Indonesia: Inter Faith Rally Denounces Terrorism in Jakarta
Amina Qamar, Takeshi Hasegawa and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Takfiri Sunni Islamists who attacked people in Jakarta had hoped to sow the seeds of disunity in Indonesia. Yet Indonesia isn’t fickle because indigenous Sunni Islam, in all its diversity, is a million miles away from the Salafi Takfiri versions being espoused in parts of the Gulf. Therefore, people from various faith and philosophical angles rallied in Jakarta in order to show the spirit of unity and not separation.
Buddhist, Catholic, Confucian, Hindu, Taoist and Protestant leaders in the capital of this nation joined Indonesian government officials and representatives from the Muslim community. This show of solidarity says much about indigenous Sunni Islam that is based on very different themes, in comparison with militant Islam emanating from nations like Saudi Arabia.
Of course, Indonesia, like all major multi-ethnic and multi-religious nations throughout the region, is blighted by various tensions in parts of the nation. Similarly, the second most powerful faith in this nation is Christianity and tensions do persist in Aceh. However, the religious angle is based on internal factors in Aceh and different thought patterns that also lead to tensions with central forces. Likewise, the minority Ahmadiyya Muslim community does suffer from bouts of religious persecution just like in Pakistan and state discrimination.
Yet, unlike southern Thailand or the Philippines that are blighted by major religious tensions in parts of both nations, the last ten years have been relatively stable in Indonesia. Indeed, some of the biggest Christian churches in Asia can be found in the environment of Jakarta and in other parts of this nation. Also, the Christian faith is growing in Indonesia – just like Islam is growing in the United Kingdom – because individuals are allowed to convert to other faiths, without the fear of state sanctioned persecution (Aceh is an anomaly and is ruled by Sharia unlike the rest of Indonesia).
The Minister of Defense, Ryamizard Ryacudu, stated at the rally “Every religion teaches the fundamental principle of love.” He further said “Whether Indonesia develops or collapses, this depends on us, not on others. Every act of terror goes against the true values of every faith and for this reason we reject them.”
With over ten thousand people listening from all walks of life in Jakarta, the minister also expressed strongly “radicalism is our common enemy.” These words hit a right chord because all forms of radicalism are a threat to Indonesia irrespective if ideological, ethnic based or religious militancy.
Meanwhile, arrests are still ongoing since the terrorist attack that took place last week. Not surprisingly, while ISIS (Islamic State – ISIS) is mentioned internationally in the media, closer to home counter-terrorist experts are focused on the possible role of Jemaah Islamiyah (J.I.). Therefore, the role linking the remnants of J.I., ISIS and new Sunni Takfiri forces based on internal convulsions is being monitored in order to increase the fight against terrorism.
The Jakarta Post reports “In recent years, Indonesian counterterrorism forces successfully stamped out the extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah that was responsible for several attacks, including the 2002 bombings of bars in Bali which killed 202 people, as well as two hotel bombings in Jakarta in 2009 that killed seven people.”
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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