Good & Bad Citizens

Jun 10th, 2008, in Opinion, by

Ross complains that the government is trying to restrict the activities of the wrong people, Ahmadiyah instead of Muslim militants.

Frozen Assets – good citizens in suspended animation

The decision last night to ‘freeze’ Ahmadiyah is sickening.

The FPI rants on, undeterred by the regime’s ‘too little, too late’ incarceration of a handful of its most visible scum, a clearly Islamofascist gang which ministers tell us would be too ‘complicated’ to consider banning.

Yet plainly harmless, benign citizens, engaged in nothing more offensive than disagreeing with the mediaeval bigots of the MUI (whose chair made a great show of visiting the scumbags in jail) are told not to be seen worshipping as they wish to worship, or else. So if a band of rabid primitives takes offence at something we do that doesn’t affect them in any way, WE are told to cool it (or be frozen!)

While oleaginous entertainers like Dangdut King Rhoma Irama (who once – post Bali- told a concert that his was a religion of peace!) also scuttle along to fawn on detained fanatics, the political leaders of the ‘greatest Muslim democracy’ are providing even more entertainment by their Inul-esque gyrations trying to justify a return to authoritarian tactics. What a pathetic spectacle!

Did anyone see that MUI Chairman on ANTV two nights ago? He busily explained that he was all for tolerance for ‘permitted’ religions but not for anyone who dissented from his clique’s interpretation of his own. And this is the tail, a state-sponsored apparatus of intolerance, that wags the governmental watch-dog.

No wonder it hasn’t bit or even barked over the past ten years, since the FPI started its rapacious illegality, under the auspices, as the current Defence Minister reminded us in yesterday’s Jakarta Post 9/6, of Jakarta’s Police Chief. What happened to FPI thugs who ransacked Star Dei, or vandalised the Playboy office? Nothing? I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

Incidentally, if that’s the case, about that capital cop, and who’s going to doubt it, why isn’t that fine fellow dragged out of retirement, arraigned, and his pension cancelled?

So what can people do about this outrage?

Not a lot, if we’re talking about bules, though if we make it known to Lombok Tourist Office that we won’t vacation there until Ahmadiyah victims are given justice and the pigs who persecuted them out of their homes put behind bars, it might make somebody pay attention.

Otherwise, it looks as if we must rely on Anshor and those other good Muslims who care about both the principles of their faith and its image overseas.

30 Comments on “Good & Bad Citizens”

  1. Shloka says:

    Totally agree, Ross. Islam not only has a disproportionate number of problems with non Muslims but also with other Muslim sects which they consider heretical. The Ahmadiyya, the Alevis of Turkey, the Sufi saints, the Ismailis, you name it. In fact, many of these sub sects namely the Sufi,Ismaili and Alevis are far more tolerant of non Muslims than many Christians\Hindus and Jews are tolerant of other religions. The Alevis and Ismailis are also very progressive in their outlook. For instance, in Islam a Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non Muslim, although a Muslim man may marry a Christian or Jewish woman. However Ismaili Muslim women may marry men of other faiths and Ismaili Supreme leader Aga Khan’s daughter Zahra aga Khan is married to a British Anglican. These sub sects offer a real hope for a more tolerant and modern Islam, however they face harsh persecution from “mainstream” Muslims. In Turkey, although churches and synagogues are allowed to be relatively freely constructed, Alevi places of worship are not. I fear Wahabi style Muslims will wipe out the these tolerant subsects.

  2. timdog says:

    Ah Shloka, my old friend… how curious that I find myself agreeing with you about Sufis, Ismaelis etc…
    I have a long-standing personal interest in classical Sufism, particularly in its Subcontinental manifestations, and have spent a good deal of time amongst Ismailis (and yes, the status of women in Ismaili communities is notable and refreshing, though in impoverished rural areas women are always going to get a rougher deal to some extent, whatever the prevelent religion)…

    I do have to add – I have to, you know I do! – that there is a danger of letting the likes of the Ismailis become something of a “red herring” in our quest for “real hope”. No matter how attractive we may find them – and let me make it clear that I find them very attractive – Ismailis, Alevis etc do unfortunately only represent deeply un-orthodox “fringe elements”, at best irrelevent, and at worst “heretical and condemnable” for most Muslims…

    Perhaps more important is, for example, something like “mainstream Javanese Islam”. Now, “mainstream Javanese Islam” is not, or certainly has not been, in any way similar to the outlook of the likes of the FPI…
    Of course, it’s much easier to define a group like the Ismailis within their distinct heterodox boundaries; far less easy to pin down an “average” Javanese Muslim, who, while in theory is theologically orthodox, in practice is as tolerant as the wildest Sufi dervish, and is crucially perhaps more relevent to the “mainstream”…

