Thursday, October 19, 2006

Indonesia vows to remain religiously pluralistic

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia stands by religious pluralism, and radical Islamists are a small minority in the world's most populous Muslim nation, presidential spokesman and adviser Andi Mallarangeng said on Wednesday.

Hmmm.....10% of Indonesians think that the Bali bombings by Jemaah Islamiyah were justified and 1 in 5 Indonesains supports JI. I think that number of radical Islamists might be small but there is definitely support for their actions.

In recent years Indonesia has suffered from a series of deadly attacks on Western targets blamed on Islamic militants, while an increasing number of local and regional rules and regulations have been passed that are in line with Sharia, or Islamic law.
But Mallarangeng, speaking to foreign correspondents and diplomats on a panel about President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's first two years in office, said most Indonesian Muslims rejected the more extreme versions of the faith.
"Indonesian Islam is not like that," he said.
He also said election trends as well as recent polls suggest support for political parties who want to make Indonesia an Islamic state is dropping.

But support for radicalism is increasing. The polls show this evidence.

As far as Yudhoyono's government is concerned, Mallarangeng said: "Pancasila is final in Indonesia as the state foundation ... those people just need to face it."
Propounded as the country's basic political philosophy in 1945 by Indonesian founding father Sukarno, Pancasila includes faith in God, but tolerance of different religions.
Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country, with 220 million people, 85 percent of whom follow Islam.
However, secular parties have a majority in Indonesia's parliament, and a poll released last Sunday supported Mallarangeng's argument that backing for their Islamist competitors is decreasing.


But the same poll showed around one Indonesian Muslim in 10 endorsed jihad, or holy struggle, violence

and justified bombing attacks on Indonesia's tourist island of Bali, where 202 people were killed in blasts three years ago attributed to the militant Jemaah Islamiah network.
Mallarangeng said Yudhoyono's government was doing all it could to go after violent Islamists.
"I think our record is good. We fight them, we chase them, we destroy their cells, we put them in jail and we sentence them to death," he said.


Sentencing and executing are two different things. Why haven't the terrorists been executed?


In the latest legal development, prosecutors in the Central Java capital of Semarang on Wednesday demanded the death sentence for Islamic militant Subur Sugiyarto, who is on trial for possession of explosives and firearms, the state's Antara news agency reported.
The prosecutors also said Sugiyarto was an associate of fugitive bombing suspect Noordin Top.
Three men convicted of terrorism over the 2002 Bali bombings are already on death row, although they have yet to be executed and are appealing their sentences.
On the issue of the increasing number of regional and local regulations in line with Islamic law, Mallarangeng said generally they did not explicitly refer to Sharia, but the central government was reviewing statutes to see if they violated national law and the constitution.
He also said individuals and private groups were free to challenge such laws in court themselves
.

Islamic laws are being slipped in by stealth and the government is slow to respond to these violations of the constitution and Pancasila. Why is that? These rogue mayors and governors need to be reprimanded and incarcerated for their actions.

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