Fill in the Questionnaire

Feb 25th, 2006, in News, by

Bandung is in West Java province and West Java has the reputation of being a fairly strict place in terms of the prevailing interpretations of Muslim beliefs and practises.

That is almost certainly why the place keeps cropping up in our reports, whether it’s the closing of churches or protests about the Muhammad cartoons. But there’s more.

On Friday the police arrested about 27 Muslim activists in the city for attempting to barge their way into hotels in Bandung, hunt down any foreigners staying there, and foist upon them a questionaire.

Muhammad Mukmin, the coordinator of the Anti-Apostasy Movement was among those arrested, along with activists from the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and other fruitcake groups. Mukmin said, before being arrested:

We just want to give out questionnaires containing five questions to survey their opinions about the publication of the cartoons, about the stigma put on Muslims as terrorists, and about whether the media should be punished for publishing the cartoons.

If they support the cartoons, we will have no other choice but to ask them to leave Indonesia.

The arrests were made after the groups’ leaders organized a public rally to protest the publication of the cartoons. Thousands of people from Bandung and neighboring areas joined the event.

The demonstrators marched to the Holiday Inn in two groups. Both were blocked from entering the hotel by hundreds of police officers, headed by Central Bandung Police chief Adj. Sr. Com. Masguntur Laupe, who said:

They have no authority to survey people like this. Who are they? What if everyone could do this to foreigners? How would this affect business?

It’s always about business.

Bandung Police chief Senior Commander Edmon Ilyas said the activists were arrested for violating the 1998 Law on Public Gatherings because they did not have a permit to march. Their attempt to target foreigners meant they would be charged with disorderly conduct as well.

One Comment on “Fill in the Questionnaire”

  1. David says:

    According to the Jakarta Post the 27 men were released on Saturday as the police found out that in fact the march was legal after all.

    However the leader of the group, Muhammad Mukmin, has said his men will keep trying to hand out the questionnaires to westerners in Bandung. Anyone found to be “hostile toward Islam” will be ordered out of Indonesia, he said.

    The police have vowed to prevent the militants from accosting foreigners. Bandung Police chief Edmon Ilya said:

    They do not have any authority to do this. If they were allowed to just do what they liked, everybody would be able to do whatever they wished as well. The security of foreign tourists must be ensured to prevent our image from being tarnished internationally.

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