    Of course, that “average Javanese” is, despite being more prevelent and more relevant, much harder positively to identify, and so is lost in the yawning chasm of debate that gushes between the polar opposites of FPI-like nutjobs, and endearing Ismaili-style “subsects”…

    Shloka, we will drive each other crazy if we kick off again, but I just thought that in sharing your views about these “subsects” there was a very good oppertunity for me to restate my position clearly without any of the wild distractions that we were bandying around last time 😉

    Ross – while I share your take on the FPI themselves, I do tend to feel that – while in itself cowardly and disingenuous – the government’s take on the “complicated” nature of the FPI – re. banning it – does need some consideration… This “complexity” is largely of the RI government’s own making – definite action should have been taken a long time ago, but after a decade of laissez-faire I do worry that an outright ban and clampdown would no longer provide a solution…
    I base this thought largely on the example of the “banned” (and still hugely powerful) Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt…
    But can I offer an alternative solution? Ah… I’m afraid not…

  3. Casasa says:

    It’s terrible that the government is allowing itself to be bullied by these fanatics. Don’t they realize how manipulative they are? They are trying to turn Indonesia into another Iran.

  4. Lairedion says:

    timdog said:

    This “complexity” is largely of the RI government’s own making – definite action should have been taken a long time ago, but after a decade of laissez-faire I do worry that an outright ban and clampdown would no longer provide a solution…
    I base this thought largely on the example of the “banned” (and still hugely powerful) Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt…
    But can I offer an alternative solution? Ah… I’m afraid not…

    Because successive governments have been reluctant for the last decade and there’s no alternative we should practice laissez-faire towards the FPI also….. another example of the absurd pc soft approach. Any self-respecting nation upholding Law and Constitution would ban these bunches of criminal thugs and would seek legal persecution to try and put the perpetrators behind bars. It’s never too late for that. Did it occur to you that some of these idiots are threatening with civil war if their demands are not met?

    And what does Egypt has to do with Indonesia? I can recall from some of your earlier comments that we should acknowledge the diversity of Muslims. Why this U-turn?

  5. Shloka says:

    @Timdog(Not Timedog),
    If indeed progressive strains of Islam are obliterated fanatical Wahabi style Muslims will have a far greater role to play than the likes of Laeridion, Justin or me. Very few Muslims have access to the internet in Indo or Pakistan, virtually none in Afghanistan, but Wahabi preachers are penetrating every corner of the Islamic world. Till a century ago, organizations like the FPI would be unthinkable in Indonesia. Indonesians practiced a very tolerant form of Islam, a syncreticism of animism\Buddhism\Hinduism while incorporating a few daily prayers in a foreign language. Today, Aceh has a dress code, a la Iran. While Jews in Israel, Hindus in India\Nepal, Buddhists in Thailand\Sri Lanka etc have banned polygamy,Indonesian influential preacher Aa Gym is openly polygamous.

    Similarly, Alevis, who were nomadic tribesmen, also incorporated many pre islamic ideas into their worship. I have pointed out how, Alevis are not given places of prayer.
    To do so, argues Directorate of Religious Affairs head Ali Bardakoglu, would be heresy. Last year, AKP lawmaker Mustafa Ozbayrak, referring to Alevi demands that they be allocated state funds, said, “If you give this to the Alevis, will you give the Satanists the same tomorrow?” Who compared the Alevis to Satanists? Certainly not non Muslims like Justin , Dewa, Lairedion or me. It was a Sunni Muslim. It appears that, the more Muslims are able to read the Koran either in their mother tongue or in translation, the more they perform the Hajj pilgrimage and see how the puritanical Arabs practice their faith, the more tolerance and pluralism in Islam disappears.

  6. timdog says:

    Capek dech…

    @Lairedion – if you take a careful look at what I actually wrote above you might notice that I was actually making a “woe is us! We’re all doomed!” type statement of the kind usually not made by the “PC bules” – I was just doing it in a quiet voice…
    I was simply pointing out that thanks to a decade of laissez-faire, slapping a straight-forward ban on the FPI may not provide the instant cure-all remedy in might once have done – and could end up proving very messy indeed given that the likes of FPI relish persecution…

    Was I offering an obvious alternative? No, because unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be one at hand.
    Was I – in a fit of liberal whinging – suggesting that the FPI ought to be left unmolested to exercise their democratic right to free speech? NO I WASN’T…
    I was simply making the very legitimate observation that the situation is indeed “complicated”, and that the government of Indonesia does need to tread carefully through a mess of its own making if not to exacerbate it… I don’t see how that’s a “absurd PC soft approach”…

    Why did I mention the Muslim Brotherhood? Because like FPI the MB is an Islamist organisation – albeit a vastly larger, more organised and politically mature one (“politically mature Islamist organisation” is probably an oxymoron, but one needs to be able to recognise relativity)…
    The MB has been banned and its leaders jailed pretty much since the inception of modern Egypt, yet is is so intrenched in Egyptian politics that it has returned a huge chunk of the parliament (in the guise of “independents”) in elections there…
    There is a persuasive argument that its long illegal status has prevented the two other preferable fates for the group: it has neither whithered away, nor genuinely “matured” into a mainstream political party (though I belive there are now faint hints of the latter).

