Modern Day Witch Hunt

Apr 21st, 2008, in IM Posts, Opinion, by

Rogue Wan sees sinister forces behind the anti-Jamaah Ahmadiyah witch hunt.

Defend Jamaah Ahmadiyah! Stop the Witchhunt!

The Indonesian government's proposed decree to ban Jamaah Ahmadiyah as a "heretical sect" must be met by vigorous protests. The right of all Indonesian citizens to practice their religious beliefs as enshrined in the constitution must be defended. Immediate measures must be taken to halt the climate of fear and hostility that is being whipped up by religious fundamentalists toward the members of Ahmadiyah. Stop the persecution of Jamaah Ahmadiyah members! Defend Ahmadiyah against attacks and reprisals!

What makes both mainstream and fundamentalist religious leaders in Indonesia so scared of Ahmadiyah? Are not the beliefs of millions of Indonesian citizens or the central tenets of the Islamic faith strong enough to withstand the beliefs, ideas and practices of a few thousand Jamaah Ahmadiyah members? The issue is essentially not about the religious beliefs and practices of Ahmadiyah. This is a smoke and mirror argument to hide another agenda. It is about how, what and who will control the minds, bodies and actions of Indonesia's millions of increasingly angry and discontented poor. Ada udang di balik batu, there is a hidden agenda.

The vast majority of Indonesian citizens living in abject poverty facing daily uncertainty in finding work, food, education, decent health care and a future for their children. There is a very palpable anger against the misery and degradation of their lives that is caused by the ineptitude and corruption of the small layer of rich. In turn, the elite have a real fear that they are sitting on top of a social volcano that could explode anytime. Hence, it is no coincidence that the government, religious organisations and individuals consciously and cynically seek to co-opt the basic religious beliefs of Indonesian citizens and the resurgence of Islam in public life for the simple reason that Islam, like all religions, is an excellent instrument to control and coerce the population.

Besides wealth, corruption and connections, pandering to the basic Islamic, social and cultural beliefs of the population, is now, in Indonesia the simplest and most opportunistic method to gain political advantage. Over the last few years we have witnessed a never ending parade of politicians, who are inevitably always male, jostle to outdo each other in a struggle to posture themselves as "more" Islamic than the other candidate and who all have plans to halt the so-called decay in society's morals through upholding the "word of god" and applying Sharia law.

Once in power all they can do is introduce ill-conceived, anti-women Sharia inspired by-laws as some kind of magical "silver bullet" panacea to cure all problems! As can be easily predicted, women suffer at the hands of religious dogma and everything else, the poverty, lack of decent education, health care, services, roads etc remains pretty much the same.

The consequences and results of this are serious and disturbing for all citizens, but especially for women and minorities. Many of these by-laws have an unhealthy obsession with sex, morals and supposed 'deviancy'; and almost all are attacks on the basic rights of all women.

It can also be comic and daft like the Batu local government in East Java issuing an informal ruling requiring women who work in massage parlors to use a kind of chastity padlock on their clothing whilst performing their work! Besides pandering to the hoary myth of the women as temptress, the people who thought up this regulation obviously did not think too much about the immense variety of sexual contact that is possible between humans and how a padlock won't really stop humans seeking "forbidden fruit". Does the ruling extend to male masseuses as well? Is the next step to force women to gag their mouths as well?

Thus the attacks on Ahmadiyah must be seen as part of a campaign of social and religious reaction aimed at regimenting and intimidating the entire Indonesian population.

NU Chairman Hasyim Muzadi is quoted in the Jakarta Post, 18 April as saying

In Islam, Ahmadiyah is deviant. It is the government's domain to outlaw it or not for stability reasons.

So exactly what is Ahmadiyah guilty of deviating from? Or is it just a case of holding nonconformist beliefs that are contrary to the self-styled orthodoxy of the parasitic caste of Ulema (Islamic priests) who have a vested interest in maintaining their "brand" of Islam, and ensuring that the money and influence that they derive from this position continues to flow. The so-called guardians of Islamic orthodoxy seem to forget the adage that the heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next age. Today in Indonesia faith and religion are business and business is booming and that means their "brand" of Islam must be protected against potential business competitors.

