Abdurrahman Ayyub, the former Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leader for Australia, New Zealand and Papua told us on Sunday (April 5) that websites containing hateful speech might not directly impact Indonesia today, but it would certainly haunt us in the future. If the content of a website threatens national security, the content/website has to be blocked. Such is the argument for censorship. [Continue reading]
Wardah is one of Indonesia’s home-grown cosmetics brands. Many believe them to be a new player in the industry, but Wardah has in fact been producing and distributing cosmetic products since 1995. It’s thus interesting that Wardah has only become somewhat of a household brand in recent years. [Continue reading]
More surprising news came from Turkey. Turkish authorities reportedly arrested 16 Indonesian citizens in the city of Gaziantep while the latter were trying to cross the border between Turkey and Syria. According to the jawapos.com, the Turkish authorities communicated this matter after the disappearance of 16 Indonesian citizens at the Ataturk International airport earlier this month. [Continue reading]
On Monday (Jan. 19), the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) released a report on the “Support for Islamic State in Indonesian Prisons”. According to the report, the Indonesian Islamic State supporters are a minority in the group of convicted terrorists in Indonesian prisons.The prison staff members have successfully limited the spread of hardline ideology under their watch. But an obstacle remains, a convicted terrorist could be encouraged to join IS if his family is tangled up in financial problems. [Continue reading]
Businessman Hashim Djojohadikusumo, the co-founder of the deputy chairman of Gerindra, are two of the closest people to Prabowo Subianto, the presidential candidate from Gerindra. Hashim is a Protestant Christian, while Fadli Zon is a Muslim. On the subject of religious intolerance, who would Prabowo listen to the most? [continue reading]
“There is freedom of religion in this country, but unfortunately religious freedom tends to be a source of conflict among Indonesia’s religious groups,” Dawam Rahardjo says.
Scholar Dawam Rahardjo won the 2013 Yap Thiam Hien Award for championing the rights of Indonesia’s religious minorities. An economist by training, Dawam headed the All-Indonesia Association of Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI) from 1995 to 2000, and currently leads the Institute of Religious and Philosophical Studies (LSAF).
In an interview with Khabar Southeast Asia, Dawam recalls challenges he has faced as an advocate of tolerance, and shares his thoughts about religious freedom.
Khabar: What does freedom of religion mean to you?
Dawam: Equality and tolerance are two main keys to religious freedom. Indonesia is more than 80% Muslim but it has diverse religions and beliefs. This is captured in its constitution, “believe in the divinity of God”.
There is freedom of religion in this country, but unfortunately religious freedom tends to be a source of conflict among Indonesia’s religious groups.
Khabar: If freedom of religion exists in Indonesia, why is there religious conflict?
Dawam: It is because of the lack of communication between the religious groups.
There is a separation between them that often leads to misunderstandings, so it is important to build an open, respectful dialogue. That is what I have been fighting for all this time, by myself or through my organisation.
However … my outspoken approach has drawn threats and intimidation. I was fired from Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organisation, for defending the Ahmadiyah group, whose practices were denounced in 2006 as deviant from Islam.
Khabar: Recently, religious conflict tends to happen in Java. Why?
Dawam: Religious conflict in West Java targeted the Ahmadiyah group while the religious conflict in East Java has targeted the Shia group the past few years. Saudi Arabia, which is dominated by Sunni Islam, is funding a number of local organisations to influence the Muslim community and limit the ability of both Shia and Ahmadiyah to grow.
The Indonesian government is not brave enough to stop those interventions because Indonesia is dependent upon Saudi Arabia for the Hajj to Mecca and the employment of Indonesian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.
Khabar: What does the world need to know about Islam in Indonesia?
Dawam: There are many interpretations of Islam, ranging from fundamentalism and conservatism to liberal and traditional. Islam in Indonesia is not radical.
The fundamentalist group is in the minority, but they are brazen enough to speak out with their actions. However, sometimes we have to wonder whether they understand what they are doing, because some of them are being paid to join demonstrations, and they do not understand why they are there.
Khabar: What is the root of Indonesian radicalism?