    Despite what you think, and despite their vocality and aggressive behaviour FPI does represent the very outer limits of Indonesia’s lunatic fringe (that doesn’t make them any less bad, but they’re not about to take over the country).
    The idea of them at any time in the near future being a significant force in the democtractic political system is patently absurd. I for one sincerely hope that it remains so, and indeed sincerely hope that FPI does whither away as soon as possible… Pointing out that the situation is “complicated” is in no way at odds with that…

    @Shloka – stunning idea! Enforce illiteracy on all Muslims and thus cure “the problem”! Pure genius!
    I can’t be bothered to outline the details, but it’s the considered opinion of people I know “on the frontline” in Pakistan that quite the opposite is the problem: illiterate or semi-literate young men unable to access their own religion independently are very much more liable to come uner the influence of radical Imams…
    I have heard annecdotal evidence of imams in Gilgit in Pak deliberately disguising aggresive modern political statements featuring America and Israel and the Pakistani government as chunks of scripture by way of a few simple Arabic embelishments… and their congregations are so thoroughly uneducated that they don’t see through it…
    Equally I’m not aware of any of the key “al Qaeda”-type high-profile terrorists having been thoroughly versed Islamic scholars – in fact, I believe many of them are said to have had only the shakiest understanding of Muslim theology…

  7. Shloka says:

    @ Timdog,
    I don’t really have the time or energy for another debate right now, I submitted my FGM project late due to the long last debate. However, I’m NOT enforcing or advocating illiteracy, where did I make such a statement?

    All I’m saying was, Indonesia was, till recently quite cut off from the Muslim world. Muslim missionaries preached a new faith, and a few incomprehensible words of the Koran were added into the daily rituals of the Indos who otherwise continued with their syncretic Hindu\ Buddhist\ Animist style of rituals. Such Indonesians did not bomb Bali or develop a hatred to polytheism or Ahmadiyya. If you can translate ” Insiden Monas,FPI…” you’ll see quite a few comments there of “destroy polytheism”. Similarly, the Alevis of Turkey don’t perform the Hajj pilgrimage and so have little knowledge of how the rest of the Muslim world preactices their faith. The Alevis are in fact better educated than the rest of Turkey, only more educated in secular knowledge

    And forgive me for believing so, but a significant number of Al Queda and its supporters are relatively well educated. Osama bin Laden comes from a distinguished family, and either has a degree in civil engineering or dropped out of college in the third year. Not an illiterate or semi illiterate. All the 9\11 pilots, Zia ul Haq, Ayatollah Khomeini, who studied the Koran from age six and taught Islam at the University of Najaf, the list of scholars well educated in both Koranic and secular education who were still drawn to fundamentalism goes on. If you either don’t know it or choose to ignore it, I don’t know what to say. Since you’re pretty knowleageable about India, you might have heard of Indian Muslim preacher Zakir Naik. He’s a qualified doctor from one of India’s most prestigious Universities, and can recite all Koranic verses and Hadiths. Among his views are: Apostates from Islam should be killed, the destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban was justified, women should always wear the hijab and polygamy is both moral and justifiable. And Pakistan’s script is Urdu, similar to Arabic, far more Pakis are able to read the Koran, compared to Bangladeshis, who speak, read and write in Bengali. Pakistan is undoubtedly far more fundamentalist.

  8. Ross says:

    The point of my initial post was to rmind folks who the bad guys are.
    The JP 10/6 published a statement from the Network for Monitoring and Advocacy for Freedom of Religion that recorded 54 cases of vilence against Christians and Ahmadiyah between 1996 and 2008. It began in 1996 with an assault on an Ahmadiyah mosque in Karang Tengah, Sukabumi, West java, then spread to Cianjur, Garut, Bogor, Bekasi and Kuningan, all in West Java, a province with an unsavoury history of Islamist sectarianism. Suryadi Rajab, the Network spokesman, noted that Christians were forced to worship in their homes because of both violent attack and local government rulings on church building.
    I personally recall one morning when the pigs invaded Jalan Jaksa, but that was a very minor skirmish, infinitely les upsetting han that scene last year when some poor lady (poor in both sense) had her little stall wrecked by the pigs because she was selling sustenance during Ramadan. Not forcing anybody to eat or drink, just giving people a choice. That’s what the FPI hate, freedom to choose, and that’s why the cops should have unholstered their guns at Monas.

