By The Way: FPI too busy talking to God

Sun, 06/08/2008 12:01 PM  |  Headlines

Christians are so close to God that they call Him “father” in prayer, while Muslims are so far away from Allah that they need loudspeakers to talk to Him.

This is an old joke, but I couldn’t tell you earlier because I was afraid. If Rizieq Shihab had found out, he might have beaten me black and blue or, worse, burned down my house.

Thank God, he is now in police custody.

If you happen to have watched the news (not the saucy gossip shows or soap operas) or read the paper recently, you would know of Rizieq, the leader of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI).

A radical group, FPI, attacked members of the National Alliance for Freedom of Faith and Religion (AKKBB), who were rallying last Sunday at the National Monument (Monas) park to mark the 63rd anniversary of Pancasila state ideology.

The FPI made their attack because the alliance supports Jamaah Ahmadiyah, a minority Islamic sect dubbed “heretical” by a government panel which also recommended it be banned.

The hardliners had earlier attacked Ahmadiyah sect members, their houses and mosques, and called Ahmadiyah a deviant sect.

The sect leader was once accused of blasphemy, but other than that I have never heard of the sect’s members committing theft, robbery, murder or any other crimes listed in the Criminal Code.

If they have their own interpretations of some verses in the Koran, it is only God who could decide whether it is right or wrong.

In 2006, FPI members vandalized the Play Boy magazine offices in South Jakarta, when the magazine first published its Indonesian version. They said the publication could damage people’s morality, but perhaps the real reason was that they were disappointed to find the Indonesian version didn’t have the same ‘hot’ pictures as its American parent.

They had also repeatedly attacked cafes, bars and nightspots during the Ramadhan fasting month because they believed the establishments violated existing regulations and would tarnish the Holy month.

And they committed all these violent acts in the name of God. Frequently FPI members shouted “Allahuakbar” (God is Great) while conducting their anarchic deeds. They also prayed a lot.

Praying five times a day is one of the five pillars of Islam followed by, not only FPI members, but all Muslims around the world.

The Muslim call to prayer, and prayer itself, can be heard in every corner of the city. It would seem it is a case of the louder, the better, so that everyone in the neighborhood can hear it. It doesn’t matter if it is still dawn or if it’s during school hours and the mosque is right next to a school. If one mosque is next to another, they may even compete to be loudest.

On Friday, mosques are crowded with congregations who enthusiastically come to pray and listen to preachers.

Non-Muslims also perform their religious rituals devoutly. Churches are always full on Sundays, when Christians and the Catholics pray and praise the Lord.

Indonesia is indeed one of the most religious nations in the world, a fact confirmed by last year’s religion monitoring study conducted in 21 countries by the German-based Bertelsmann Foundation.

Ironically, Indonesia is also notorious for being among the world’s most corrupt countries.

Being religious, corruptors must pray first before stealing state money, or perhaps they set aside a little of the corrupted money to build mosques or churches.

Another indicator of the strength of religion in Indonesia was in the huge number of people who enjoyed the recent movie Ayat-Ayat Cinta (Verses of Love), which is heavily loaded with religious messages.

President Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono who watched the blockbuster along with several cabinet ministers reportedly shed tears because he was so touched by the story. But many joked, saying he had cried because he shared the pain of not being allowed to have more than one wife like the leading role.

Anyway, following the Monas attack, many people (mostly Muslims) demanded the ban of the FPI and some even called its members preman berjubah (thugs in Muslim robes) as they wore long white robes and headscarves during the violence.

Not only FPI members, but it seems many other Muslims, Christians and other deeply religious people are often too busy talking to God in one-way conversations, praising and worshiping God, reading the Koran, the Bible and other holy books, while turning their backs on fellow human beings.

Of course, talking to God is important, but if they think praying five times a day or going to Church every Sunday, or even everyday, is enough to allow them climb the stairway to heaven, maybe they should think again.

By the way, if you find the opening of this piece offensive, please accept my apology. I don’t mean to upset anyone, let alone God, who must be sad enough seeing the violence and frequent religious conflicts within this so-called religious nation.

— T.Sima Gunawan

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Truth links directory for those seeking more information.

I hope this site will helpfull for anyone to seek truth information. I got it from mailinglist worldcitizen.

Truth links directory for those seeking more information.

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Australians advised to stop seeing Indonesia as “abnormal country”

05/27/08 21:05

Australians advised to stop seeing Indonesia as “abnormal country”


Brisbane (ANTARA News) – The Canberra-based Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) on Tuesday launched its latest research report urging the Australian public and policymakers to see democratic Indonesia as “a normal country”.

The report titled “Seeing Indonesia as a normal country: Implications for Australia ” contained the findings of research conducted by two noted Indonesian affairs analysts, Professor Andrew MacIntyre and Dr Douglas E Ramage.

MacIntyre and E.Ramage said Australia needs to understand the new stable landscape of Indonesia as a result of positive changes that it has made as a more democratic and pluralistic country.

“Thinking of Indonesia as a `normal` country allows us to see it through new eyes. It`s a useful analytical lens that lets us see some new opportunities and imperatives, ” they said.