Dawam: Radicalism is triggered by poverty. Fundamentalist groups allegedly pay poor people to perpetrate religious attacks to alter public perception.
Those poor people do not support the issue being protested; they just care about being paid. If the economic problem were fixed, the growth of radicalism would slow down or even stop. But that is a big homework assignment for the government.
Job tittle : Head of National Agency for Combating Terrorism (BNPT)
Place of Birth : Buton, Southeast Sulawesi
Date of Birth : 2 June 1948
Related article about Ansyaad Mbai:
Alias : Umar Patek alias Umar, Abu Syekh, Arsalan, Abdul Karim, Umar Arab, Umar Syekh, Zacky dan Anis Alawi Jafar.
Date of birth : 20 Juli 1970
Place of birth : Pemalang, East Java
Wife : Fatimah Azzahra binti Husein Luceno alias Ruqoyah
Case : 2002 Bali Bomb
Summary : Umar Patek was found guilty of murder and bomb-making in connection with the Bali attacks, which killed more than 200 people, mostly foreigners. West Jakarta District Court has convicted a militant of making explosives used in the deadly 2002 Bali bombings and sentenced him to 20 years in jail in 2012.
On March 2014, Umar Patek was relocated from the Brimob prison in Kelapa Dua, Depok, West Java to Porong Penitentiary in Sidoarjo, East Java. The relocation was due to the police’s efforts to uncover a regional terrorism network.
Related article about Umar Patek:
- Witnesses: Loopholes in system helped Patek flee
- Patek: Bali bombings were “against my conscience”
- Prosecutors seek life sentence for remorseful Patek
- Witness: Patek said terror attacks were against Islam
- Judge: Patek can help deter youth from radical extremism
- Patek lawyers: client didn’t know what bombs were for
- Money for Bali bombing came from bin Laden, witnesses say
- Bali suspect apologises to victims, says bombings were wrong
- Muslim leader: terrorists must stop undermining Islam’s image
Victims of terrorism gathered on Sunday (September 8th) to commemorate a tragic episode in Jakarta’s recent history – namely, the 9th anniversary of the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing, which killed nine people and wounded at least 150 others.
“Many people might have forgotten [about the incident]. But I think it is important to make them aware that the terrorists’ victims do exist, and we are still struggling with the aftermath of the attacks,” said Mulyono Sutrisman, chairman of the Kuningan Forum, an association of people who have been affected by extremist violence.
Such atrocities must not happen again, he said at the event, which was sponsored by Alliance for Peaceful Indonesia (AIDA)
Sudirman Abdul Talib, 31, is a former security guard at the embassy. He lost his left eye in the attack and suffers from a permanent disability affecting both of his hands.
“As victims, we want to be involved in the government’s deradicalisation programme, in eliminating terrorism and preventing the growth of violent extremism in Indonesia,” Sudirman told Khabar Southeast Asia.
He believes that if all victims are united against terrorism and promote peace, it will make a difference in the future.
“We just want to be involved in making Indonesia more peaceful,” he added.
Sudirman, who now works as an administrative staff member for the security guard department, says he does not want to become a prisoner of the trauma he experienced. He believes his story can be used to change the minds of those who have been misled by violent and extremist groups.
“I have met a few former convicted terrorists. I told them about the impact of the terrorism. They were shocked and cried. They regretted their actions and apologised,” Sudirman said. “It is clear to see that sharing and explaining the impact of terrorism on the victims is an effective method to convince them [terrorists] to stop their actions.”
A crucial role in combating extremist notions
The director of AIDA, Hasibullah Satrawi, said that Indonesia has the potential to win the battle against terrorism – not only because of law enforcement efforts, but also because victims of terrorism have been willing to join in efforts to combat it.
“The victims play a strategic role in bringing Indonesia to a more peaceful place,” he said. Therefore, it is very important to empower the victims – whether mentally, physically, or financially.”
Al Chaidar, a terrorism analyst, agreed that those affected by violence have great potential to combat recruitment by extremist groups. He agreed that the government should involve victims of terrorist activity in deradicalisation programmes.
“By meeting and seeing the victims, the terrorists would consider the actions that they are going to take because they have seen the impact of their attacks,” he added.