  9. timdog says:

    Shloka – I can read Urdu… I can also read Arabic (Urdu is written in nashtaliq and has 36 letters; Arabic is written in nakht and has 28, but they’re close enough to figure it out) but just because I can trace out the sound of the Arabic words doesn’t mean I have the first clue what they mean (and I don’t)… that Shloka, was a very, very weak argument… German, Indonesian – same alphabet, right? Get it?

    The 9/11 pilots were ceratinly well-educated, but they were not “Islamic Scholars”; nor were the London July 7 bombers, the Madrid train bombers etc… That’s one issue; at the other end of the scale is the very, very widely credited idea that illiteracy and a general lack of education is one of the most crucial issues is widespread radicalisation in countries like Pakistan (which has a very high level of illiteracy)… Yes , of course you have people like Zakir Naik, but they draw their wider support from maleable, ignorant people…

    Ross, I know your style is deliberately beligerant, but…
    Do you really think that if the police had shot the FPI rampagers at Monas the situation would have been improved, and FPI’s position, popularity and power weakened?
    I’m not making a statement to the contrary here; I’m genuinely asking the question – what do you think?

  10. Shloka says:

    @ Timdog,
    Okay, the Arabic Urdu thing was a weak argument, but I do disagree on Zakir Naik. On Google there are 204,000 hits for Zakir Naik. His website is immensely popular, and he has numerous fansites. Muslims of India\Pakistan who are able to put up fansites or even write comments on the net are definitely not poor or barely literate. Since you have visited India, just tell me, how many of the poorest Muslims in India have any idea what or where the Bamiyan Buddhas are? You must have heard of Tariq Ramadan. He’s an extremely influential Muslim preacher. His brother, Hani Ramadan, Head of the Geneva Islamic Foundation lost his job after he advocated stoning of women in case of adultery or unwed motherhood calling it “purification of society”. Tariq Ramadan has called for a moratorium, but not outright ban on stoning. Yusuf al Qaradawi of Cairo’s Al Azhar University advocates FGM “especially in today’s world”. There are many well educated Muslims with reactionary views who show that education, whether theological or secular, will not make fundamentalism disappear.

    And if it was only illiteracy responsible for fundamentalism, Iran and Brazil have similar levels of literacy. Brazil’s Catholic, Iran Muslim. Iran follows Sharia regarding stoning, polygamy, inheritance but Brazil does not compel rape victims to marry their rapists, as the Bible states. Rapists are punished like other criminals. Saudi, United Arab Emirates and such other Gulf countries are quite rich, reasonably literate but far more fundamentalist than poverty stricken Latin America.

  11. timdog says:

    Shloka – it’s not that I don’t agree with you on much of this, but as always, I must make a plea for understanding the complexity of the issues (note plural issues).
    Excitable little boys with internet connections, international terrorists, large volume semi-literate “on the street” radicals in places like Pakistan, and extremist “preachers” all represent seperate issues that are at best loosely linked. Some of the externals may be the same (although not always – in practice most Pakistani radicalism is about local sectarianism rather than international factors), but the root issues are often altogether separate…

    To illustrate this it’s worth pointing out the glaring difference between al Qaeda and the Taliban as they existed in Afghanistan “pre-9/11″… Despite the deliberate interchanging of the two terms in the years since, these two entities were very different – the Taliban were a semi-literate Deobandi mob concerned with nothing more than enforcing their odd brand of puritanism on their own country and not in the least bit interested in international issues; al Qaeda, in as much as it existed, was not in the least bit interested in that, having far bigger fish to fry… they were entirely seperate in their foundations, their inspiration and their outlook…

    It is notable that, as I mentioned before, the high-profile “al Qaeda”-inspired suicide terrorists of recent years, while certainly educated, were not in any way classically schooled in Islamic theology…
    Of course there are exceptions, but it is also notable that the scholarly credentials of many of the most famous radical “preachers” – including the likes of Zakir Naik – are far from impressive; not many of them come from mainstream Muslim accademia…
    And the popular – and sometimes physically violent – Islamist radicalism in Pakistan is quite clearly not based in extensive litteracy and comprehensive Islamic scholarship…
    And as for the excitable little boys with internet connections (how many of them are thoroughly schooled in theology?) – they just need to get out and find themselves girlfriends…

    Confusing the issues, bundling them into one package, doesn’t help…

    Here’s a very, very good article from the New York Review of books a couple of years ago dealing specifically with the links between terrorism and Islamic education in Pakistan… It’s by the highly regarded (and as far as I’m concerned brilliant) historian and writer William Dalrymple:

    On the subject of Iran, it’s a wild aside, but I simply have to point out, that it’s pretty well known that the “Islamic Revolution” was born as a reaction to a bloated and corrupt regime, and is utterly at odds with the outlook of very many – probably a clear majority – of Iran’s “literate classes”…
    What sustains it? Many things, but an absolute cornerstone of its ongoing existance is confrontation with the outside world… if you run a regime of dubious legitamacy and shaky popularity one of the most time-honoured methods of propping it up is to invite and encourage mutal confrontation with outside forces (Indonesia’s own Sukarno was an expert in this mode of politics)… Every aggressive US statement on Iran is a boon to the entrenchment of their rule…

    Sorry you were late with your project due to the last debate 😉

  12. dewaratugedeanom says:

    timdog said

    Do you really think that if the police had shot the FPI rampagers at Monas the situation would have been improved, and FPI’s position, popularity and power weakened?

