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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Indonesia’

Bennett: Israel to Aid Large Islamic Country in Agriculture

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Trade and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett announced during a trip to Indonesia that Israel will be providing agricultural assistance to a large Islamic country which has no ties to Israel, according to a report in Makor Rishon.

At the international trade conference, Bennett spoke with Foreign Ministers from dozens of countries including Islamic countries with no ties to Israel.

The goal of many of the discussions was to see how Israeli expertise can be used to assist these countries in increasing their agricultural yields and feed their populations, as well as increasing economic cooperation in general.

Bennett, accompanied by a heavy guard detail, spoke to 157 delegates at the conference, the first Israeli minister to visit Jakarta in 13 years.

During his speech, not a single delegate left the room, and the Palestinian issue was not even mentioned at any of the meetings, according to Bennett.

Bennett said, “The only thing they want to hear from Israel was about developing technology.”

Last Shul in Java Demolished; Tough Lesson in Islamic Democracy (UPDATED)

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

SEE UPDATE AT END OF ARTICLE

Over the last few days there have been several articles bemoaning the destruction of the last standing synagogue in Java, which is one of the islands of Indonesia (south of Viet Nam, north of Australia, for the geographically challenged).

The story had a human interest news hook: six American university students were visiting Indonesia to learn about “pluralism and democracy.”  Oops.  Not only was the only synagogue on Java demolished, but it had already been sealed off in 2009 by Muslims who also burnt an Israeli flag in response to the conflict in Gaza, according to the Jakarta Globe.

The Jakarta Globe article quoted lecturers from a local university who claimed that the American students still learned one or two things about pluralism from the city.

“They learned about how the residents form a pluralist and democratic community,” said Diah Ariani Arimbi, dean of the Airlangga University School of Literature.

That sounds awfully odd.  But sadly enough, it may be true.

INCREASED LOCAL AUTONOMY, INCREASED RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE

Indonesia has long been held up as one of the more tolerant Muslim countries, but in recent years there has been an increase in religious intolerance.  In February, Human Rights Watch reported that more than 400 churches had been shut down between 2005 and 2010. And since 2009 there has been a 55 percent increase in the number of provincial districts whose bylaws are based on Shariah, or Islamic political ideology.

This unfortunate trend has, paradoxically, been attributed to the political change in Indonesia from centralized, authoritarian rule to a country where there is increasing decentralization, and granting of local autonomy.  In other words, the increasing democratization is precisely what is driving the concomitant increase in intolerance and a reduced embrace of religious diversity.

This is hardly the lesson the academic advisers who helped develop the program the young American college students visiting Java expected would be taught.

That academic program was begun in 2011, and is under the auspices of US-Indonesia Partnership Program (USIPP) for Study Abroad Capacity.  The purpose of the program is to study religious plurality, democracy and multiculturalism directly within the community.

In an interview about the program last year, Professor Lloyd Steffen of Lehigh University said that, “’Religious Plurality, Democracy and Multiculturalism’ is its theme, and that participating students were expected to learn about how democracy contributes to peaceful and respectful religious diversity.”

Steffen explained that the program came out of an agreement signed between Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and President Barack Obama, several years ago. “It’s all about friendship and collaboration. It’s about two countries getting to know one another better,” Steffen said.

He added the program was a great learning experience for participating students of both countries, in which Americans would find out more about Indonesia, Islam and other religions and how they operate in Indonesia. Indonesians, likewise, would learn more about the U.S.

The American students whose instructors thought they would learn one important lesson in political reality may have something very important – and far more difficult – to teach their own instructors.

Professor Steffen did not respond to an email query about the demolition of the Surabaya Synagogue.  The Jewish Press asked whether USIPP plan to incorporate the sad political reality that increasing democratization, at least in Indonesia, appears to be leading not to greater religious diversity, respect and tolerance, but to the opposite, instead.

UPDATE: Prof. Steffen responded to our inquiry:

The Lehigh and U Michigan students are back in the US now and I received word about the Java synagogue destruction only yesterday. I immediately contacted principles involved with the project here at Lehigh, including Stacy Berger who this year accompanied the students to Indonesia, and I received word back that the group had been having in-depth conversations about the incident. Professor Richard Matthews, who will be be lecturing the students on democracy and religious pluralism next week, said he will use this incident in his teaching, and I will follow up as well when the students are back on campus this coming Friday.

