Ahmadiyah mosque burned as protests grow

A group calling itself the Jamaah Al Mubalighin Communication Forum burned down a mosque belonging to the “deviant” Ahmadiyah sect in Parakan Salak village in Sukabumi regency, West Java, early Monday.

Sukabumi Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Gunthor Ghafar told The Jakarta Post the incident began when the forum members met Sunday for a Koran reading session at At-Taqwa Mosque, about 700 meters from Ahmadiyah’s Al Furqon Mosque.

The forum members then issued a five-point ultimatum to the Ahmadiyah members, including a demand they “return to Islam” and take down the Ahmadiyah sign from Al Furqon Mosque.

Head of Ahmadiyah in Sukabumi, Asep, told the forum members they needed time to discuss the ultimatum.

The two sides then held a meeting around 7 p.m. on Sunday. During the meeting, Ahmadiyah agreed to remove its sign from the mosque, with the promise that the forum members would not vandalize Ahmadiyah property.

However, forum members attacked the mosque and burned it down shortly after midnight.

Earlier this month a government team — the Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society (Bakor Pakem) — recommended the Ahmadiyah sect be banned because its doctrines deviate from the teachings of Islam.

An Ahmadiyah spokesman told reporters in Jakarta the board’s recommendation to ban the group on the grounds that it is heretical had led to an increase in attacks on its mosques.

“The recommendation has caused an escalation in the destruction of mosques run by Ahmadiyah across Indonesia,” the spokesman, Shamsir Ali, said as quoted by Reuters.

A policeman guarding the Sukabumi mosque was reported to have been hurt in the attack and police questioned eight people in connection with the incident. The National Police later announced two men had been named as suspects.

“We are still investigating this case. We are still discussing the case with the (Sukabumi) prosecutor’s office and military command,” said Gunthor.

Asep demanded the police provide protection for the some 3,000 sect members in the regency. He also hoped police could catch and punish those responsible for the attack on the mosque.

In Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, Ahmadiyah followers, who have been accommodated at the city’s Transito building for months after being evicted from their homes, read their creed at the shelter’s mosque.

The reading of the creed was intended to show the public that their beliefs are the same as other Muslims.

“Herewith I swear in the name of Allah and Rasulullah (the Prophet Muhammad) that we have no other God other than Allah, no religion other than Islam and no last prophet other than Muhammad …,” M. Syaiful Uyun, an Ahmadiyah official in West Nusa Tenggara, said in leading the other members.

The members hoped their demonstration would counter claims the group was heretical and deserving of a ban.

“Bakor Pakem’s recommendation is not based on facts and is blasphemous,” said one Ahmadiyah member who asked not to be identified.

The members urged the government not to issue a joint decree banning Ahmadiyah, which they said would violate the Constitution, the laws of the country and human rights. (The Jakarta Post)

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Rise in global food prices a blessing for Indonesia: President

Wahyoe Boediwardhana ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Pasuruan, East Java   |  Mon, 04/28/2008 11:42 AM  |  Headlines

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told the Nahdatul Ulama youth wing Ansor on Sunday that Indonesia could benefit from the rise in global food prices.

“In my spiritual contemplation a few days back with friends in Yogyakarta, I arrived at a conclusion that the surge in staple food prices is actually a blessing instead of a disaster,” the President said during a ceremony to mark the 74th anniversary of Ansor in Pasuruan, East Java.

Nahdatul Ulama is the largest Muslim group in the country with ties to the National Awakening Party (PKB) and former president Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid.

Many countries with limited land and natural resources, he said, are suffering from food price inflation, but not Indonesia, as long as we can maintain and improve our agriculture and farming industries, particularly those producing rice, corn, soybeans, sugar, beef, chicken and eggs.

“God willing, (the food price inflation) will be a blessing. Therefore, I urge all members of Ansor to join the government in the effort to increase our food production from now on and ahead,” he said.

