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Home Worldwide Indonesia Preachers told …
Preachers told to support controversial MUI edicts

National News August 08, 2005 

Preachers told to support controversial MUI edicts

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI)’s edicts against secularism, pluralism and liberalism, the Indonesian Council for Islamic Propagation (DDII) will fully support the MUI in its “war on deviant thoughts”, a top preacher said on Sunday.

DDII leader Cholil Ridwan, who is also one of MUI’s 11 executives, said the propagation council would ask thousands of preachers under its supervision nationwide to use their sermons during Friday prayers to spread the edicts.

“People who are against the edicts are munafikin (hypocrites) and are more dangerous than kafir (infidels), since they attack from inside Islam,” he said over the weekend at a forum on the edicts.

Despite DDII’s influential role, a preacher does not need a license from the group to preach.

Cholil said the MUI and DDII saw no need for further discussion on the edicts.

“We do not need further dialog, what we need to do is spread the edicts to everybody in Indonesia,” he said. “We are tired of talking.”

He defended MUI’s actions, citing several Christian groups that issued similar guidelines against secularism and pluralism.

“In this respect, the issuance of the MUI edicts is a bit late,” he said.

The MUI issued 11 edicts during its congress last month, including one that bans pluralism, which it defined as a principle that considers all religions equally valid, with heaven comprising people of different faiths.

Throughout the three-hour forum, Cholil, who also heads the Indonesian Pesantren Cooperative Board, referred to secularism, pluralism and liberalism by the acronym Sipilis, which is also the Indonesian word for the sexually transmitted disease syphilis.

“We have to vaccinate our congregation to prevent them from this sipilis virus,” he said. “People who follow these deviations should no longer call themselves Muslims.”

During the forum, he singled out the Islamic Liberal Network (JIL), which has often criticized the MUI, as being heretical and urged those in attendance to spread a handout he had prepared.

“Copy this and hand it out to people so everybody knows that these (JIL) are the people who are against MUI’s edicts,” he said.

The handout consisted of copies of media clippings, including a newspaper article on calls to dismantle the JIL and a letter that accuses JIL members of drinking alcohol, not praying properly and approving of premarital sex.

Some of those in attendance said that even though the edicts were not legally binding, they were prepared to follow them.

“The ulema are our religious leaders, if they have declared something as forbidden, then we will follow. I do not want anyone in my congregation to be contaminated by those thoughts,” said Mujahidin, who preaches at a mosque in Depok, West Java.

The country’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, was the latest group to criticize the MUI over its edicts, saying the council had failed to take into account the diversity and plurality of Indonesian society.

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