool by some khatam e nabuwwat maulvis. It all started in India. Even the maulvis in Saudi Arabia and Egypt and other countries are blind to the real teachings of Islam.

  4. The reall teaching of Islam has been shown in the Epigraph:
    Epigraph: Indeed, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and wrongful transgression. He admonished you that you may take heed. (Al Quran 16:91)

    The above are the important things to be done, not the war on the subject of Khatam e Nabuwwat. Also please see the following words of the Quran:

    [7:32] O children of Adam! keep your dignified adornment (Zeenat) at every time and place of worship, and eat and drink but exceed not the bounds; surely, He does not love those who exceed the bounds.

    [7:33] Say, ‘Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants, and the good things of His providing?’ Say, ‘They are for the believers in the present life and exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection. Thus do We explain the Signs for a people who have knowledge.’

    [7:34] Say, ‘My Lord has only forbidden foul deeds, whether open or secret, and sin and wrongful transgression, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has sent down no authority, and that you say of Allah that of which you have no knowledge.’

    [7:35] And for every people there is a term, and when their term is come, they cannot remain behind a single moment, nor can they get ahead of it.

    [7:36] O children of Adam! whenever Messengers come to you from among yourselves, rehearsing My Signs unto you, then whoso shall fear God and do good deeds, on them shall come no fear nor shall they grieve.

    [7:37] But those who reject Our Signs and turn away from them with disdain, these shall be the inmates of the Fire; they shall abide therein.

    These are the orders, commands for all mankind, for good behaviour. There is nothing about Khatam e Nabuwwat. The Unity or Tauheed is for Almighty Allah only. No one has any share in His being. There is no verse in Hadith or Quran about any such Unity (Tauheed) for the prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. The Arabs should pay attention to such things and try to lead the poor Muslims to the right path on the subject of Khatam e Nabuwwat.

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