JAKARTA, Indonesia, July 23 /PRNewswire/ -- On June 1, at the National Monument in the central district of Jakarta, Indonesia, an event took place that was little noticed by the world press but could have major implications for world politics and the international "War on Terror." During a peaceful rally by dozens of organizations representing people from various religions in celebration of Pancasila, the Indonesian concept of embracing all religious beliefs in their society, the crowd was attacked by a mob of some 200 club-wielding Islamic extremists. As a result of this attack, dozens of demonstrators were injured, some seriously injured. The attackers are considered to be members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), one of a growing number of extremist groups who are now resorting to violent means in their attempt to institute a radical form of Islam in the country to the exclusion of other religions.
I is a great distress for me to write this letter. I struggle to do so. All of Indonesia became a hero to me in the 1960’s when a series of meetings took place over a six month period that resulted in brilliant The Manila Accord and ASEAN.
Two of our ministers have issued public statements supporting the chairman of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), Habib Rizieq and his organization.
They are those in charge of co-operatives and forestry. These ministers represent two different political parties, supporting the government.
Indeed there are a couple of such other parties. So far, however, they have been supporting from behind the scenes.
Such support definitely has political implications, and has weakened the thrust of police investigations (into the attack by FPI members at the National Monument (Monas) park in early June.
One of the ministers, in a recent statement, made an appeal for the release of Rizieq and to declare his organization not guilty.
Right now, only seven out of more than 50 suspects originally detained are still in custody.
I once again make an appeal to the world community to help us in this matter. In view of the latest happenings in the Philippines and Pakistan, if these radicals are not punished, then not only this region, but the entire world will become their playground.
The Jakarta Post | Sat, 07/12/2008 11:41 AM | Opinion
--------- Indonesia, July 3rd 2008 ---------
I hope I am not crossing the line when I say I hope that peace is upon both of you. Because I know first hand that you both have no peace within yourselves. And how do I know? From the Monas tragedy on June 1.
I witnessed the tragedy with my own eyes, in fact I was one of the victims with severe injuries myself. The attack was led by Munarman, as well as a group led by Habib Rizieq. The tragedy caused myself and several of my brothers and sisters to be badly injured. Physical wounds may heal, mental trauma can also be handled with therapy. But the way I see it, it is both of you that are hurting badly.
I have never seen such hatred and anger in a human. And I can't imagine what burden you have had to carry all this time. Your hatred, your anger and the violence that follows can eat you alive. After all you have violated the rights of other citizens in the name of a religion, which may spark national disintegration. It was also an insult to Pancasila and the Constitution.
But I still appreciate both of you as Indonesians. You cannot deny it with any reason -- both of you, I and other survivors are brothers and sisters, we are Indonesians. We live on this land, we have the same bond, the same memory of this country.
Although we were born into different family religious backgrounds. You were born into a Muslim family and I was born into a Hindu family. You are men and I am a woman. I believe there is one thing we have in common, which is that we are Indonesians.
The thing is that differences are inevitable, they are a certainty. There is nothing you can possibly do to eliminate it, including the existence of sects in a religion.
Pancasila, with its "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" (Unity in Diversity) slogan, is what unites this country. Our country consists of thousands of islands, many different tribes, races and religions, that have been united for many years by Pancasila. Again, this is not something you can deny. The question is, why are you so scared of it? If I am not mistaken, differences are a blessing from God, according to your Koran, right?
Therefore, I suggest you start to find some peace in yourselves. Manage your hatred and your anger in healthier ways, such as singing and dancing. I guarantee, you will find beauty everywhere. And you will find the beauty in difference, which previously always fired you up. Oh, by the way, if you are finished with yourselves, do not forget to spread it among your group. Indonesia will be much better off without hatred.
NYOMAN AISANYA WIBHUTI - YogyakartaMon, 06/30/2008 10:49 AM | Reader's Forum
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