    If so then at least we would know where we stand, we could assess the situation clearly and take the appropriate measures. Now we simply do not know how far their popularity already reaches.
    FPI is like a cancer. It should be operated and removed immediately and not let it grow because we don’t know how far it will spread. All this talk is just a waste of time, an intellectual wanking exercise.
    One more time, remember Nazi-Germany.

  13. Lairedion says:


    What business do you have by diverging the discussion to Pakistan and your buddies over there in nearly every thread on IM?

    And I concur with Ross. Shoot ‘m…

  14. timdog says:

    Dewa too! We’re all together once again in another merry picnic! 😉

    As I said above, I was genuinely only posing the question when I asked Ross if he really thought shooting them would have been a good idea…

    You said:

    If so then at least we would know where we stand, we could assess the situation clearly and take the appropriate measures. Now we simply do not know how far their popularity already reaches.

    At least you state your position clearly and unequivocally (that’s why you’re my favourite intellectual wanking companion at these little gatherings we have 😉 ) but what you suggest does sound a little scary to me… how about if the “operation” reveals that the “cancer” has in fact spread far further than we had suspected and is no longer “operable”… or how about the side effects? I’m running with your medical metaphor here… What if the “opperation” has the effect of turning various other benign or at least slow-growing “tumours” into rampant malignancies?
    Again, I am really only posing the question, not making a statement, but I do believe that these are questions that the “doctors” treating this complicated case do need to consider before they insert the scalpel…

  15. timdog says:

    Actually Lairedion, I believe Shloka kicked it off with his talk of Alevis, who, in case you were unaware, are from Turkey, and Ismailis who are found in their most prominent concentrations in Pakistan…
    Given that people all over this site are always banging on about Arab terrorists, American politicians, Dutch “film-makers” and Iranian Ayatollahs, why the hell should’t I mention Pakistan? I’ve certainly seen you whipping out the global examples right left and centre when it serves your purpose…
    Anyway, I have a feeling my dear friend Shloka is also rather interested in India and Pakistan…

  16. Shloka says:

    @ Timdog,
    Thanks for that link. I’m a Dalrymple fan, I’ve read all his books and read that article with great interest. He’s an orientalist and apologist for Islam. He pins the causes for fundamentalism in Pakistan to factors other than some intrinsic violence in the Islamic faith.In contrast,if you read Robert Spencer who’s just as knowlegeable you’d be led to believe that all the woes of Muslim nations have to do with Islam. The truth, as always lies somewhere in between. And Zakir Naik may not come from mainstream Muslim academia,but he knows his Koran and Hadiths by heart, and has a sound scientific education as a medical doctor. And Yusuf al Qaradawi is mainstream academia but still advocates FGM.

    However, how many Latinos or Jamaicans of the Christian faith have a strong Christian\secular education?How many Thai or Sri Lankan Buddhists have a secular\ Buddhist education?.Hell, how many Shephardic Jews(not Ashkenazim) have strong secular\Jewish education? Yet poverty or illiteracy simply don’t create conditions for the flourishing of international terrorism or national fundamentalism in non Muslim nations like they do in Muslim states. Also non Muslim terrorists like the Shining Path, LTTE or Muslim terrorists like the PLO don’t connect their behaviour or atrocities to any religion. However significant number of Muslim terrorists be they the Islamists of Algeria, Al Queda, Hezbollahs, Jamaeh Islamiah to name just a few attach themselves to Islam and believes their behaviour to be justified by their faith.

    As for over excited boys getting themselves girlfriends- sorry not happening. Indians, even urban Indians often don’t date and marry at all, marriages are arranged and Muslim girls are very strictly chaperoned. My Muslim friends except one Ismaili friend will get into serious trouble if they so much as stay out after dark. And Timdog, forgive me for saying so, you may have travelled the Muslim world, but I know far more about the behaviour of urban Indian teenage Muslims. I live and study with them. And although the Koran says that ” an idolatress shall only marry an idolater or a whoremonger” Muslim boys will sometimes date Hindu girls. Their sisters however, will almost never date a Hindu boy. And in communities with Muslims, cousin marriages are common. In Pakistan only a minority of women marry non related men. So Muslim boys and girls will generally remain chaste until marriage and then, more often than not marry a cousin. Yes I’ve seen it happening even in big cities. In Hinduism cousin marriages are forbidden but Hindus will also remain chaste until marriage and then marry someone of the same caste. Little or no dating and almost no public kissing in India. Look what happened to Richard Gere!