In Indonesian society as a whole, what once were considered to be harmless, kooky or fundamentalist fringe beliefs are now becoming increasingly mainstream. On the surface it seems that the Indonesian central government and the state apparatus at all levels of government are more and more being influenced by; and subverted from within and without by conservative religious leaders and an increasingly vocal political Islam. In the case of Ahmadiyah and other banned religious organisations the Indonesian government is definitely taken a clear role in determining what you can and cannot believe, and thus become an energetic enforcer of Islamic religious orthodoxy. But who does this serve? Are Indonesians ready to accept this type of governmental religious indoctrination? Are Muslims themselves willing to let the government and a small number of conservative religious leaders tell them what they should believe and how to practice their faith?

Humans created god as an image of ourselves in our heads and then we subjugated ourselves and bowed down to worship our own image. Should people choose to worship god via religions that profess different beliefs and practices, then the state has no place in deciding whether the beliefs and practices of its citizens are true, or deviant or not. Religion ought to be a private matter in relation to the state and people should be free to practice their religion without state persecution and religious bigotry. The aim of instilling a religious "orthodoxy" is fundamentally to control and coerce the population and instill fear and obedience to authority.

All religion at its core has a duality; it is both an instrument of oppression and a comfort for the oppressed. As Karl Marx once wrote,

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

Historically, the religiosity of black people in America was a solace from racial oppression and a promise of deliverance. For the millions of poor in Indonesia religion performs the same role, giving people hope amidst grinding poverty and lack of opportunity. As a narcotic it can soothe or block out the pain of the world but can it solve real world material problems or fix an economic or social crisis of the magnitude that Indonesia has suffered since the fall of Suharto? If anything it distracts, confuses and hinders people from finding real solution to the problems of poverty and hunger because one of religions major roles in society is to instill respect for authority and act as a conservatising force. Together with the family, it serves to instil a morality that forbids anything that deviates from an "imagined" ideal "” everything from your political beliefs, to who you can have sex with, to what you can eat.

To be sure, the Indonesian elite will continue to be trained at private universities that are beyond the reach of the poor and have good prospects for their personal future. But what about the future of for Indonesia? The anti-women obscurantist fundamentalist religious dogma pushed by elements of the ruling class will actually retard the overall development of Indonesian society. The only people who will benefit from more religion will be the parasitic Ulema caste and capitalists. For the poor, the women, the gays and the ethnic and religious minorities it will mean more rules, more social control, more persecution and continued impoverishment and majority Muslim masses will be kept quiet and docile waiting for a place in an imagined heaven in the skies.

Can religion solve the most pressing problems of hunger, poverty, lack of decent housing, education, medical and social services? Can religious orthodoxy supply an ideology that could seemingly harmonize conflicting class interests while keeping Indonesian society ordered? Will the grand plans of Sharia inspired law and Caliphates truly bring a just and prosperous society? These are the real questions to ask those people who sell the product of religion as the road to the future. Today, however, the material reality of poverty however perpetuates uncertainty, fear, and competition for scarce resources and ethnic/religious conflicts. The blame for this state of affairs is placed on the religious and ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups such as gays and lesbians. Ahmadiyah is a current victim of this type of intolerance and persecution. The right of all Indonesian citizens to live life in peace and to practice their religious beliefs as enshrined in the constitution must be defended and that is why it is imperative to protest the proposing banning of Ahmadiyah.

It is a case of an injury to one is an injury to all. Remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Stop the persecution of Jamaah Ahmadiyah members! Defend Ahmadiyah!


48 Comments on “Modern Day Witch Hunt”

Pages: [1] 2 »

  1. avatar Rob says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 6:48 am

    Interesting take on the politics and intrigue of the “witch hunt” but for me and many others is the question relating to the challenge this poses to the government on a number of grounds:

    1. Is there a guarantee in the Constitution that there is a freedom of religion;
    2. How is the government going to deal with convoluted laws and regulations in this area that overlap and are often contrary to each other and presumably the Constitution;
    3. Law enforcement and the protection of Ahmadiyah followers and property;
    4. Judicial reform and judicial independence; and
    5. The power of the MUI and fundamental religious groups in dictating government religious policy and policy in general.