Perhaps some good will come of this sad situation.  The Lehigh administrators of the program are to be commended for their immediate response and inclination to address rather than ignore this issue.

Report: Muslim Countries ‘Worst Violators of Religious Freedom’

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Ten out of the 15 countries with the worst religious freedom abuses are Muslim, according to the recently released U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2013 Annual Report identifying the status of religious freedom throughout the world, and citing countries that are the least tolerant of religious freedom.

IRFA requires the President of the United States, who has delegated this authority to the Secretary of State, to designate as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs, those governments that have engaged in or tolerated “particularly severe” violations of religious freedom.

IRFA defines “particularly severe” violations as ones that are “systematic, ongoing, and egregious,” including acts such as torture, prolonged detention without charges, disappearances, or “other flagrant denial[s] of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.”

After a country is designated a CPC, the President is required by law to take action to remedy the situation, or to invoke a waiver if circumstances warrant (As the late JFK put it: He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB).

For the 2013 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends that the Secretary of State re-designate the following eight countries as CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.

USCIRF also finds that seven other countries meet the CPC threshold and should be so designated: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

USCIRF also places countries on its Tier 2 list, where the country is on the threshold of a CPC status, meaning that the violations engaged in or tolerated by the government are particularly severe and that at least one, but not all three, of the elements of the “systematic, ongoing, egregious” standard is met.

The Tier 2 designation provides advance warning of negative trends that could develop into severe violations of religious freedom, thereby giving policymakers an opportunity to engage early and increasing the likelihood of preventing or diminishing the violations. USCIRF has concluded that the following eight countries meet the Tier 2 standard in this reporting period: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, and Russia.

But not to worry – the State Department has issued indefinite waivers on taking any action against Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia. As a result of these waivers, the United States has not implemented any policy response tied to the CPC designation for either country.

Gives a whole new meaning to the slogan “Freedom must be earned.”

In Egypt, the government has failed to protect Coptic Christians, who comprise 10 percent of the country’s 90 million people. The Copts have been tortured and killed and individuals continue to be prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned for “contempt” or “defamation” of religion (Islam).

Somebody should start boycotting Egyptian products…

In Iran, religious freedom for minorities has deteriorated over the last year, a bad year for the Baha’is, Christians, and Sufi Muslims. The Report details that, “physical attacks, harassment, detention, arrests, and imprisonment” intensified.

Jews, Armenian and Assyrian Christians, and Zoroastrians have faced harassment, intimidation, discrimination, arrests, and imprisonment. Anyone who has dissented against the government, a theocratic republic, including Majority Shi’i and minority Sunni Muslims, have been intimidated, harassed, and detained. Several dissidents and human rights defenders have been sentenced to death and executed for “waging war against God.”

Human sacrifice, that must be their god’s favorite pastime.

Indonesian Muslims Rejects Ban on Female Circumcision

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

One of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organizations is causing a controversy by objecting to a UN plan to ban female circumcision, ABC News reported.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) says female circumcision is part of Islamic teachings and that it is their constitutional right.

MUI chairman Ma’ruf Amin has called on hospital and clinics to provide the service to people who would want their daughters circumcised.

“What we reject is the ban. If there is a request … don’t turn [the parents] away,” Ma’ruf was quoted as saying.

Ma’ruf’s comments were made in response to the approval last month of a non-binding resolution calling on UN members to enforce laws against female genital mutilation (as well as pass such laws, if they’re not already on the books).

The practice of female circumcision was officially banned by the Indonesian Ministry of Health back in 2006, because it is “potentially harmful.”

In 2010, however, the Indonesian Government issued a ministerial regulation outlining how the practice should be carried out by medical doctors. That initiative confused many.

Justina Rostiawati, from the National Commission on Violence Against Women, said that the regulation was an acknowledgement that the earlier ban on female circumcision was not working.

“When the hospital or the health services in that area refused to carry out the circumcision, the mother would take the female baby to the midwife, or just to a traditional healer, or birth attendant – where it’s even more dangerous,” Rostiawati said.

