Catherine Shakdam's Blog

Indonesia anti-Shia tidal wave - Dangerous trend spreads East

June 2, 2014

Following months of violence targeted at the Muslim Shia community in Indonesia, the heinous worlds of Tardjono Abu Muas – Head of Indonesia Anti-Shia Alliance - have burned red hot fear into the hearts of all Shia in the region, as they feel the wind of genocide is blowing ever stronger their way.


Commenting on his group’s work and ideology to VICE – UK based online media – Muas, a man whose hatred for Shia Islam has reached dangerous proportion and has become completely irrational, branded all Shia Muslims “a virus that can destroy Islamic teachings.” According to Muas’ ethnic profiling, all Shia in Indonesia and beyond should be eliminated in a grand cleanse which he alleges would purify the Islamic faith.


Whenever one hears such hateful narrative, such calls for senseless violence on the basis of a person’s affiliation to a group, faith or race, painful memories of old immediately come to surface.


As Indonesia is sitting on the edge of a precipice it will not be able to return from, so deep will be the scars its society will bear, the world community needs to rally around the Shia community to ensure that its people are not put in harm’s way based on their faith.


Sadly what were are witnessing in Indonesia today is but the by-product of Saudi Arabia’ systematic anti-Shia policies, and its insistence in propagating hatred and lies across the Islamic world in order to assert its own stamp, its own authority over all Islamic institutions.


Shia Rights Watch, which has since its inception dedicated itself to defending Shia Muslims everywhere and promoting inter-faith tolerance on the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights without any form of religious bias, has now called on the government of Indonesia to end its descent into darkness by fomenting hatred and promoting murder.


“Indonesia Shia Muslims, represent an estimated 1% of the total population. This community is particularly vulnerable and should therefore benefit from the state’s protection, regardless of politicians’ religious belief. Indonesians should all be able to enjoy the same rights and responsibilities without any form of social, political or religious profiling. This narrative of terror needs to end now!” emphasized SRW.


What is now terrifying is that Indonesia political class appears to be buying into Muas’ madness, incline to condone and thus support his calls for ethnic cleansing and religious purification. If Muas is left to his own device one cold expect to hear the thunderous cries of crusaders resound across Asia before year’s end.


Back in April Muas felt so bold as to throw an Anti-Shia Declaration event in Bandung, the provincial capital of West Java. Speaking to the Jakarta Post at the time, he explained that the event had been planned since 2012 Indonesian Ulema and Congregation Forum – about the same time it is important to note when Saudi Arabia resumed its demonization and criminalization of Shia Islam in the Middle East –


Muas said he want to build “anti-Shia posts” across the region to protect the real faithful from heresy.” He went on saying, “We all have to understand that Shia has tainted the true Islamic teaching … Our government should be like the Malaysian government, which protects the recognized religions in the country. We have six religions, so the government should protect all religions against heresy.”

This is the narrative of a dangerous ideology.


What is most incredible at this stage is that few rights organizations have thus far raised the alarm or even spoke against Indonesia pending genocide on account only the Shia community has been targeted. But how long will it take for Muas and his cronies to turn against other groups? How long Indonesia’s other communities expect to last under such intolerant impetus and execrable narrative? If history has anything to teach us, not long. Hatred can only generate more hatred and fear will only degenerate into folly.


It is time to put a stop to intolerance, wherever it is rooted.

“Indonesia one million Shia Muslims’ lives stand in the balance. Are we to say that they do not matter? Are we to stand idle as yet more people are sacrificed to the pyre of ignorance and fanaticism?” asked SRW.


To see such a flare up of hatred against the Shia community ahead of July elections has become a source of worry, especially since Muas clearly intends to turn his anti-Shia crusade into a national policy.


“When we hear West Java's Islamist Governor Ahmad Heryawan and Ahmad Cholil Ridwan, the head of the Indonesia Council of Ulema (MUI), Indonesia's highest Islamic authority call for "purge" of the country's Shia minority”, while their supporters wear military jacket with "Heresy Hunters" stencilled across, we have no other choice but raise the alarm,” warned SRW.


In Indonesia Shia Muslims are certainly feeling the strain, fearful of what the future may hold if men such as Muas are allowed to profess their ignominious ideology.


Andreas Harsono, an Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch, told VICE he believes Muas’ Anti-Shia Alliance is not the only threat which the international community and Indonesians need to watch out for. He warned that other groups, were too, fanning anti-Shia sentiment to further their politico-religious goals and turn Indonesia into a hotbed for extremism.


For Harsono, Muas’ Anti-Shia Declaration meeting “represents an effective step in potentially making the Shia faith illegal nationwide.” He added, “I think it will increase pressure on the central government to officially ban Shia Islam, or certain activities of the Shia. I think the pressure is effective.”


Quite simply, unless Indonesia officials act swiftly the country stands to be swallowed whole by a tidal wave of extremism which will fracture society at its core and lay waste an entire nation.







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