This year, he said, East Java was likely to enjoy surplus rice production of three million tons, a significant improvement from three years ago when many doubted the country could regain rice self-sufficiency.

“Last year’s production already met demand. This year, if nothing extraordinary happens, we will enjoy a rice production surplus,” he said, adding that lessons from the rice industry should be implemented in other food-producing industries.

Last week, the government raised the benchmark price for rice purchases by state logistics agency Bulog in order to increase farmers’ incomes and discourage the smuggling of the cereal by addressing the price disparity for rice in Indonesia with that in neighboring countries.

The price of unhusked paddy delivered to Bulog now stands at Rp 2,600 (28 US cents) a kilogram, while stored rice is sold at Rp 4,300.

Rice prices in the Chicago market last week reached a record high at US$1,000 per ton or about Rp 9,200 per kg

To secure domestic supplies, the government also has issued a regulation appointing Bulog as the sole exporter of rice and setting a minimum three million tons annual rice production surplus as a prerequisite for exports.

So far, Bulog has absorbed a total of 1.4 million tons of rice, and is aiming for 2.43 million tons by the end of the year as the country’s total rice production is projected to grow by 5 percent from 33 million tons last year.

Commenting on the surge in oil prices, President Yudhoyono said the country needed to examine where it stood on the situation.

“A smart nation is a nation that is able to take a lesson and a blessing from the crude oil price increases. We have to increase our oil production while seeking other alternative sources of energy,” he said.  (The Jakarta Post)

Benedict XVI, about the power of prayer

“I am especially grateful to all who have been praying for the success of the visit, since prayer is the most important element of all,” he said. “Dear friends, I say this because I am convinced that without the power of prayer, without that intimate union with the Lord, our human endeavors would achieve very little. Indeed this is what our faith teaches us. It is God who saves us, he saves the world, and all of history. He is the shepherd of his people. I am coming, sent by Jesus Christ, to bring you his word of life”, Bendict said when sending messageof hope to United Stated of America. (Pormadi/ Zenit.org)

Benedict XVI and Future Hope

Pope  Benedict XVI will visits USA on April 15-20, 2008. Benedict XVI will disembark with a message to strengthen the faith, hope and love of U.S. Catholics, said one of the nation’s bishops.

“He is not just another player in a global game of power politics,” Bishop Wenski continued. “He is not a politician but the Bishop of Rome and the universal pastor of the Catholic Church. This is not to say that he does not have his pulse on the world. […] Benedict XVI will address the U.N. as a religious leader, a moral leader — but a uniquely informed one. And just as he will have something to say to Catholics, he will have something to say to the U.N. and the world”, as Zenit quoted.

“Much of the turbulence in world politics today stems from the detachment of faith from reason and the loss of faith in reason,” the prelate contended. “Like John Paul II before him, he will draw upon his faith to defend reason. In doing so, this Pope who began his career as a professor, will no doubt reintroduce world leaders to the universal moral law.

“This law written on the human heart and therefore knowable to human reason constitutes that ‘grammar’ of dialogue necessary for men and nations to build together a future of hope.”

I hope that pope will be a strong religious leader with strong moral law. He should keep a better dialogue with other religions without lost of the truth of Catholic teachings.  If we try to view world globally, the world really need a strong leader with strong virtues. God bless the pope. (Pormadi/ Zenit.org)

Church in France Receives Converts From Islam

Daily Tells of Difficulties They Face

PARIS, APRIL 7, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Between 150 and 200 Muslims convert to Catholicism each year in France, many of them the children of mixed marriages, reported a French daily.

According to the April 2 edition of Le Monde, the topic has been little discussed in recent years. But the Church is now affirming that religious liberty and reciprocity are essential.

Bishop Michel Dubost of Evry is a determined participant in the dialogue with Islam. A dozen Muslims are baptized every year in his diocese. This year, one was baptized in private.

Le Monde said the situation of Catholic converts from Muslim is often dire. The majority face misunderstandings from those around them, it reported, and others reproach them for having “disowned their culture.” Some have hid their conversion even from members of their family.