Professor Terry Hull of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at the Australian National University said female circumcision is increasing in Indonesia and the practice is becoming more brutal.

“Over the past two decades, there’s been an increasing ‘medicalization’ of the practice, where medical personnel are taking part in what they interpret as Islamic rituals, and they are drawing blood and sometimes cutting away skin from the clitoris and sometimes from the labia.”

Islamists Target US Embassy in Indonesia

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

The U.S. Embassy and other sites connected with the U.S. were allegedly the target of terrorist attacks that were thwarted by the arrest of 11 suspected terrorists in Indonesia over the weekend.

The U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Jakarta, the U.S. Consulate in Surabaya, the local office of a U.S. mining company, as well as a plaza near the Australian Embassy and the headquarters of a special police force in Central Java were apparently the targets.

Indonesian national police spokesman Maj. Gen. Suhardi Alius told the Associated Press that the suspected terrorists were arrested in raids in four provinces.

“From evidence found at the scene, we believe that this group was well prepared for serious terror attacks,” Alius told the AP.

Bombs, explosive materials, a manual for making bombs, ammunition and a gas cylinder filled with highly explosive material was discovered in the raids.  Also seized were videos and images of attacks on Muslims in different parts of the world.

The suspects belonged to a new group called the Harakah Sunni for Indonesian Society, or HASMI.

According to the group’s website, HASMI was created in 2005, and seeks a strict interpretation of Islam, “since all innovation is misguidance.”

It is unclear whether the targeting of U.S. diplomatic posts is a new trend in Islamic terrorist activity, following the murderous assault by what U.S. officials now admit was a well-planned terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.

Israel Welcomes 300 Int’l Asian Science Prodigies

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Over 300 young science geniuses from across Asia and the Pacific participated in the sixth Asian Science Camp (ASC) in Jerusalem this past week. Originally initiated by a number of Nobel Prize Laureates in the sciences from Eastern Asia, it was Israel’s first time hosting the science camp, which has been held in a different Asian country each year for the past six years.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has been marking Israel’s diplomatic relations with Asia this past year, in cooperation with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the ORT educational network, organized the week long science camp for the last week of August. High school and university students arrived from 23 different countries– including nations with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations such as Indonesia.

Shannon Canumara, 16, of Jakarta, Indonesia, described the science camp as fascinating. “The lectures have been fantastic. It’s very different from a high school environment, because we get to learn about science not only from textbooks. We actually get to question the professors and their theories,” Canumara told Tazpit News Agency.

Her Indonesian counterpart, Vinsen, 17, added that “even though our country does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, everyone here was so welcoming to us. I hope that someday Indonesia will agree to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in the future.”

Some of the largest student delegations came from China, India, Korea and Japan, while smaller delegations from Turkmenistan, Turkey, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand also participated.

The Israeli delegates, who were chosen according to a strict criterion of academic excellence in science, consisted of 35 Jewish and Arab students from across the country including periphery cities like Karmiel and Yeruham, as well as east Jerusalem and Umm al-Fahm. The science camp featured lectures from five Nobel Prize Laureates in the Sciences from Israel and abroad, including one of the founders of ASC, Taiwan’s Professor Lee Yuan-Ti, Nobel Prize Laureate for Chemistry, as well as Prof Makoto Kobayashi (physics) from Japan, and Israel’s Professor Aharon Chechanover (medical-chemistry) and Professor Israel Uman (game theory) and US Professor Roger Kornberg (biology).

Liangjin Zhao, a second year university student in Beijing, studying electronic engineering, was very impressed with the organization of the science camp. “Although we’ve had little free time, the best part has been to network and make new friends from all over the world. There is such a great combination of people here” Zhao said. Sitting beside her was Noy Moisa, a student at Hebrew University High School of Jerusalem, who agreed wholeheartedly. “We already started connecting with the students via Facebook and e-mail before the camp even began,” Moisa said.

Rawan Mahajna of Um Al Fahm, 19, who plans to study medicine, said the science camp was an opportunity for “connecting minds together and meeting people who share similar science interests.”

“Everyone here speaks the language of science, which goes beyond skin color, religion, background, and politics. I’m really thankful for this experience,” Mahajna said.

