Monday, August 29, 2005

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IN INDONESIA
That fountain of bravery, well spring of truth, handful of hope...Ok Just kidding. The local English Rag " the Jakarta Post" is a must read for anyone traveling through SE Asia. Never a day goes by without us choking and wiping away tears of .......

today's (29 Aug 05) gem, page two "Govt won't prosecute Muslim hard liners over church closures" Minister for Religious Affairs M.Maftuh Basyuni said "We will do nothing. We will only clarify there were no church closures" he went onto say the groups closed down illegal congregations (sic) set up in residential areas because they had " created anxiety among the local residents"

Wow, as visitors to this country there seems so much wrong here its hard to know where to start.

As we continue down the streets of Jakarta, watching other groups of thugs extort money from the "pedicab drivers" and "bemo" drivers the following questions spring to mind:

1. What due process was followed before these so called "illegal congregations" were shut down?
2. Who appointed the Anti Apostasy Movement Alliance legal law enforcers and who is responsible for their actions?
3. What "local residents" complained and to which government department?
4. If the Indonesian Constitution guarantees religious freedom then is the forcible prevention of people performing their religious obligations treason?
5. What is the role of the police in this country?

Of course then there is our driver Wayan, a Hindu living and working in Jakarta. We asked him if the "Call to prayer" played over loud speakers five times a day every day for the Muslim faithful made him feel anxious? He answered "of course, its a lot worse now than in the past, lots of orang gila now" Would he complain and ask to have the Mosques crediting checked? Wayan answered "Kamu Gila (You Crazy)!"

1 comment:

johnorford said...

i am not a lawyer, but it seems that if the authorities stand by, then trashing places of minority worship is more or less legal by default now.

I have visited a few small "churches" (basically people give over most of their homes) in poor areas of jakarta.

i still can't get over how brave and selfless those christians are (and i am sure other minorites) - truly awe-inspiring.

i am actually an atheist, but nevertheless was completely bowled over.