    Sir Iqbal Sacranie, when asked if Salman Rushdie deserved death retorted” Death is perhaps too easy for him” Sir Iqbal Sacranie is considered remarkably tolerant, moderate enough to get a knighthood yet if this is the best example the Muslims can offer of a moderate, theologically well educated Muslim, then I have to concede, Islam has a serious problem with fundamentalism, freedom of speech and respect to apostates\dissidents.

  17. Shloka says:

    @ Lairedion,
    Sorry. I’ll stick to Indos. Actually I didn’t mention Pakis at all in my first post- just Alevis and Ismailis. And just one word about Pakis in my second post, which was mostly about Indos too. I won’t mention Paki or India again unless Timdog says something erroneous about India\Hinduism or something I find erroneous. And yes I am interested, I’m from that part of the world but I’ll try not to mention tham again. Alright?

  18. timdog says:

    Shloka – I will enter into a pact with you to stay away from the Subcontinent, though I don’t know how long we’ll manage it 😉

    I’m quite happy to defer to your more extensive experience of India’s urban teenagers, Muslim or otherwise, and in any case, I agree entirely with what you say about them above (the suggestion that the internet Islamists go and find girlfriends was a joke, obviously, but I do belive that that would help “the problem”)…

    To swing things back to Indonesia, and the attitude of urban people there towards relationships and marriage etc, on which I believe I am rather more qualified to comment – I would suggest that in Indonesia there is generally a more relaxed attitude to these things than there is in India – amongst Muslims or Hindus…
    Just from my immediate circle of Indonesian friends I can pick out a Muslim girl (a jilbab-wearer to boot!) whose boyfriend is Catholic, and a Muslim guy (who is actually unusually into his religion for a middle class Javanese) who is dating a Christian… Within the bounds of an extended family I know very well there is one marriage where the husband is Catholic and the wife Muslim, and two where the husband is Muslim and the wife Catholic (and in one of those marriages there are two children – the boy raised Muslim and the girl Catholic)…
    Now, those examples do not by any means represent the “norm” in Indonesia (this is specifically Java I’m talking about), but they are not totally, spectacularly unusual, as they would be amongst either Hindus or Muslims in India…
    I’m not going to draw any inferences from that; rather I’ll just leave it hanging there for your consideration 😉

    Before we swear off India altogether I would just make a suggestion that you resist the urge to set yourself up as a kind of caped crusader, a Hindu superhero ready to leap to the defence of India should it be subjected to anything you consider “erroneous”…
    dinadinadinadina – BHARATMAN!!!!!

    I don’t believe you are one, so I’m sure you know that Indian hyper-nationalists are as irrational and belligerant as anyone (and they crop up with alarming regularity on internet forums)…
    I’ve seen you leaping to the defense of Hinduism in the face of “slurs” elsewhere here… that’s fine, but your position on the moral high ground will be more secure if you let the odd “slur” through… for example, is it really neccesary to dismiss the political behemoth and indicted instigator of mass-murder that is Bal Thackeray as a harmlessly irrelevent old lunatic? (sorry, but I’m still twitching from that one)…

    And you can’t respond directly to that because we’ve both sworn off the Subcontinent!
    Holy COW Bharatman! He tricked us!*

    *”Bharatman” and all associated jokes is a copywrited trademark of timdog inc. and may not be used without the creator’s expressed permission. Legal action and a barrage of viscious insults will be unleashed on anyone missappropriating it.
    Please note, Timdog is only winding up Shloka (who he actually quite likes) with this and any genuine sense of insult is entirely unintentional.

  19. mirax says:

    It is depressing to read this sort of news about Indonesia, which I’d rather naively assumed to be more liberal and secure in its identity than say, Malaysia.

    I’d be hesitant to ban the FPI – you ‘d not want to hand the bastards the torch of martyrdom- nor is it appropriate to let loose police violence upon them. But to stand idly by and allow them to rampage through the streets or assault innocent citizens is too much! As much as Timdog confidently asserts that they are on the very outer fringes of the lunatic islamist factions in Indonesian society, I remain unconvinced that their political clout is minimal. When ministers and celebrities visit the jailed FPI leader who is allowed by the police to make speeches, it is more probable that islamist influence runs deeper (in government at the very least) than someone like Timdog is willing to admit. The latest arrests are for show only and there isnt the political will to actually prosecute them for oh, vandalism, assault, hatespeech, incitement to murder, extortion and so on. Instead as the poor ahmadiyyas are picked on once again, we get sanguine advice to look upon Javanese Islam as some sort of answer to the problem.