In this sense, the widely publicized conversion of Magdi Cristiano Allam, baptized by Benedict XVI on Holy Saturday, brought joy to the converts in France: “I bless the Pope, who has put his finger there where it hurts,” Mohammed Christophe Bilek, founder of Notre-Dame-de-Kabylie association, said. “Everyone should be able to be baptized. That flows from human rights.”

Despite their growing numbers, converts from Islam to Christianity, including all confessions, do not exceed the number converting to Islam. In August of 2006, the French daily La Croix reported that some 3,600 people in France convert to Islam every year.

 

© Innovative Media, Inc.

Reprinting ZENIT’s articles requires written permission from the editor.

Responses to ‘Fitna’ film

Geert Wilders is a die-hard masochist who enjoys dispensing “Dutch treat”.
NENNETH CHEN
Jakarta

Muslims only wonder why Wilders disrupts the quiet of others while he is never interrupted. I think he is just seeking fame for himself by sacrificing the peace. Congratulation, Wilders. See you in hell.
HM SABAR SS PRAYA
Jakarta

In fact the protests against the anti-Islam film have been going on not only at Jakarta’s Dutch Embassy but also at the Dutch Consulate in Medan.

It is not a matter of maturity or immaturity of Indonesian Muslims, but the feeling of togetherness and brotherhood with Westerners, mainly Europeans, as a part of the global community that should be maintained.

The incorrect opinion on Islam must be buried to create a global life of harmony.
ABDUL RAHIM
Tangerang, Banten

The less violent protests against Fitna do not indicate the growing maturity of Indonesian Muslims. It indicates the growing faithless of them.
RIZWAN DARMAWAN
Bandung

Being a Muslim, I hate people who humiliate Islam without any knowledge about it. Fitna is mockery, reflecting the producer’s madness for popularity.
SUYADI
Jambi

I’m a Christian and absolutely condemn Fitna as made based on like and dislike. I hope Muslim clerics still continue to give cool and fresh sermons (da’wah).
L.L. BIE
Purwodadi, Central Java

I think Fitna will hurt Muslims and it may spark conflicts.
SETYO DEWI UTARI
Bandung

The government bans Fitna, but Ahmadiyah followers in many areas like Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara and Kuningan, West Java, still get harassed even by officials of local governments.
RIKA
Jakarta

Until now, seven mosques belonging to Ahmadiyah Muslims, located in Kuningan, West Java, are still closed by the local government, claiming for the sake of safety.

It is ridiculous. While the government and Muslims in this country condemn the film Fitna, they still allow violence against Ahmadiyah followers.
GUNAWAN AHMAD
Tangerang

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/node/165689

MAKING THE LIFE WORTH

By Pormadi Simbolon, Jakarta

Experiences are part of our daily life. They give us how to learn and to live the life. They tell us how to face our daily problem. Everything that we have coming from experiences in our life.

Nowadays, life is complex. The problem in front of us is more complex too. But how to face and overcome are the main things. The first of all is goals in our life. If we have goals, we will be active to reach them. If we have dreams, we must get them. If we think we can, we can do it. So the goals is the most important in the life.

As we know, we live in the world of higher technology and information era. We are in the global village. Like media said: this era is globalization. The era of globalization creates new problems.

The problems must be solved. We can not run from our daily life problems. If we can pass them, these are the best teacher for us in the future. So experience is the best teacher.

In addition, the main thing of life is love. If we love the life we will live it well. Love is a clue in relationships with others and God. We can live together because of love. Love makes us having a compassion with ourselves and others.

Eveyone was born to live the life from God. Life is a grace. It is a gift from God to us. So we should live the life well. We should give thanks to Lord for the life He has given to us. As religious person, we believe that God gives us the power to live.

As a grace, the life also be a struggle. We have to face anything about life like variety of experiences. Both happiness and sufferings are parts of our life.