    Among a number of other questions.

    The debate on Ahmadiyah has much broader implications as well because the debate involves all Islam and not just the practice of Islam in Indonesia. Ahmadiyah has run into problems in other countries as well (if I am not mistaken it is banned in Pakistan), so the question is one of how Islam is going to deal with any purported re-interpretation of the basic tenets of the faith…

  2. avatar Mach Jabber says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 7:51 am

    I think a certain level of religiosity can provide you with some kind of… identity. Something you belong to. Regardless of it being right or wrong, religion can provide comfort like no other; something only the ignorant would deny. Islam, for an instance, can provide you an orderly life (prayers and all). Not to mention that it grants you a somewhat fatalistic convenience of blaming your shortcomings on fate (“belum rezeki gw…, etc”).

    The Ahmadiyah movement, like all other religious movements that strays from the mainstream take, is like a testament to theological uncertainty. Islam in Indonesia is very established, for it knows little about denominations. Metaphysical beliefs are at the core of a man’s principles of life. Indonesian muslims (or any other established religious majorities) are spoonfed with plenty of arguments for their religion’s truth (ESQ anyone?). I think, somehow, the existence of these small groups that disagree with them poses a threat to the majority, subconsciously. ‘Why are these people so different? Am I wrong?’ The thought of making an error of a metaphysical belief is horrifying to any individual, specially those that are not used to the discomfort of religious thought conflicts.

    Hence the hostility towards the Ahmadiyah movement.

  3. avatar Murphy says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    I don’t think the issue is simple freedom of religion like the writer said. Indonesia has Jewish community, Sikh community and local “religion” communities. These communities practice the religion freely, albeit without enjoying government financial supports like the “official” five religions.

    It’s also not about denominations. There are two major denominations in Islam. The Sunnis and the Shias. Indonesia also have Shias community; and there have never been any attacks on Shia’s mosques.

    It’s also not about the MUI. The MUI are not government authority. They are scholars. They give opinions. The MUI were asked to acknowledge that the Ahmadiyahs are Muslims. The MUI said that they have problem calling the Ahmadiyahs Muslims. But they have no problems with the Ahmadiyahs themselves as long as they are not regarded as Muslims. And let me underline this: the MUI officially stated that they have never approved violence against the Ahmadiyah.

    The problem of calling them Muslims is not simple to explain. But it’s probably parallel with the problem of calling somebody a Christian if he believes that The Christ, The Messiah mentioned in the Bible is not the one born in Bethlehem 2 millenia ago, but somebody else who was born in Pakistan one thousand years later.

    The government is facing difficult problem. Taking hands-off approach, contrary to what the NGO expects, will only make things worse. Ahmadiyah is not new religion. They are proselitysing Muslims, but with very substantial difference with the faith of mainstream Muslim. Let them proselitysing will only create worse social tension.

    Three months ago there were two viable solutions: declaring that the Ahmadiyahs are not Muslims and let them freely practice their religion, or let the Ahmadiyahs show to the people that their core set of beliefs are still that of Muslims. The Ahmadiyahs chose the second approach and committed to “12 points of commitments” and agreed to have three months “probation” to prove themselves. The hardliners insisted the Ahmadiyahs were using weasel words in that commitments. The government agreed to “monitor” these 12 commitments and said that they indeed found that the Ahmadiyahs were lying.

    And the story continues.

  4. avatar Cukurungan says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    What makes both mainstream and fundamentalist religious leaders in Indonesia so scared of Ahmadiyah? Are not the beliefs of millions of Indonesian citizens or the central tenets of the Islamic faith strong enough to withstand the beliefs, ideas and practices of a few thousand Jamaah Ahmadiyah members? The issue is essentially not about the religious beliefs and practices of Ahmadiyah. This is a smoke and mirror argument to hide another agenda. It is about how, what and who will control the minds, bodies and actions of Indonesia’s millions of increasingly angry and discontented poor. Ada udang di balik batu, there is a hidden agenda.