Present-day Indonesia was a stable, competitive electoral democracy which was playing a constructive role in the regional and broader international community, they said.

In the 68-page report, they made a number of specific policy recommendations to Australia , such as a new approach to engagement with the military and a geographic shift within the country of its development assistance programs.

“We now know what Indonesia is probably going to look like over the next decade. In the absence of radical disjuncture, Indonesia will be a middle‚ÄĎincome developing country making slow headway in lifting living standards and consolidating democratic governance,” they said.

As citizens of a lively democracy, Indonesians shared important political values with Australians, MacIntyre and E.Ramage said.

“This is good news, but it`s also very probable that neither Indonesia`s circumstances nor its bilateral relationship with Australia will become dramatically better over the next five to ten years. Although it would be better if Indonesia`s economy grew faster than we see today, and its democratic consolidation and governance reform advanced more strongly, those things are unlikely to happen.”

The current trajectory was likely to be as good as it would get over the next decade or so, they said.

With regard to Indonesian leaders, MacIntyre and E.Ramage said incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s record of leadership remained the best and was “unlikely to be beaten” over the next decade though his achievements were under appreciated.

Despite the need for Australia to see Indonesia through new eyes, it would also remain important to recall old insights. One of the oldest remains that the Australian policymakers should grasp was “the fundamental pluralism of Indonesia “, they said.

The fundamental pluralism of Indonesia was even a very old truth whose age was much older than the Republic of Indonesia and even the Netherlands East Indies.

” Indonesia has always been a fundamentally pluralist society; its geography and history ensure this. There have been some terrible and deadly exceptions, but pluralism remains the bedrock fact of Indonesian society,” they said.

The argument of pluralistic Indonesia needs to be re-emphasized because of two main reasons. The first reason was that Australians have lost sight of it in recent years and suspected the emergence of militancy and zealotry in the archipelago and the second was the fact that the new democratic world of `normal Indonesia , its underlying social diversity would be “the foundation of pluralistic politics”, they said.

In response to the ASPI`s research report, spokesperson of the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, Dino Kusnadi, said it did not only raise a new hope for Australia to have a new lens in seeing Indonesia but it was also a confirmation for what Ambassador Hamzah Thayeb had consistently and repeatedly conveyed about the New Indonesia to the Australian public since he was posted in Canberra.

Prof.Andrew MacIntyre`s and Dr.Douglas E Ramage`s research findings had confirmed the truth of Ambassador Hamzah Thayeb`s consistent statements on vibrant and democratic Indonesia, he said.

Thus, in facing the New Indonesia, Australians need to update their ways and change their old yardstick, Kusnadi said.

Andrew MacIntyre is professor of political science and director of the Australian National University`s Crawford School of Economics and Government, while Dr. Douglas E Ramage is the Asia Foundation`s Country Representative in Indonesia.

ASPI is an independent, non-partisan policy institute. The Canberra-based research center was founded by the Australian government to provide fresh ideas on the country`s defense and strategic policy choices. (*)

COPYRIGHT © 2008

http://www.antara. co.id/en/ arc/2008/ 5/27/australians -advised- to-stop-seeing- indonesia- as-abnormal- country/

 

 

It’s improving, but there’s a long way to go

 

YESTERDAY’S release of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s report Seeing Indonesia as a Normal Country is timely, coming 10 years after the overthrow of the Suharto regime and just ahead of Kevin Rudd’s visit to Jakarta next month. By mapping the progress made over the past decade, the authors lay to rest some of the alarmist reporting about Indonesia as a breeding ground for Islamic fundamentalism and a nation struggling to control multiple separatist movements. But the title of the report is misleading. Though Indonesia is in no danger of becoming a failed state, it doesn’t serve anyone’s policy objectives to pretend that Indonesia should be seen as “normal” – whatever “normal” means in the context of international relations.

Indonesia has made remarkable progress towards becoming a more open, democratic and economically advanced society. The stifling uniformity of Suharto’s New Order has gone, but the same old elite still controls many levers of political and economic power. As the report acknowledges, Indonesia suffers from “globally chart-topping levels of corruption”. Judicial reform has been “often piecemeal and highly uneven”. Bowing to political pressure, courts often fail to uphold convictions of senior officials. Human rights violators often go unpunished. Rampant corruption, the weak application of the rule of law and regulatory uncertainty have been deterrents to foreign direct investment. Though inflows have picked up, Southeast Asia ‘s largest economy attracted only $US10.3billion in FDI last year. By comparison, China approved $US35billion in FDI in the first four months of this year. Half of Indonesia ‘s population lives on less than $US2 a day, with as many Indonesians living in poverty as the rest of East Asia put together, excluding China . In a country of more than 220 million people the number of taxpayers stands at a paltry 3.3 million. Despite forecasts of economic growth reaching 7 per cent this year, Indonesia still lags well behind the other tiger economies of Asia such as Vietnam , China and India . Unemployment hovers around 10 per cent. Government spending on health and education relative to GDP is lower than in most other Asian countries.