Experience contents of both sweetness and bitterness. The happiness make us energic to go on the life. Bitterness is that we should reflect and take a values of them.

For some people, the life is hard because many problem come on and on to them. But, although the life is hard, it should be face patiently.

As a part of life, experience make us growing well. Experiences need the integrity of ourselves. We ourselves should realize that the instruments of our personality. They are love, strength, weakness and assertion within ourselves.

Anyway, the important thing in the life is how to give the meaning to all of our experiences. And so, the life is how to take worth of them. I mean that the experience is the best teacher for us. We will not fall to the same foolishness or mistakes if we could take the values from our experiences.

I want to say in this section, the experiences of our life is complex but also beautiful. It tells us many learning from our social life. It teaches us facing the life with the others. It means we can grow perfectly if we live with our neighbour. The perfect of life can be reach only by living with others. It is social life.

There are many problems in my life. One of them is how to fullfil the needs of my family. I should send my children to school. I must give them good education. These are also my duties as parents to them.
Sometime I ask myself, how should I look for some money. How should I get a good salary from my job. The questions make me reflecting about my life.

But I ever think that I will never be able to fullfill all of the needs of my family. Should I do a bad way? Is it enough asking myself only? What should I do to become a succes person in life? I can reach nothing if I am too lazy, lack of knowledge, and lack of faith. I can not be a succes person if talking only without action. Finally, I make a decision that the best for me is action and action in my life.

The life will be nothing if it is not planned. It will be worth if we can live it as grace and struggle. There is not again “No Action, Talking Only” (NATO).

Planning is the best way to make life well. It means we should make a real goal of our life. The goal is the most important to live the life.

What do goals for me? They help me set priorities. Something become vitally important, while others cease to have any importance.

Goals help me set my schedule and efforts, not only over long periods of time, but daily. A person with goals does not want to waste time.

Goals help me balance my life. Staying healthy and feeling good – which involve proper nutrition, adequate sleep, times of relaxation and recreation, and daily exercise – become important because they are linked to the ability to accomplish goals.

Goals that I have planned are how to get a good salary and how to fullfil the needs of my family and how could I be a succes person in the life. They are my priorities.

Where there is a will, there is a way, like people know. By sharing my problem to my leader in my workplace, I was offered a free college’s fund.Then one of my solution is going to college for getting a higher degree so that I can get a better salary. I think this is grace from God to me. I thank God for blessing me.

Solving a problem, I should know to praise the Lord ang give thanks to Him and I ask a help from Him. As a religious people, I can do nothing without bleesings from God.

In fact, the goals also mean to know where we should go. First, we find out where we are now. Then we decide a real goal to the future. We try to visualize point of end of our goal. Next, we begin doing after making an action plan. I begin from the first step and then the others. Action plan should be done with discipline. It is also done by evaluating our action plan daily.

Experience is the best teacher. I live my life well because I make plannings and goals. I do myself making decisions. The life must has goals.

I can tell everybody that the life will not be worth without goals. There are a lot of reasons. A person without goals generally has no excitement in his life. He has no enthusism for getting up in the morning. He has no ambition to make the most of everyday. Nothing energizes him.

A person without goals is wasting time and without a sense of direction. The life as it comes and passes it without something new.

A person without goals is often very critical of others, especially those who are succesful or who are working hard to achieve particular goals. The person without goals basically does not like himself very much. He does not believe that the life is grace and struggle. To make himlsef better, he tend to criticize others, hoping to bring them down to his level.

I think that everybody must choose a life with goals, not life without goals. It is because the life is grace and struggle. We live with happiness and suffer experiences. We know the life is only once, so we should live it well.

As a religious people, I believe that everything that we have is come from the God. So I thank to God for His blessings. I ask a help from the Almighty God. I need a mercy of God to me.

It is important to build relationship with God, so that I can live happily. I become patient in this life because of He gives a power to live. By loving God, I also love the others in my social life. Loving God makes me growing in the social life. My life be worth because live the life as grace and struggle.