21 April 2008

Ahmadiyah - A Dilemma of Qur'anic Proportions

The Indonesian government is between a rock and a hard place in an area with convoluted laws, regulations, and decrees seemingly in direct opposition to guarantees provided under the Constitution and Pancasila. No where to turn and much to lose!

The simply reality is the government would seem to have the power to ban heretical sects of any religion under the auspices of maintaining public order and harmony, particular where the views of a group where counter to those of the mainstream. Ahmadiyah tends to hold views that are not within the mainstream of Indonesian Islam and perhaps Islam in general and have been deemed blasphemous and heretical.

If Sunday was any indication the ability of hard line groups like the FPI (Islamic Defenders Front) and the HTI (Hizbut Tharir Indonesia) to get thousands out into the street means that the government has one of two choices; be seen to be pandering to hardline views of Islam and ban Ahmadiyah or put in place protections that allow Ahmadiyah to continue unimpeded by those that would seek to destroy it!

This is a dilemma for many reasons. In a cynical sense, there is a general election coming up and being seen as being soft on issues like this will mean that swinging votes will tend to go towards parties seen with strong Islamic credentials. PKS (Prosperous Justice Party) seems more likely to benefit from this shift than any other parties.

Further, the legal implications and the test that this conceivably poses for judicial independence and reform. If the Constitution does provide protections in terms of freedom of religion then this will be a stern test of whether the government is able to live up to this constitutional ideal.

Finally, law and order; is the government going to have the commitment to ensure that law and order is maintained. The tone of the Sunday protest included suggestions that if the government did not dissolve Ahmadiyah by government decision then the protesters would take the law into their own hands and dissolve it themselves. This is a nightmare waiting to happen particularly if the police try and enforce the law and in doing so shoot those seeking to forcibly disband Ahmadiyah contrary to prevail laws and regulations or where police are seen to be complicit in allowing any kind of forcible disbanding to occur.

One of the more novel moments of the protest was a comment to the effect that Ahmadiyah had interfered with the human rights of the protesters by disturbing their tranquility in the practice of their faiths. This is novel for a number of reasons but none more important than highlighting some key points of human rights and democracy, namely: you cannot please all of the people all of the time. But taking this argument to the logical extreme then the practice of any faith that did not concur with the faith as practiced by the FPI and HTI must be deemed to be impinging on their human rights.

The NU (Nahdlatul Ulama) approach is to enter into dialogue with deviant sects, explain the error of that sects ways, and then encourage them back into the fold--back to the true path of God.

This seems destined to get messier before a final resolution is found!


M said...

PKS will always be benefited from any religion chaotic from now on. they even benefited from Ayat ayat cinta film success. i bet on it.

interesting that you say HTI is hardliners. i think it's part of PKS strategy, to make HTI seem to be hardliners. in my opinion, they aren't that hard. even though they dream of khilafah islamiyah, they know it will never happen till centuries. that's why they change from HT to HTI. on the other hand, if u ask PKS if they aim to establish khilafah, their answer would only be politically or diplomatically dfferent from what HTI would say.

maybe political parties are all the same. btw, used to be and perhaps still- part of PKS family and supporter for HTI-on their specific positive projects of course, not politically.

m said...

read this: