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No Politics In Push to Protect the Ahmadiyah: Churches
Dessy Sagita | March 09, 2011
Christian leaders recently lambasted by Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam for “politicizing” violence against the Ahmadiyah have defended their position as proponents of diversity.
Benny Susetyo, from the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) said at a press conference on Tuesday that he had done nothing wrong in calling for all religious groups to be protected against violence.
“I’ve been victimized here, I haven’t once said anything about the theology of Ahmadiyah or Islam,” he said. “I merely stated that the government should protect everyone, including minority groups, regardless of their beliefs.”
Dipo warned on Sunday against “politicizing” the violence targeted at the minority Islamic sect because of the potential to “create communal conflicts.”
He also said religious leaders needed to help maintain peace and tolerance in society, and accused Benny, whom he labeled an Ahmadiyah supporter, of interfering in Islamic affairs.
Gomar Gultom, secretary general of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI), also said the country’s leading religious scholars had never discussed their stance toward the Ahmadiyah, let alone issued a public statement on the matter.
“We just want to remind [the public] that the country is a constitutional republic and should not bow down to any pressure from majority groups or religions,” Gomar said.
Salahuddin Wahid from Nahdlatul Ulama, the country’s largest Islamic organization, said that from an Islamic perspective, Ahmadiyah’s beliefs were wrong.
However, he said disbanding the sect simply because of public pressure would only set an unhealthy precedent for the country’s developing democracy.
“If any organization insists the Ahmadiyah are deviant, it should take the problem to the courts to decide whether the sect really is blaspheming against Islam,” Salahuddin said.
Franz Magnis Suseno, a Catholic priest and theologian, said he had advised Dipo to take a break to prevent him making controversial statements that could create a rift in Indonesian society.
“I understand that Dipo feels it’s important to defend President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, but it doesn’t have to be said in such a counter-productive way,” he said.