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Indonesia: Mistreatment of Shiite Muslims

The violence against the Shiite community is just one example of persecution against minority religious groups under the pretext of denouncing religious blasphemy in the country. 

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Jakarta Post | Editorial
By Primastuti Handayani | November 25 2012

Worse of the worst

It is shocking and humiliating to witness members of the House of Representatives (DPR) — who we elected three years ago — mistreat the minority Shiite Muslim community living in Sampang, Madura, during a hearing at the House building on Thursday.

The Shia — who took refuge after majority Sunnis burned down their houses and killed two members of the sect in August — had expected the lawmakers to offer a solution to their fight against the local government’s decision to stop supplying them with food and water.

Instead of receiving a helping hand, the Shia were bullied by a number of lawmakers, with one of them attributing the frequent clashes between Shia and Sunni communities on the East Java island to the “ill-temper” characteristic of the Madurese.

Rukmini Buchori of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) even reminded the Shia that the Madurese had once been involved in a prolonged violent conflict with the indigenous Dayak in Sampit in Central Kalimantan and in Sambas, West Kalimantan. She went on to blame the Shia followers’ jobs as fishermen for molding such a character.

Another lawmaker, Mahrus Munir of the ruling Democratic Party, expressed suspicion that the Shiites had created their own problems but doubted that local government officials were ill-disposed to their plight.

At a time when compassion and an offer of assistance would have been appropriate, House members instead chose to insult the oppressed Shiites.

The violence against the Shiite community is just one example of persecution against minority religious groups under the pretext of denouncing religious blasphemy in the country. This happens despite President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s call on UN member states to adopt a legally binding instrument to ban blasphemy against religious symbols and to promote dialogue between faiths, civilizations and cultures.

Still fresh in our memories is when followers of Ahmadiyah in Bandung were banned from organizing a blood drive and an Ahmadi couple in Tasikmalaya was denied the right to wed because Islamic authorities in the country considered them heretical. Radical Muslim groups have also frequently threatened and intimidated church congregations.

The disappointing quality of our politicians — some of whom have spent time in jail for graft while others have been implicated in corruption cases — have prompted parents to recommend that their children not pursue a political career, as revealed in the latest poll conducted by the Indonesia Survey Circle (LSI). The survey found that 56.43 percent of 1,200 respondents would not want their children to run for legislative posts in the 2014 election.

If politicians refuse to side with their constituents, can they really expect the people to vote for them?

This week also revisited the hardships of the rainy season in Jakarta. Even though it is only the beginning of this year’s rainy season, the adverse impact has been felt by at least 5,000 people in 15 subdistricts across the city. Two days of rain on Wednesday and Thursday in the capital plus a heavier downpour in Bogor, south of Jakarta, were enough to inundate some parts of the capital.

Nearly 3,000 houses were inundated when the Ciliwung and Pesanggrahan rivers burst their banks, with the water in some areas reaching as high as an adult’s waist.

The floods must be a bitter pill for Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to swallow, after less than two months in office. Earlier this month, he said the low-lying capital was “90 percent ready” to face flooding during the rainy season.

As the rainy season will reach its peak in January, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has forecast that during the peak, rain could fall at a rate of more than 100 millimeters per day. The Jakarta administration learned a costly lesson from this week’s inundation.

Despite the preparation, in which the administration can deploy more than 26,000 officers from numerous agencies to work together in handling flooding, public participation needs to be encouraged.

But flooding is not the only problem for people working in Jakarta. The bad weather has dealt a big blow to those living in Bogor after a section of railway track between the city and Jakarta was buried by a landslide. Electric commuter trains can only depart and stop at Bojonggede Station for the coming week, pending completion of repair work by state train operator PT KAI.

With around 35,000 daily passengers, the commuter train from Bogor Station is the busiest of all lines. The station canceled 98 scheduled trains. Material losses reached Rp 128 million (US$13,280).

The week also witness thousands of workers taking to the streets, demanding the government scrap outsourcing, end the cheap-labor policy that has been used to attract foreign investors and exempt workers from paying contributions to the national healthcare program.

The workers, organized by the National Workers Union (SPN), besieged the Presidential Palace, urging the President to issue a government regulation in lieu of law to replace Law No. 40/2004 on the National Social Security System, which requires workers to pay contributions to the five mandatory social security programs.

They argued that based on the Constitutional Court’s verdict No. 82/2012, workers have the right to register with the social security providers to participate in the social security programs and have their premiums paid by their employers.

The demand came just after the government issued a ministerial decree that sets 60 wage components — used to calculate the basic cost of living — compared to the former 46 components, leading to a significant increase of between 20 and 40 percent in provincial minimum wages for 2013.

— Primastuti Handayani

Read original post here: Worse of the worst

This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Ahmadiyya Times.

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