    Well, there is still a chance for that but only if there is much less islam (shloka does have a point about the corrosive effect of orthodox islam) and more humanity and human agency (whereby individuals are free to choose and concoct their own eclectic beliefs from whatever indigenous, animist, buddhist-hindu traditions they have).

  20. djoko says:

    I’m not sure if its a matter of more or less Islam which will lead to ‘more peace’. I see this as a bit of a tricky argument which either leads along the slippery slope to ‘well then Islam is absolute rot, lets get rid of it and anyone who has anything to do with it’ (for all those people that are quoting Nazi Germany, there’s another possible situation which can turn out like that as well), or otherwise galvanises radical groups in their belief that indeed the world is ‘against Islam’.

    To be perfectly honest even ‘liberal’ Muslims who often get the thumbs up from secularists for the most part are not proposing ‘diluting’ the influence of Islam. If anything they want more Islam in society (see Cak Nur), but they’re more interested in promoting a different ‘kind’ of Islam, and a form which they believe to be more in tune with the true nature of Islam itself. For example on the issue of human rights and rights to freedom of religion, they argue not that they are choosing ‘human rights’ over ‘Islam’, but rather the human rights which are recognised in many parts of the world today are in no way in contradiction to Islam and in fact are part of the true essence of Islam which has been lost over the years, or which in fact no one except the Prophet Muhammad fully understood until now.

    Rather than arguing about if less Islam will make things all rosy for Indonesia, the main problem with the latest round of FPI violence is quite simply law enforcement. To be perfectly honest most of the tools for regulating vigilante groups like FPI are actually already in place. There are criminal laws they can be charged under, plain and simple. The decision to ban the organisation is itself more or less a political one, but more importantly the legal tools – laws to prosecute those who were directly involved in the violence – are already in place. The problem is the state body itself which to this stage continues to be unable to uphold the (existing) laws with consistency and firmness.

  21. Ross says:

    Sorry not answer the question sooner but have been airborne, and currently in Oz.
    Shooting them the answer? Maybe. There would have been a huge furore if ten undesirables or so had been taken out at Monas, but the FPI are such plainly cowardly ratbags (e.g Munarman) we would have seen less intimidatory episodes in future. Of course their fellow-travellers in MUI and Hizbut Tahrir would have organised a big protest, but after that, what..?….there are terrorists due for execution, sooner the better – should the regime lack the guts to take THEM out because the same creepy Islamofascist elemnts will whine and carry on in protest? No, a thousand times no..

  22. timdog says:

    Ross – personally I don’t like death sentences (mainly on principle, but also, crucially, because even in the best legal systems miscarriages of justice do occur). However, the death sentence exists in Indonesia; those terrorists you mention now awaiting it were found guilty in a court very well regarded by the international community, and if death was the sentence it handed down, then it out to be carried out… a reasonable interim for appeal is always essential if a judicial system is to maintain its dignity and repsect, but with that out the way the punishment should be delivered as soon as possible…
    By letting “celebrity” terrorists fester on death row for years the public’s response to them becomes more “complicated”… it’s symptomatic of the same cowardice that alows entities like FPI to become entrenched…

    But meting out a judicial death sentence is a very different thing to opening fire on a mob… and if the new mob that gathers to protest the initial killings gets out of hand, do we open fire on them too? And then? You see where I’m coming from surely?

    Djoko – as a glowing voice of reason and pragmatism, what do you suggest on how in practice the authorities should approach FPI as it now exists?

  23. dewaratugedeanom says:


    how about if the “operation” reveals that the “cancer” has in fact spread far further than we had suspected and is no longer “operable”… or how about the side effects? I’m running with your medical metaphor here… What if the “opperation” has the effect of turning various other benign or at least slow-growing “tumours” into rampant malignancies?

    Not that it matters but my mother died from an unoperated cancer because some doctors wanted to try out a new therapy and that’s why the metaphor sprang to mind.
    But I stick to my opinion that if during the thirties the world would have immediately clamped down on the Nazi gangs instead of bootlicking them in the beginning as the British did, WWII and the holocaust might not have happened.

  24. Lairedion says:

    Shloka said:

    I won’t mention Paki or India again unless Timdog says something erroneous about India\Hinduism or something I find erroneous.

    Then we’re in for loads of more Subcontinent related comments from you, I guess. 🙂 And by all means keep doing that.

    The question directed to timdog was a rhetorical one. In another thread he was boasting about his 10 year Muslim world travel experience and was worried about his Paki Muslim friends being pressed by beards because we are critical to Islam and part of the problem. The sheer stupidity of this comment keeps lingering in my mind ever since. What’s his obsession with Pakistan?

