European Parliament Voices ‘Grave Concern’ Over Religious Violence in Indonesia
July 08, 2011
The European Parliament has chimed in on incidents of religious persecution in Indonesia with a resolution that expresses “grave concern” over the recent string of attacks against Christians and Ahmadis, according to a religious rights group.
The resolution, released on Friday, details “grave concern at the incidents of violence against religious minorities, particularly Ahmadi Muslims, Christians, Baha’is and Buddhists … at the local blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation by-laws, which are open to misuse.”
The resolution also calls for the revision or repeal of the 2008 Joint Ministerial Decree prohibiting the dissemination of Ahmadiyah Muslim teachings, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Mitro Repo, a Finnish member of the European legislative body, said: “While Indonesia’s national ideology ‘Pancasila’ has been a great example of enshrining pluralism, cultural harmony, religious freedom and social justice, there is a deep concern that the blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation by-laws are open to misuse. Such laws do not have a place in a state that truly respects human rights and engages in an open dialogue with its civil society.”
The past few years have seen continued acts of violence against Ahmadis in Indonesia, culminating in the killing of three sect members by a mob in Cikeusik, Banten, in February.
And Christians in Bogor have been locked out of their own church by that city’s administration in defiance of a Supreme Court order. Tensions in that city between members of the GKI Tasmin Church and hard-line Muslims led to the stabbing of two church elders last October.
The resolution follows similar moves by legislative bodies in the United States, United Kingdom and Sweden highlighting the violent persecution of religious minorities in Indonesia.
CSW’s special ambassador Stuart Windsor said: “We hope that this resolution, taken together with the actions in the UK and Swedish parliaments, will increase the pressure on the Indonesian government to take firm action to protect Indonesia’s religious minorities from violent attacks.
“We urge the Indonesian government to uphold the nation’s proud tradition of religious pluralism, freedom and harmony enshrined in the country’s guiding philosophy of ‘Pancasila’, to promote peaceful co-existence between different religious groups, and to combat religious extremism and violence.”