“The whole concept of this science camp was to show that science has no boundaries,” said Reut Inon-Berman, one of the organizers of the Asian Summer Camp. “Together, we can get that much further in this field.”

Muslims Continue to Perpetrate Systematic Persecution of Christians

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Unlike those nations, such as Saudi Arabia, that have eliminated Christianity altogether, Muslim countries with significant Christian minorities saw much persecution during the month of May: in Egypt, Christians were openly discriminated against in law courts, even as some accused the nation’s new president of declaring that he will “achieve the Islamic conquest of Egypt for the second time, and make all Christians convert to Islam“; in Indonesia, Muslims threw bags of urine on Christians during worship; in Kashmir and Zanzibar, churches were set on fire; and in Mali, Christianity “faces being eradicated.” Elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa—in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, the Ivory Coast—wherever Islam and Christianity meet, Christians are being killed, slaughtered, beheaded and even crucified.

Categorized by theme, May’s assemblage of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following accounts, listed in alphabetical order by country, not severity. Note: As Pakistan had the lion’s share of persecuted Christians last month, it has its own section below, covering the entire gamut of persecution—from apostasy and blasphemy to rape and forced conversions.

Church Attacks Indonesia encountered several church-related attacks:

–A mob of 600 Muslims threw bags of urine, stones, and rotten eggs at the congregation of a Protestant church at the start of Ascension Day service; they shouted profanities and threatened to kill the pastor. No arrests were made. The church had applied for a permit to construct its house of worship five years ago. Pressured by local Muslims, the local administration ordered the church shut down in December 2009, even though the Supreme Court recently overruled its decision, saying that the church was eligible for a permit. Local Muslims and officials are nevertheless demanding that the church shut down.

–After protests “by hard-line groups including the Islamic Defenders Front,” nearly 20 Christian houses of worship were sealed off by authorities on the pretext of “not having permits.” The authorities added that, to accommodate the region’s 20,000 Christians, only one church may be built in the district in question.

–The Muslim mayor who illegally sealed the beleaguered GKI Yasmin church, forcing congregants to worship in the streets, has agreed to reopen it—but only if a mosque is built next door, to ensure that the church “stays in line.” “As well as opposition from the mayor, the church has faced hostility from local Muslims, who have rallied against them [the Christians], blocked them from accessing the street where the church is situated and disrupted their outdoor services. It is unlikely that they will suddenly embrace the Christians,” according to the report.

France: Prior to celebrating mass, “four youths, aged 14 to 18, broke into the Church of St. Joseph, before launching handfuls of pebbles at 150 faithful present at the service.” They were chased out, although, according to the report, “the parishioners, many of whom are elderly, were greatly shocked by the disrespectful act of the youths of North African origin.”

Kashmir: A Catholic church made entirely of wood was partially destroyed after unknown assailants set it on fire. “What happened,” said the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, “is not an isolated case,” and follows the “persecution” of a pastor who baptized Muslims. “With these gestures, the Muslim community is trying to intimidate the Christian minority.”

Kuwait: Two months after the Saudi Grand Mufti decreed, in response to a question on whether churches may exist in Kuwait, that all regional churches must be destroyed, villa-churches serving Western foreigners are being targeted. One congregation was evicted without explanation “from a private villa used for worship gatherings for the past seven years;” another villa-church was ordered to “pay an exorbitant fine each month to use a facility it had been renting…. Church leaders reportedly decided not to argue and moved out.”

Zanzibar: Hundreds of Muslims set two churches on fire and clashed with police during protests against the arrest of senior members of an Islamist movement known as the Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation. Afterwards, the group issued a statement denying any involvement of wrongdoing.

Pakistan: Apostasy, Blasphemy, Rape, Forced Conversions, and Oppression

–A 20-year-old Christian man was arrested and charged with “blasphemy”—a crime “punishable with life imprisonment”—after vengeful Muslims accused him of burning a Koran soon after a billiard game. The Muslims kept taunting and threatening him, to which the Christian “dared them to do whatever they wanted and walked away.” Days later came the accusation and arrest, which caused Muslim riots, creating “panic among Christians,” who “left their houses anticipating violence.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/muslims-continue-to-perpetrate-systematic-persecution-of-christians/2012/06/28/

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