The debate over whether Indonesia should be seen as a normal country masks more important policy issues for Australia . Our shared concerns for maintaining security and promoting economic prosperity require Australia to maintain a close and constructive relationship with all levels of the Indonesian Government. The Rudd Government’s foreign policy priorities, particularly the new emphasis being given to China at the expense of our traditional allies such as Japan and India , have yet to be fully understood in the region. Engaging with Indonesia requires appreciating its complexities, sensitivities and vulnerabilities. Pretending things are normal risks misreading the inner workings of our most important neighbour.

http://www.theaustr alian.news. com.au/story/ 0,25197,23769458 -25209,00. html

 

Caliphate and sharia law

Mohamad Abdun Nasir ,  Jakarta   |  Sat, 05/10/2008 10:34 AM  |  Opinion

This newspaper ran an article by Muhammad Ismail Yusanto, a spokesperson of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), about sharia and the caliphate (April 23), as a reaction to an article written by Bramanto that appeared several days before. Such a discourse is very healthy. We can have different views and the readiness to appreciate other views — although probably we do not agree at all — and an exchange of views will be very helpful not just to promote Islam as a tolerant religion but also to enrich people’s horizons.

With this strong spirit to enrich our horizons, I am interested in joining the debate on the issues of sharia and the caliphate.

HTI offers two central discourses: the establishment of a caliphate and the application of sharia law. Both seem to be inseparable; without a caliphate, the sharia application will never be totally accomplished. Therefore, both are complementary to each other. These grand themes in fact constitute the global discourse applied by most Hizbut Tahrir movements in the world and have become the main idea that links their global ideological ground and commonality.

To the HTI, the caliphate constitutes a basic Islamic political institution that will unite all Muslims in the world regardless of their ethnicity, language or culture into a single community called the ummah, which is headed by a caliph. In this view, a caliph merely serves as a God’s representative on earth whose duties are to obey God’s commands and realize His rules.

Consequently, it denies modern secular political thoughts such as democracy and nationalism. Democracy is seen to be contrary to God’s sole sovereignty. Moreover, inconsistencies and double standards in the realization of democracy have strengthened Islamists’ criticism of it. Similarly, nationalism, as a logical consequence of the emergence of nation-states, is rejected because it is a Western invention contrary to the concept of ummah.

However, if we closely examine politics in Islam, it is obvious that there is no such strict concept of political Islam like a caliphate. It is a historical creation rather than a normative concept. The power transformation from the Prophet to the subsequent four caliphs took place in different ways.

Abu Bakar became the first caliph through a public pledge of allegiance by the majority of Muslims.

Umar, the second caliph, was elected by a team comprising seven members. While Usman and Ali, the third and the fourth caliphs, reigned after being preceded by political chaos. In this period, a caliph was strictly appointed through a familial lineage. Following this pattern, there is no fixed political system in Islam. It was during the Muslim empires that the concept of caliphate took its firmest definition, formulated through the writings and work of Muslim scholars and jurists who served for the caliph.

As for sharia, with the open era and democratization in Indonesia after reformasi, several Muslim political parties and organizations wish to retrieve the seven lost sharia words — the obligation to implement sharia for Muslims — once incorporated in the Constitution but later deleted.

Although this effort has never been successful in the national context due to lack of a national consensus and disagreement among Muslims themselves, it works on provincial and regional levels.

Some local governments have successfully imposed sharia law in regional ordinances and bylaws. Despite its blurry and weak conception, sharia does apply in certain provinces and regencies, like Cianjur, Tasikmalaya and Garut in West Java and in Bulukumba, South Sulawesi. Each sharia ordinance has addressed different legal issues in different regions, and thus reflects the disparity and partiality of the sharia legal conception.

This has become a major critique, that the sharia application lacks fundamental conception and articulation and thus is ineffective. This reflects more the vested interests and ambitions of politicians rather than idealism. Political parties and Islamic organizations that support this issue are a minority.

Islam in Indonesia is not monolithic, but pluralistic. It consists of diverse Islamic organizations, political affiliations, languages and ethnic-cultural identities. The majority of Muslims represented by the two largest Muslim organizations in the country, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, which decline the idea of an Islamic state, remain moderate. This suggests that the majority of Muslims remain obedient to “Indonesia’s diversity in unity” and are attempting to develop Islam in this pluralistic manner. Both sharia and the caliphate thus appear to be less than popular to the Muslim majority.

The writer is a lecturer at Mataram State Institute for Islamic Studies and a Fulbright scholar who is pursuing his PhD in religion at Emory University, Atlanta. He can be reached at sier1975@yahoo.com

source: www.thejakartapost.com

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

Indonesian support Obama

I see that many people of Indonesia support Obama in USA  election. Obama has ever lived in Indoneisa. He knows much about Indonesia. He has ever educated in Jakarta. He experienced the condition of pluralism in Indonesia.

I think that Obama is a symbol of democratic, symbol of pluralism and also the symbol of freedom for some of Indonesian. People of Indonesia hope that Obama will build a better relationship between Indonesia and USA in future.

But now, a hope from Indonesia is difficult to realise. The reality in USA is different. I do not what’s american people think about this dream.