Sunday, November 05, 2006

NU wants Poso secure before key meeting

Frans Seda and Abu Bakr Ba'asyir in Yogya

(Jakarta Post) Hasyim Muzadi, chairman of the country's largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), called on the authorities to expel newcomers believed to be instigating fresh violence in Poso, Central Sulawesi, ahead of a planned reconciliation meeting among the people.

Hasyim presented his proposal during a meeting Saturday with Vice President Jusuf Kalla at the latter's residence in Central Jakarta.

"It turns out that those who instigated violence (in Poso) were people coming from other areas. Those who are proven (to be involved in violence) must be relocated; don't consider their religion," Hasyim said.

Finally, someone is listening to what I've been screaming about since Rev. Irianto's assassination and doing something about it. The Muslim militants from outside must be expelled and measures taken to prevent others from coming.

He explained that Muslim and Christian leaders in Poso were expected to meet early in December to discuss ways to end the prolonged bloody conflict.

"Before that (meeting), the security situation must be strengthened," he was quoted by news portal as saying.

After some time of peace, a new series of murders and violence hit Poso following the Sept. 22 execution of three Christians charged with masterminding a massacre in a Muslim village in 2000.

The day after the execution, two Muslims were kidnapped and murdered. Then, a Christian minister was shot dead while he was shopping with his wife in Palu on Oct. 16. And on Oct. 22, police shot and killed a Muslim man and a toddler during crossfire in a raid on a suspected terrorist hideout.

Where is the mention of 300 armed militants attacking police and the police killing the man while shooting back in self-protection? The two Muslim men weren't kidnapped but ran a roadblock, endangering those at the roadblock and an angry crowd reacted by killing the two men.

Police have arrested more than a dozen Muslims belonging to militant groups in the region suspected of instigating violence, and are still hunting down a number of others.

Muslims are dissatisfied with the police and have demanded that they be withdrawn from Poso. The government responded by sending in troops to reinforce security.

The Muslims that are dissatisfied are local militants from Poso Islamic Struggled Brotherhood Forum and Islamic Defenders Front. These men do not represent local Muslim population in general. Extra security is needed to contain these militants.

Meanwhile in Yogyakarta, Catholic and Buddhist leaders met with leaders of Islamic hard-line group Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI) to discuss efforts to prevent further conflicts among different faiths, including those in Poso.

Attending the meeting were Catholic figure and former finance minister Frans Seda, Catholic intellectual Chris Siner Key Timu and Buddhist leader Hartono Yusuf.

MMI leaders at the meeting included Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, who was jailed for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings, chairman Irfan S Awas, secretary-general Sobbarin Syakur and spokesman Fauzan al Anshari.

The meeting produced a joint communique, with each party committing to maintaining peace and security, upholding truth and justice and pursuing prosperity for the people.

"We also agree that the differences among us will not be exploited and manipulated by provocateurs who pit followers of different religions against one another for their own political gains," Fuazan said.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Frans Seda said that the meeting aimed to reduce conflicts between religious groups, including those in Poso.

"We also discussed the Muslims' aspiration to adopt sharia. Pak Ba'asyir said that Muslims would not force their will against non-Muslims with regards to sharia," Seda said.

Funny, Ba'asyir also said that formalization of Shariah law was needed inside the country's organization to help the struggle of the people of Islam. Saying that Muslims would not force their will against non-Muslims is a lie. Shariah law requires dhimmitude or infidel subservience to Islam. Equal rights are denied and right to worship and practice one's religion becomes severely restricted to the point of outlawing religious material outside of Islam (i.e. no bibles allowed in Saudi Arabia). Luckily, the majority of Muslims are more liberal in thinking and do not want the restrective Shariah law imposed which would outlaw their system of Islamic belief. Most Muslims in Indonesia are seen as heretics by Muslims in the Middle East because of the incorporation of mysticism and spiritualism in Indonesian Islam. Only a small percentage of Muslims in Indonesia follow strict Wahabist and similar forms of Islam.

It is not clear, however, why Seda and other Catholic and Buddhist leaders sought a meeting with Ba'asyir and MMI leaders.

During the meeting MMI leaders also expressed their opposition to the planned visit of U.S. President George W. Bush to Indonesia next month.

Bush is scheduled to visit Indonesia after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Vietnam on Nov. 18. This will be his second trip to Indonesia after he met President Megawati Soekarnoputri and Muslim leaders in Bali in 2003.

In Jakarta, a group of Muslims hard-liners, led by Hizbut Tahrir and the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), staged a protest outside the U.S. Embassy to protest the visit. The rally ended peacefully.

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