10 February 2011
Ahmadiyah As A New Religion?
Can it really all be that simple?
Can it really be as simple as the Ahmadis standing up and saying, "OK, we are a new religion", and "please leave us alone"?
If you were prepared to accept the word of Priyo Budi Santoso, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and member of Golkar, then it is. It would seem that the Democrat Party of SBY is also suggesting that the establishment of a new religion will resolve the violence, the murder, and the mayhem. Well, at least, this is what Imran Muchtar is saying.
However, if the recent attacks on churches in Temanggung is anything to go by, then declaring a new religion is hardly going to be a cure for the violence being perpetrated against the Ahmadis. If mobs can go on the rampage and burn churches because a Christian man does not get the death sentence for blaspheming Islam, then this clearly does not bode well for the Ahmadis.
The Ahmadis are a sect of Islam. Perhaps not a sect that is accepted as being mainstream, but a sect all the same. If they were to branch off and call themselves a new religion this hardly resolves the issue. The core beliefs of the Ahmad remain Islamic in nature. The reality is that even if the Ahmadis were to spin themselves off from mainstream Islam, they remain Islamic in nature. For example, when King Henry VIII decided that the Catholic Church was becoming less agreeable and accepting of his needs, he decided to create a spin-off of the Roman Catholic Church and call it the Church of England.
Now, the Church of England is Christian in its orientation and beliefs. There are a few Virgin Mary issues as I understand it, but to all intents and purposes it is a Christian belief system, a Christian church. So, it does not really matter whether you are Catholic, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Church of England, Protestant, Mormon or Quaker there is an argument to be made that these are all sects of the Christian faith. It would also seem reasonable to me that even if the Ahmadis were to separate from mainstream Islam and declare themselves a new religion that they would remain in a technical sense a sect of Islam.
The answer to the Ahmadi issue is for Indonesia and her citizens to live by that creed that is encompassed in Bhinneka Tunggal Ika or the idea of having unity in diversity rather than continue down the road of intolerance and indifference to human life and existence.
Once again, the Ahmadis spinning themselves off from Islam will not resolve the violence.