Jubilee Campaign * Indonesia: Laskar Jihad Call for [No] Respect for Ramadhan

 

 

 

 

 

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Indonesia: Laskar Jihad Call for [No] Respect for Ramadhan


Indonesia: Laskar Jihad Call for [No] Respect for Ramadhan

November 30, 2001

Jubilee Campaign - http://www.jubileecampaign.org/

The Muslim community in Indonesia and throughout the world, including in America, called for America to halt the bombing of the Taliban during the fasting month of Ramadhan. The month of Ramadhan is supposed to be a time for peace and deep reflection with Allah. Yet the citizens of Indonesia face a very different reality when it comes to Ramadhan year after year. Despite the fact that there are many Muslims who truly want to celebrate Ramadhan peacefully, Ramadhan in Indonesia is also used as a time to terrorize people.

In Jakarta, for example, 1000 people from FPI (Islamic Defenders Front) swept several places in Jakarta to try to "take care" of those who disgrace the time of Ramadhan. The terrorization is far more real for people in Poso, in the central part of the island of Sulawesi. For the past three days, Laskar Jihad has continued their heavy assaults against the local people in that area. Thus Laskar Jihad itself has shown no respect at all for peace during Ramadhan. Following this article is an on-site report from GKST (www.gkst.org) detailing some of the assaults.

There has been a very confusing political indecisiveness on the part of the Indonesian security forces. For example, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (the Indonesian Minister for Security and Politics) mentioned, in a meeting with the Indonesian Council of Churches, that the presence of Laskar Jihad is needed in Poso and Maluku due to fear of attack by Christians on the local Muslim communities there. Such an absurd notion from the Indonesian Minister for Security and Politics indicates alarming confusion by even the top Indonesian leadership in its efforts, or lack thereof, in handling conflicts such as in Poso, even after the conflict has been going on for several years now and the damages are nearing the point of becoming beyond repair.

Then this week Yudhoyono evidenced a slight shift in his stance by making another statement (as cited in the Suara Pembaruan Daily on Nov 29, 2001) that the perpetrators in Poso will be dealt with. This statement must be understood in the context that justice has not been meted out even-handedly in the region, where for example a Christian caught with a machete went to prison for several years while a member of Laskar Jihad with an AK-47 served only 7 months.

Furthermore, the head of the Central Sulawesi police, Agus Sugianto, indicated that there are adequate police to handle the conflict and hence no need for additional forces. Yet according to International Christian Concern (ICC), based on their very recent fact-finding trip to Poso, there are approximately 15 thousand Laskar Jihad in the Poso area, and they are heavily armed. Meanwhile, again according to ICC, in the Poso region there are only 35 policemen with 3 rifles trying to provide security for 63 thousand people to keep them from being attacked by the 15 thousand members of Laskar Jihad, who have already demonstrated their intent to "cleanse" Christians area by area.

Decisive action needs to be taken in Poso immediately, especially after the indecisive attitudes revealed by Yudhoyono combined with the incapability of the regional police to handle the conflict despite whatever they may be saying. There have been several references in various media about the links between certain extremist groups in Indonesia and Al Qaeda. Ongoing terrorist-style behavior by the Laskar Jihad only strengthens the perception of such a link between Indonesian religious extremists and the worldwide terrorist network.

Received via email from: M @ Masariku@yahoogroups.com
 


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