Indonesia Shia group accuse extremist Sunni leaders of violating constitution

Indonesia Shia group accuse extremist Sunni leaders of violating constitution

Indonesian minority religion leaders have accused hard-line groups from the extremist Sunnis and a local government official of violating the constitution by disseminating hate speech targeting Shia Muslims.

Ahlul Bayt News Agency - Indonesian minority religion leaders have accused hard-line groups from the extremist Sunnis and a local government official of violating the constitution by disseminating hate speech targeting Shia Muslims.

The Organization of Ahlulbayt for Social Support and Education (OASE), which mediates conflicts between religious groups, announced plans to sue the Anti-Shia National Alliance and a mayor in West Java province, a lawyer for the non-profit organisation said on October 29.

At an October 25 alliance meeting attended by thousands of Sunnis, clerics issued several statements condemning the Shia religion. Among the speakers at the assembly were Muhammad Al Khaththath, secretary-general of the Islamic People's Forum, and Munarman, spokesman of the Islamic Defenders Front.

At issue were statements by speakers denouncing Shias as "heretics," and a decision by Bima Arya Sugiarto, the mayor of Bogor, to ban Shias from celebrating the Muslim holy day of Ashura. The ban did not apply to Sunnis.

Voaislam.com, an Islamic conservative website, quoted Kiai Athian, alliance chairman, as saying, "If there are people who still doubt that Shia is heresy, it means that those people do not know Islam."

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/world/article/shia-group-accuse-sunni-leaders-of-violating-indonesias-constitution#sthash.YdgT9HbA.dpuf

At issue were statements by speakers denouncing Shias as "heretics," and a decision by Bima Arya Sugiarto, the mayor of Bogor, to ban Shias from celebrating the Muslim holy day of Ashura. The ban did not apply to Sunnis.

Voaislam, an Islamic website, quoted Kiai Athian, alliance chairman, as saying, "If there are people who still doubt that Shia is heresy, it means that those people do not know Islam."

Emilia Renita Az, an OASE coordinator, said the statements at the assembly and actions by the mayor constituted hate speech. "They can create divisions within society," she said.

Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, of the Jakarta-based Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, said the mayor had violated constitutional protections of freedom of religion.

"He cannot just issue such an order. In fact, he knows about our constitution, which guarantees every citizen's freedom of religion," he told ucanews.com.

Regarding the assembly, Father Susetyo suggested that law enforcement agencies should take action.

"Such a thing, of course, threatens the diversity that we have maintained so far," said Father Susetyo, former secretary of the Indonesian bishops' Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

However, Sugiarto, the mayor, said that he issued the order after receiving intelligence reports that a serious conflict would take place if the Shias were allowed to celebrate Ashura.

"Based on information from the intelligence group... there was a threat. Still, the ban was only about the context of that day, not the other days. A mayor doesn't have an authority to talk about religions," Sugiarto was quoted as saying by Indonesian news website Kompas on October 28.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, is constitutionally a secular state with strong Islamic influences. Sunni Muslims dominate most government and civic institutions. Christians comprise about 10% of the Indonesian population.





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At an October 25 alliance meeting attended by thousands of Sunni Muslims, clerics issued several statements condemning the Shia religion. Among the speakers at the assembly were Muhammad Al Khaththath, secretary-general of the Islamic People's Forum, and Munarman, spokesman of the Islamic Defenders Front. - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/world/article/shia-group-accuse-sunni-leaders-of-violating-indonesias-constitution#sthash.YdgT9HbA.dpuf

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