    Of course no one is scared by this peaceful people but it is very dangerous to let this soft teaching to spread out in our community. The Achmadiyah had been trying to remove “Jihad Physical War” obligations from our tenets whereas we fully believe that our survival would be mainly depend on our ability to keep our different with other beliefs. We aware what is your agenda behind your strong defending on the Achmadiyah fate because they are your ideal Muslim to life with but …BIG SORRY we don’t seek your approval in performing our duties God has been ordered to us.

  5. avatar Lairedion says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    I understand Cukurungan. An Islam without Jihad Physical War is not so attractive if your heart is full of hate towards others.

  6. avatar Mach Jabber says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    …declaring that the Ahmadiyahs are not Muslims and let them freely practice their religion…

    That reminds me. Why not calling the now-mainstream Islam “Sunni Islam”, and let the Ahmadiyah be “Ahmadiyya Islam”?

    I hope I’m wrong, but could it be that such option is rejected because it would potentially harm the majority’s “canon”, “true” Islam status?

  7. avatar rima says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    The right of all Indonesian citizens to practice their religious beliefs as enshrined in the constitution must be defended

    Should be: The right of all Indonesian citizens to practice their religious beliefs – limited to Islam, Catholicism, Christianity, Buddha, Hindu and Confucianism and more specifically Islam as in either Wahhabi or strict Sunni – as all other derivatives from the Islam faith is heretic therefore forbidden – as enshrined in the constitution must be defended.

    Ahmadiyya today, tomorrow syia, baha’i, azalis, sufism and the other 72 sects of Islam, if we have them in Indonesia.

  8. avatar Neil of Newcastle says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Great stuff! Life for flag waving, padlocks for masseuses, death threats for ‘heretics’, freedom for convicted judge killers. Inilah Indonesia dong! And people wonder why the bul-buls live here!?! Maaate, ya couldn’t write a book about it and have people believe it. Beyond comprehension. Roll on, geng, there’s always tomorrow to sink even lower and do something even more stupid. Go for it, guys, tomorrow belongs to you. Selamaat Hari Kartini ….

  9. avatar Lairedion says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Some true words, Neil.

    Indonesia is a great country with breathtaking nature, interesting cultures, generally friendly people and I will love Indonesia forever, yet the people who are running it are amongst the dumbest and most stupid you will ever find.

  10. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Great article. Sharp insight. Nothing to add except my support.

  11. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:
    April 22nd, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Murphy said

    It’s also not about denominations. There are two major denominations in Islam. The Sunnis and the Shias. Indonesia also have Shias community; and there have never been any attacks on Shia’s mosques.

    Maybe Murphy should do a little homework before continuously displaying his ignorance. Check this out.

    He should also visit more often his mother in jail.

  12. avatar David says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Sadanand Dhume wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal on the Ahmadi issue, Intolerance in Indonesia, which suggests Indonesia is on the road to becoming like Pakistan.

  13. avatar Rob says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    “On the road to [becoming like] Pakistan” sounds like the last stop on a journey, but to where?

    Or perhaps Indonesia could take the Robert Frost approach and where a road divides into two in the woods Indonesia takes the road less traveled! It might not lead to immediate peace and harmony but it also does not lead to Pakistan!

    Assuming that not all roads ultimately lead to Pakistan!

  14. avatar Lairedion says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Pakistan, that would be great. Only one week after the elections in which the Islamic parties were blown away, a man and woman were stoned to death for committing adultery.

  15. avatar Rob says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    political assassinations as well…

    But if this is the path that the people of Indonesia want and encourage their democratically elected political leaders to follow then who are we to judge as armchair critics from the safety of our own homes…

  16. avatar timdog says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Just an aside on the subject of Pakistan – worth pointing out that despite the media image we have of the place there is far more to it than a simple hotbed of Islamic radicalism. Unquestionably Pakistan is home to plenty of aggressive fundementalists who make a good deal of noise, and mete out a good deal of violence. However, the large majority of people in Pakistan are Sufi-leaning Barlevi, and popular religion there – and by popular I mean MOST popular -is about devotional practice and veneration of saints NOT about wild-eyed fundamentalism. It’s also worth bearing in mind that there is far more diversity within Pakistan’s Muslim population (in terms of branches of Islam, and schools of Islam adhered to) than in Indonesia.

