Sunday, February 20, 2011

A democratic Islam?

Sun, 02/20/2011
3:14 PM
A democratic Islam?
The Jakarta Post

The government is facing mounting pressures to ban Ahmadiyah. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono apparently is also closer to the view of prohibiting the existence of the sect in Indonesia. Many Muslims strongly agree with the idea. But the President, as usual, prefers to play it safe. Some government and Muslim leaders share the view that Ahmadiyah followers should form a new religion. But this will not solve anything, because they will be asked to abandon the Koran and write their own holy book.

Minority groups are closely following the Ahmadiyah situation because they fear the same tactics can be applied to them. What will happen if Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and other religions also denounce people from other faiths by using their own religious teachings as their just argument? In the longer term, the nation will have to bear the consequences of the restrictions imposed on Ahmadiyah. But does the government have enough courage to uphold the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of religion? Only a miracle can change the President’s preference not to take any risk at all.

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