is this they called democratic moderate Indonesia?
JAKARTA — Acts of violence against minority faith communities in Indonesia are rising, casting doubt on the nation’s tolerant image and what some have seen as proof that Islam and democracy can coexist. Analysts say violence is leading the country down a dangerous path.
In Madura, East Java, a local sports hall that is typically the venue for noisy afternoon badminton matches has for two months been a safe house for Shi’ite Muslims.
Umi Hani was among those who fled her home after a 500-strong Sunni mob attacked her village – torching houses and killing two Shi’ite members in her community.
“They want to burn our houses and kill us,” the 31-year-old said as she nursed one of her four children on her hip.
That was in August. Today Umi, and 200 other Shi’ite Muslims, are still in the sports hall – afraid to return home, to work and send their children back to school.
To appease local tensions the government has proposed relocating the entire Shi’ite community. But for Indonesia’s Ahmadiyah, a minority Muslim sect, it is no solution.
Persecuted also for their beliefs, some Ahmadis on the island of Lombok have lived under refugee-like conditions in local town halls for more than a decade.
Fathan Harun, the spokesperson for Indonesia’s coordinating justice ministry, says the government is trying a different approach to diffuse current religious tensions.
“The Shi’ite community in Madura rejected the relocation plans so we are coming up with alternatives,” he said. “We are trying to educate people in the villages about religious intolerance and to teach people that it is wrong to discriminate against the Shi’ites and people of minority faiths.”
Religious tolerance is embedded in Indonesia’s constitution, but it still is not embraced by many. The world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation is home to some three million Shi’ite Muslims.
A nationwide poll by Indonesia Survey Circle this week indicates 61 percent of Indonesians with a low level of education say they are not comfortable living next door to Shi’ite Muslims. Sixty-three percent said the same of the Ahmadis.
But it is not only followers of minority Islamic faiths that face discrimination.
Despite a Supreme Court ruling, a Christian congregation in Bogor, West Java, has, for years, been forced to pray on the sidewalk after local authorities sealed off their church.
In the past week alone, nine churches and six Buddhist temples were closed in the Sharia-ruled province of Aceh.
Under the leadership of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, almost 80 churches have been closed across the country – 10 times more than under former dictator Suharto.
Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch says faith-based vitriol is undeniably on the rise and the state is helping to enforce it.
Asked if Indonesia can legitimately claim it is a pluralistic and tolerant nation anymore, Harsono was doubtful.
“No, not at all, because of at least three phenomena,” he explained. “One, the government and police are helping, either actively or passively to inflame this religious intolerance and there is a lot of evidence, in Madura, against Christian churches, and against Ahmadiyah. The second there is more and more legal frameworks against the minorities.”
Harsono cites the blasphemy law, the anti-Ahmadiyah decree and more than 100 discriminatory regional by-laws as examples of how the state is undermining the rights of minorities. He also says that government institutions that discriminate are not being admonished.
“They include the ministry of religious affairs, the Indonesian Ulema council,” he said. “And last but not the least the religious harmony forum, which is in fact discriminating against minorities in setting up houses of worship.”
With a coalition including Islamic-based parties, the president has been unwilling to crackdown on religious violence and discrimination.
Harsono worries that if things do not improve, Indonesia could head down the same road as Pakistan and Afghanistan, where religiously motivated violence is almost routine.
For Umi, 31, it is Indonesian attitudes that need to change, because she says she will never convert to a different faith out of fear.
another day another Muslim riot
Scores of devout Muslim youths sowed panic in Dakar on Monday as they smashed up dozens of cars in protest against the detention of a powerful religious leader or marabout.
Police fired teargas to break up the protesters who moved through the capital smashing the windows of parked cars as well as those driving past using rocks, sticks and other objects found on the road.
The protesters shouted “Free Bethio” in reference to Cheikh Bethio Thioune, a senior leader of the Mourides, Senegal’s richest and most powerful Muslim brotherhood.
Street traders hastily swept up their wares and ran off as the angry protesters swarmed Independence Square in the heart of the capital, causing chaos as cars reversed and swerved to avoid projectiles.
“We have counted more than 123 ransacked vehicles, here in central Dakar,” Interior Minister Mbaye Ndiaye told the RTS1 television network.
Protesters also gathered in front of the Rebeuss prison where the marabout was recently transferred after initially being held in Thies, 70 kilometres (40 miles) from the capital.
In Paris some 40 people gathered in front of the Senegalese embassy to protest their spiritual leader’s detention, attempting to force entry to the building and break windows, according to an embassy source.
The tyres of diplomatic vehicles parked in front of the building were punctured by the protesters.
The government warned later Monday that measures had been adopted to ensure no such violence could be repeated and accused “dark forces” of seeking to destabilise the country.
“Faced with such serious acts of violence and vandalism, the government is determined to carry out its mission to protect the people,” government spokesman Serigne Mbaye Thiam said in a statement.
“Measures have been taken and firm instructions given to the police forces to stop any disruption of public order,” he added.
Thioune was arrested on April 23 after the death of two of his disciples during a brawl at his house the previous evening. Their bodies were found buried in the nearby bush.
He was charged with complicity to murder along with several of his followers.
Thioune’s followers, who have protested in recent days in the capital, were also implicated in violent protests during the country’s electoral campaign, when they supported former president Abdoulaye Wade.
Senegal is a 95 percent Muslim nation whose citizens follow one of four Sufi brotherhoods. The west African nation has a reputation for religious tolerance.
The Racist Brothers aka WB continuing thier project of remaking “All you need is kill” with no Japanese actors in sight
Hatfields & McCoys actor Bill Paxton is in negotiations to join Tom Cruise in Warner Bros.’ upcoming adaptation of the sci-fi graphic novel All You Need Is Kill, which will be directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity). Read on for more details.
Paul Romano – 9/18/2012
Bill Paxton recently wrapped production on Universal Pictures’ graphic novel adaptation 2 Guns, but now he’s eying another comic book based film. Variety reports that Hatfields & McCoys actor Bill Paxton is in negotiations for a key role in Warner Bros.’ upcoming graphic novel adaptation All You Need Is Kill, which has Tom Cruise attached to star and Doug Liman set to direct. Emily Blunt and Charlotte Riley are also starring in the science fiction film. The story follows a soldier (played by Cruise) reliving his last day in a war against aliens over and over again. According to the site, Paxton is playing the tough leader of Cruise’s platoon. The film is expected to begin production in London later this fall.
No release date for All You Need Is Kill has been announced yet, but Warner Bros. should (hopefully) announce one in the near future. Below is a plot summary of the graphic novel:
There’s one thing worse than dying. It’s coming back to do it again and again… When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many raw recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to find himself reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On the 158th iteration though, he sees something different, something out of place: the female soldier known as the Bitch of War. Is the Bitch the key to Keiji’s escape, or to his final death?