Selama pertemuan Kabinet Kamis, Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono menginstruksikan para menteri untuk mengadakan pembicaraan dengan para pemimpin agama, aktivis hak asasi manusia dan Ahmadiyah untuk menemukan solusi terbaik untuk mengakhiri penganiayaan berulang atas kelompok minoritas.
SBY suggests dialogue for Ahmadiyah solution
Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 02/18/2011 11:10 AM | Headlines
The country is deeply divided over the issue of the Ahmadiyah, with one side insisting that it be declared a religion separate from Islam and the other saying that the Constitution stipulates that its followers have the right to call themselves Muslims.
During a Cabinet meeting Thursday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono instructed his ministers to hold talks with religious leaders, human rights activists and the Ahmadis to find the best solution to end the recurring persecution of the minority group.
The Ahmadiyah, whose teachings are considered heretical and blasphemous against Islam by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), has been a target of mob attacks in recent years. The latest incident in Banten left three Ahmadis dead.
The government has yet to find a solution beyond reviewing the 2008 joint ministerial decree on the Ahmadiyah, which critics say is often used to justify violence against the religious sect.
The nation remains deeply divided over the sensitive issue.
MUI deputy chairman Amidhan said his office agreed to exclude Ahmadiyah from Islam and allow them to exist as a new religion. “This is actually an internal problem of Muslims in Indonesia. This is not a matter of religious tolerance,” Amidhan said.
“The Ahmadis claim to believe in Islam but they do not follow its teaching,” he said, adding that for that reason it must abandon Islam and form a new religion.
“They are like a thorn in the flesh. If they do not do it, I’d say conflict will break out,” he said.
In Pakistan, the government officially declared the Ahmadiyah to be non-Muslims, but rights activists have denounced such a move.
Setara Institute human rights watch director Hendardi said that asking the Ahmadis to form a new religion was against their rights and no guarantee that they would be free from persecution.
“The policy of the Pakistani government is definitely not a good example as it does not deter violence against the group,” he said, recalling that the 2010 extremist attack against two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore took the lives of 93 congregation members.
The best solution, he said, was for the government to pass a law upholding religious freedom. “If any members of different faiths were involved in a conflict, they would be subject to criminal penalties.”
Law and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar said the government would discuss the possibility of requiring the Ahmadis to declare themselves to be non-Muslims.
The chairman of Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party, Anas Urbaningrum, said that if the government could clarify the status of the Ahmadiyah by declaring it a new religion, it would create a more positive perspective toward the sect.
“If we declare Ahmadiyah a ‘religion of Ahmadiyah’ and not Islam, then people would apply the principle of ‘lakum dinukum waliyadin’ [to you your religion and to me mine]. It would create mutual respect.”
University of Indonesia sociology professor Imam Prasodjo said it was too soon to make a decision on whether to disband or to declare Ahmadiyah a new religion. “It would be unwise to decide now,” Imam said.
“I’d say the best strategy is to facilitate dialogue between Ahmadiyah and Muslims.”