Sudirman, the wounded security guard, says he is troubled that his hometown of Bima, in West Nusa Tenggara, is being appropriated by terrorists as a base for planning their attacks. In 2011, police raided the local Umar bin Khattab Muslib Boarding School, where they found bomb-making materials as well as weapons and jihadist videos.
“Bima is a very religious place,” Sudirman said. Muslims pray five times a day and have strong faith. As far as I know, they are not radical people. They need moderate religious leaders to tell them that Islam is actually a religion of peace,” he said.
Those vulnerable to the message of radical terrorists need to be aware of the consequences of violence, he reiterated. “They need to meet people just like us to show them the impact of terrorist acts. It is also hurting Muslims as well,” Sudirman said.
Despite the 2005 peace pact that ended 30 years of bloody conflict in Aceh, life in the province has not improved for women and children since then.
That was the stark message conveyed by a panel of women activists from Indonesia’s westernmost province, who were in Jakarta June 4th to present findings on violence against women in Aceh from 2011-2012.
During that time, there were 1,060 cases of violence against women, according to the 231 Monitoring Network, a coalition of women’s rights groups based in Aceh.
The name refers to Article 231, on women empowerment and child protection, of Law No. 11 2006, which allowed Aceh to implement Sharia Law under its special autonomy status.
The coalition argues that women have been victimised, not protected, as a result of the imposition of Sharia law in Aceh. They face difficulty accessing justice, stigmatisation, intimidation and violence.
The activists stressed, however, that they are not against Sharia itself. It is the way it is being implemented that is raising questions.
“The implementation of Sharia Law should be able to restore proper justice and improve social welfare to its citizens, which we did not get during the conflict,” Samsidar, an activist from the Aceh Women’s Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Apik Aceh), told Khabar Southeast Asia.
“On top of that, it should protect women and children in Aceh,” she added.
Cruel and humiliating punishments
The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan), which hosted the gathering, has identified 282 regional regulations (Perda) that discriminate against women in various parts of Indonesia.
In Aceh, Komnas Perempuan has identified 15 such regulations. Violating them can lead to cruel and humiliating punishments such as beatings, canings, being bathed in sewage water, and forced marriages, the group said.
“Many regulations are established to promote religious values and morality. But their implementation tends to violate human rights which are protected by the Indonesian Constitution,” Komnas Perempuan Commissioner Andy Yentriyani said.
Aziana Rambe, the secretary general of Women Volunteers for Humanity (RPuK), told reporters that some regulations merely serve to distract local people from more important issues.
A new bylaw forbidding tight outfits for women in Meulaboh, West Aceh, diverts attention from the government’s failure to provide housing for 2004 tsunami victims in Meulaboh, she charged.
If the local government were properly implementing Sharia Law, “they would focus on how to improve Islamic public service and social welfare for Aceh citizens,” Aziana argued.
She said they would neither focus on the women’s outfits nor women’s dancing.
Pro-democracy and pro-Islam
In Aceh, those who criticise authorities are quickly labeled anti-Sharia or anti-Islam. The activists, however, say that is not true.
“As Acehnese, why would we speak something bad about Aceh and still want to return to Aceh at the end of the day?” Norma Manalu, an activist from the Women’s Shura Hall of Aceh (BSUIA), told the forum.
“We want Aceh to be safe. We want to go home without violence or discrimination anymore. We just want to live peacefully with our families in Aceh,” she explained in tears.
“We are not against the government. But if something is wrong, we should tell the government and provide them with some inputs,” said Suraiya Khamauzaman, founder of the Flower Aceh Foundation. “It is very important for the government and civil society to work together to meet our goal in eradicating discrimination against women and also improving social welfare.”
The women made it clear they embrace both democracy and Islam. “Indonesia is a democratic country, and Aceh is part of Indonesia. Therefore, we believe that there is a democratic space in Aceh as well,” Samsidar said.
“Even though there are many risks ahead of us, we want to use our right as Indonesian citizens to make our voices heard. It needs to be understood that Islam is a religion of justice, a religion of love, and cares about other people. Islam is a religion of equality and peace,” she added.