09 July 2008

SBY and Extremists in Indonesia

Indonesia will be heading to the polls in 2009 and most candidates will want to be affirming their Islamic credentials and it would seem that a sure-fire way to do that would be to line up anything considered to be anti-Islam or outside of mainstream Islamic thought. It would seem that Ahmadiyya would be a good target for this credential affirming exercise.

I have written on this on a number of occasions. It seems clear to me that banning religious faiths and organizations is a step backwards in the democratic process. The recently released International Crisis Group (ICG) report agrees with that assessment.

The idea that the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) dictates policy responses. There is no doubt that the MUI has a role to play. However, it is an advisory role at best and it is definitely not a policy role. Nevertheless, it seems that the SBY government has caved into the hard-line fundamental interpretations prevalent in the MUI. This is not only a step backwards but rather a worrying development that indicates a significant shift to the right.

Going forward, leaders of moderate Islamic organizations have to step up and be much more vocal in criticizing the radical elements. The joint decree prohibiting Ahmadiyya is a victory for the hard-line conservatives and they will be emboldened by this victory and will be looking for others.

It's time for moderate Indonesians to step up and create some critical mass against the hard liners.


rimafauzi said...

hah, and Jusuf Kalla wants Lombok to be an Islamic resort, with no alcohol.

so much for a moderate indonesia.

Rob Baiton said...

I did not say Jusuf Kalla was a moderate...he is an opportunist!