    I think Pakistan is a troubled, troublesome place (I also, having spent a good deal of time there, think that it is the most heart-breakingly beautiful place I have ever visited, populated by the warmest, most generous people I have encountered so far, but that’s another issue).
    I think that it is probably the most important, and most critical, location with regards global “trouble” with Islam. BUT, Pakistan’s problems and the apparent prevelance of Islamist violence has a lot more to do with the instability and political chaos that alows such things to flourish than any fundamental pan-Pakistan problem. And believe me, whatever you think about Indonesia’s corruption and political chaos, it is light years away from the mayhem of Pakistan in these respects.

    My point being I suppose, that we ought not to latch onto places believing them to be something on the basis of their media image alone – we all know Indonesia is treated in that manner by many who know no better…

  17. avatar Lairedion says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Rob said:

    But if this is the path that the people of Indonesia want and encourage their democratically elected political leaders to follow then who are we to judge as armchair critics from the safety of our own homes”¦

    This is not desirable and could well lead to the infamous tyranny of the majority.

    It’s better to go for a for a liberal democracy model.

  18. avatar rima says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Mr. Dhume is actually a facebook friend of mine. we exchanged e-mails several times, seems to be an ok, down to earth intellectual.

    his book, My Friend the Fanatic: Travels With an Indonesian Islamist – out in may, should be a good one.

    so i see that day by day indonesia is turning into an extension of saudi arabia. cannot do this, cannot worship this, cannot believe in that, cannot go there, cannot write this.. and a thousand other ‘cannots’

    makes me fear and wonder of what is next to happen in indo.

  19. avatar David says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Sadanand Dhume sent me that link, yes Rima he does come across as very personable. I notice our friend Adrian Vickers has a dim opinion of him, considers him to be a scaremonger, go figure.

    On Pakistan though, V.S Naipaul I think believes Pakistanis suffer from a kind of neurosis, somewhere deep down they know they were conquered by the Arabs, – conquered with tremendous violence, – and they know that is where their Islam comes from. But they repress the knowledge of this, hence the neurosis, and the result is their tendency to be “hyper” (hysterically?) Islamic.

    Whereas I guess in Indonesia, since those who brought Islam must have known there was never going to be any army to back up the message, had to persuade people, move slowly and gently, and so one result of this is that Indonesians don’t have that so-called neurosis, and hence are less likely to be over-the-top in their Islam. Anyway, interesting theory.

  20. avatar rima says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    My theory is Indonesians suffer from acute low self esteem, therefore everything not originally from Indonesia is viewed as much better, including religion.

    such a shame, i would be perfectly happy wearing batik all the time, eating nasi uduk and pray to the nyai roro kidul. I would think the country would be in a better state had we stayed that way. think japan.

  21. avatar timdog says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    OOOOoooh Patung! Nothing pushes my wrong buttons like the thought of that rancid little f£$%kwit V.S. Naipaul! All the reason, patience and inner calm with which I usually operate collapses when I consider his views and ideas and the things he has said! I think it sad that such an overtly, self-indulgently bigoted racist should have been given the Noble prize for literature… The stupendous arrogance with which he has written about India makes me splutter and spit – and once he gets onto the subject of Islam, well then I really start to steam!

    Firstly – he’s talking out of his pompous backside when he mentions collective memory of brutal Arab conquest – the Arabs did invade part of what constitutes modern Pakistan (through Sindh up to the southern parts of the Punjab); they did not though, make much attempt to introduce Islam and the religion did not really arrive in the area on a large scale until about 300 years later with the arrival of the Turkic Ghaznavids. What’s more, Pakistanis as Muslims have no innate tendancy to “hyper” Islam – the prevelant Barlevi strand has a good deal in common with traditional Indonesian-style Islam. Pakistan has a problem of instability and violence, but that has far more to do with its long history as a cultural and territorial frontier region than to do with some crap about the Arab conquest – but what the hell is historical accuracy when you’ve got a neat little theory!

    Secondly, the crux of Naipaul’s twitterings about Islam is itself patently absurd – that all non-Arab Muslims are “converts” engaging in an act of denying their own culture… Godammit! Everyone is a “convert” if you think about it like that, including the Arabs, who obviously weren’t Muslims before the 7th century… At the time Iran was Islamised (Naipaul talks sh*t about Iran too) a lot of Europe was still “pagan”, but I’ve never heard him suggest that Christian Norwegians or Scottish are engaged in an act of cultural self-denial! Jeez! What a dick!

    But my principle problem with V.S. Naipaul’s view on Islam is not its innate absurdity, but its source, its inspiration – something that may not be apparent to many of his readers. Naipaul gets his idea of “converted”, “self-denying” Muslims from the ugliest form of Indian Hindu-extremism.
    All kinds of religious fundamentalisms are unpleasant, but few manifestations can be as repugnant as so-called “Hindu-chauvinism” which manages in one neat package to combine religious bigotry, ultra-nationalism, racism, and cultural superiority… it is foul, and it’s the source of Naipaul’s ideas about Pakistani, Iranian and Southeast Asian Muslims…

    Hindu-chauvinists consider India’s Muslims and Christians to be lapsed Hindus who have committed an act of treachery by leaving their “true” faith (no matter that the point of conversion was many centuries ago, no matter that the social and historical reason for conversion was usually the enforced poverty and servitude of the caste system)… These people have burnt churches and mosques, propogated a myth of a Hindu “golden age”, engaged in massacres, there are accounts of horrible forced “reconversions” to Hinduism, and there is of course, the charming slogan-chant: “Mussalman ka do hai stan – Pakistan ya kabristan!” (only two places for the Muslims – Pakistan or the graveyard!)”… That it is these people who inspired V.S. Asshole’s ideas makes them all the more repellent… GRRRRRRRRR!

  22. avatar timdog says:
    April 24th, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Ahem… I apologise for the entirely irrelevant rant above….
    I’m afraid simply saying “V.S. Naipaul” to me has a disturbing – not to say “hysterical” – effect… Perhaps that’s because as someone of Anglo-Irish origin raised in a vaguely secular-Christian society I am denying my true Druidic roots… ;-)

  23. avatar David says:
    April 24th, 2008 at 12:39 am

    No, no go right ahead, you’ve got me really curious what other buttons you might have so I can push them as well!

  24. avatar Rob says:
    April 24th, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Lairedion…

    The dreaded tyranny of the majority…My point was to take the piss of all those apologists that post stuff like; “afterall it is Indonesia, shouldn’t indonesians decide for themselves?”, “Isn’t Indonesia a State with a democratically elected parliament and so isn’t this democracy in action?” Some things can be wrong on principle and need to be called as such…

    Timdog…

    Judging by the rant maybe it is time Patung dedicated a whole piece on your favorite Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipaul…

    I recently posted a crappy little post on Druidic alternative medicine (sort of a claytons introduction — “the introduction you have when you don’t have an introduction”) as I am reading a book on Celtic Plant Magic! I can therefore recommend soem things that might reduce the Naipaul anxiety and restore balance to the upset apple cart :D

    Btw…has Ross ever posted on Naipaul? The fella has an obvious beef with Pram so it would be interesting to see what his take is on Naipaul :)

  25. avatar djoko says:
    April 24th, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Sadanand Dhume sent me that link, yes Rima he does come across as very personable. I notice our friend Adrian Vickers has a dim opinion of him, considers him to be a scaremonger, go figure.

    I’m afraid I’m not much of a fan either. I read one of his articles on PKS previous for something I was doing on Islamic parties in Indonesia, and if you were to believe him its all over, its only a matter of time before the ‘Islamists’ are in control of the whole place. This of course ignores the fact that politically speaking Islamic parties have stayed more or less stationary in support levels since independence. Of course a story about the ‘impending doom’ of Islamists is a lot more sexier (especially for WSJ I would think) than ‘yeh, things are more or less at the levels they were 60 years ago’.