  25. timdog says:

    Dewa – genuinely sorry if you found my over-stretching of the medical metaphor distasteful or distressing – looking back at it it’s not very pleasant…

    I agree with you entirely about Nazism, and do believe that a very carefully and precisely targetted early-stage “clamp down” on a specific group like FPI might work (though I do wonder if it’s too late now in their case)…

    However, I’ve already argued elsewhere about the fundamental difference between purely political entities like Nazism or Communism, and religion, or religiously-inspired organisations…

    On another thread here earlier today I wrote something along these lines in response to something Ross had written. He hasn’t responded yet, and I don’t think he’ll like it; you might though:

  26. timdog says:

    Hah? Where’d the link go? Here it is: OK…

  27. djoko says:

    Djoko – as a glowing voice of reason and pragmatism, what do you suggest on how in practice the authorities should approach FPI as it now exists?

    Law enforcement, plain and simple, but specifically targeted at individuals. Much like terrorist cells, the FPI has too many ways it can pass the buck or dodge bullets aimed at it legally (for example if they as an organisation were targeted for prosecution with regards to the Monas incident, they could just as easily fob it off onto the Laskar Islam or whatever they were calling themselves). This is the approach which has worked best in targeting JI, bringing the individuals to justice rather than messing around with banning the ‘organisation’ which, while pleasing a lot of outsiders, would have had little to no effect on efforts to break up the network itself.

    Of course this runs on the assumption that the police are not actively involved in backing the FPI for their own purposes, and therein lies the problem….

  28. dewaratugedeanom says:

    So what can people do about this outrage?
    Not a lot, if we’re talking about bules, though if we make it known to Lombok Tourist Office that we won’t vacation there until Ahmadiyah victims are given justice and the pigs who persecuted them out of their homes put behind bars, it might make somebody pay attention.

    I fully concur with Ross on this one. Hit them at the most vulnerable spot on the human body: the wallet.

    @ timdog

    Dewa – genuinely sorry if you found my over-stretching of the medical metaphor distasteful or distressing – looking back at it it’s not very pleasant…

    Don’t be sorry. I don’t like to bring personal issues into a discussion. That’s why I said that it didn’t matter. I just wanted to go on with the metaphor.

  29. Shloka says:

    @ Djoko,

    Where in the world has more Islam led to more peace, prosperity or human rights? The places which are least Islamic( Turkey) are far more egalitarian to women and disbelievers than the more Islamic states like Saudi or Iran. Hell, the less Islamic states are even richer. Turkey has 42 billionaires, oil rich Saudi only 19. And what is this ” true essence” of Islam that no country understands? Saudis who are legally beheading a “witch” Fayza Falih in 2008 as she turned a man impotent with her “spells”, believe they are a true Muslim state. Iran and Shariah governed parts of Nigeria which stone women to death for adultery or unwed motherhood, also feel they’re true Islamic states. In Pakistan, from 1979 to 2006, a raped woman needed to produce four male witnesses or be prosecuted for adultery. A number of female prisoners in Pak jails were rape victims unable to produce required witnesses. And I won’t even go to the horrible atrocities committed by the Taliban. In Malaysia, which is more Islamic than Indo, Muslims quitting Islam are imprisoned. A Muslim woman, Revathi Masoosai, who converted to Hinduism had her 15 month baby snatched from her and was forcibly separated from her husband. It seems whenever a nation tries to grasp the “true essence” of Islam, it becomes intolerant and oppressive to women.

    And Islam contradicts with human rights on so many issues. Flogging. stoning, amputations for theft are all against human rigts. A woman’s testimony as half a man’s in financial transactions is also against human rights. So is husband’s superior right to divorce and wife beating. Note that no Muslim scholar, including the site you posted “jannah” disputes existence of wife beating, only the force allowed to be used is disputed.

    And if only Prophet Mohammed understood Islamic human rights, he smashed 360 idols in Mecca. So, Muslims following in his footsteps can destroy all the Bali idols, right?

  30. Shloka says:

    @ Timdog,

    When I say where has Islam led to more peace, thats’ true for all faiths. I think I pointed intolerant aspects of Judaism in another thread and Timdog can more than provide aspects of Hinduism which are negative… I don’t single out Islam, India, Israel and Turkey are Hindu, Jewish and Muslim nations respectively, with secular laws and man made rights and all their laws don’t come from religion. Yes there are barbarities in these places but even if those are sanctioned by their faiths, the offenders are punished. Unfortunately nations with more Islam do impose their faiths to the last letter of the Shariah, and everything in the Shariah like everything in Torah or Hindu scriptures are not meant for the 21st century. So moderate Islam for believers, like Turkey but an Islam which will not impose its morals on others is ideal. And religion made human rights came at a time of no prisons, so flogging or stoning were neccessary punishments, today of course, prisons have made those obsolete.

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