    The whole Ahmadiyyah thing is a bit frustrating and annoying anyway as there is pigheadedness and silliness on both sides. Firstly you can’t go around banning religions any more than you should be going around banning any other ways of thinking. Ahmadiyyah should just be left alone really. Ahamadiyyah can scream and yell as much as they want that they are under the (even now very broad) banner of Islam, but I certainly don’t consider them to be, but neither does that mean I have to hate, ban them or anything stupid like that.

    On the other hand with Ahmadiyyah, to be perfectly and somewhat brutally honest, at the very least the legal backing for a ban could dissipate if they merely did the obvious and declared themselves a different religion. I have no doubts this likely wouldn’t deter people like the FPI from being the tossers they are, but at the very least it would avoid a legal showdown with the government. People from within the government and some Islamic organisations have suggested this option, but have been rebuffed at every turn.

    I think rima has a point about Indonesians lacking any self-confidence, although its not that you have to have so much self-confidence that you reject anything and everything that comes from the outside, but that you have the intelligence to effectively understand what it means in your own local context. The Japan example is probably not the best as its complete exclusion helped it build up the racist and fascist notions which eventually led it to attempting to conquer Asia and end up having to be nuked before they would give in and open up at least a bit. I wouldn’t wish a fate like that on Indonesia, thats for sure.

  26. avatar Cukurungan says:
    April 25th, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Patung said:

    .On Pakistan though, V.S Naipaul I think believes Pakistanis suffer from a kind of neurosis, somewhere deep down they know they were conquered by the Arabs, – conquered with tremendous violence, -

    me :

    Sofar I know the Arab Islam never conquered India but the Mogul Islam did that after some dessandant of the Hulago gangs converted to Islam.

    rima said:
    i would be perfectly happy wearing batik all the time, eating nasi uduk and pray to the nyai roro kidul.

    me :

    Both of us are the same I also like wearing batik and eat nasi uduk and the only difference between us, you love to worship Nyi Roro Kidul while I love to sleep with her.

  27. avatar tabsir.net » Tolerance takes a hit in Indonesia says:
    April 25th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    [...] the state’s constitution on religious liberty. For a pro-Ahmadiyya view of the situation, click here. [...]

  28. avatar Kang Kabayan says:
    April 25th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    It’s not bad to be like Pakistan, there will be a lot of pros for Indonesia in becoming like Pakistan such as economic help and debt remission by World Bank, and also Indonesia can develop nuclear weapon without being concerned about US boycott.

  29. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:
    April 26th, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    timdog said

    Hindu-chauvinists consider India’s Muslims and Christians to be lapsed Hindus who have committed an act of treachery by leaving their “true” faith (no matter that the point of conversion was many centuries ago, no matter that the social and historical reason for conversion was usually the enforced poverty and servitude of the caste system)… These people have burnt churches and mosques, propogated a myth of a Hindu “golden age”, engaged in massacres, there are accounts of horrible forced “reconversions” to Hinduism, and there is of course, the charming slogan-chant: “Mussalman ka do hai stan – Pakistan ya kabristan!” (only two places for the Muslims – Pakistan or the graveyard!)”… That it is these people who inspired V.S. Asshole’s ideas makes them all the more repellent… GRRRRRRRRR!

    In each war or in conflicts on a massive scale like these atrocities occur on both sides. As a counterbalance to your statement above have a look at this:

    http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/modern/hindu_kush.html

    Horrible forced reconversions? Have you any data or reference on these?

    A myth of a Hindu golden age? Why do you call it a myth?

  30. avatar janma says:
    April 29th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Dewa, I am afraid that the hindu’s in india are quite violent… i lived in bengal near the bangladesh border, and there was so much massacring (sp?) going on it was pretty horrific, I can tell you. I remember once some big shot from calcutta came sweeping through the hindu village on his way to the hillstations up north, his whole calvacade just raced through the village like it didn’t exist and they ran over a cow on the way, but they just went right on by.
    When the hindu’s found this cow dead they immediately blamed the neighbouring village of muslims, organized a possy and went over there and strung a school child up in front of the school. Just killed this five year old…for no reason except a cow.

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