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Mainstream vs. Moderate Islam in Indonesia

| 14 Comments

Winds of Change has a strong tradition of value-added pieces (thinking, not just linking), but in this case Andy McCarthy at National Review Online's The Corner has already said what I want to, and I wouldn't add anything. So click and read it all (it's short): Hate To Break This To You: Moderate Isn't Mainstream and Extremist Isn't Radical (link)

"In Indonesia, which sport's the world's largest Muslim population, the Associated Press reports that the government (in yet another of these Islamic "democracies" that "guarantees freedom of religion") has ordered a "moderate" Muslim sect to return to the "mainstream" of Islam or risk imprisonment for debasing Islam."

14 Comments

Pity there's a typo in the original; I doubt the author meant Indonesia is the sport of that is the world's largest Muslim population. :)

So, another data point for what people of influence are willing to say is and defend as mainstream Islam, and doctrinally consistent with my layman's grasp of the matter. There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his (final) prophet, and there you have it. Peace [sic] be unto you.

Nortius Maximus: Perhaps it's a generational thing, but the phrase "sports the..." is just another way of saying "supports a", or "exhibits a" as in: "he is now sporting a beard, etc." Such usage was quite common
"in my day", i.e., before the onset of my geezerhood--and fairly common too.

Sure, I understood the intended expression perfectly well. :)

Examples of the form as written (with the typo) read differently than the author intended: "Rugby, which sport's considered more manly than soccer by its aficionados..." ; "Utah, which state's the home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir..."

Maybe I'm too damned effete. For sure, it's not the main point of the thread. I plead guilty.

[Edited for better examples]

I have to admit that I've never heard of a Muslims that did not believe Mohammad was the Last Prophet:

"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the Seal of the prophets. And God is ever Knower of all things." - Qur'an: "The Allies", verse 40.

As I recall Indonesia is a moderate country in that it recognizes the legitimacy of several enumerated religions, but its is not liberal in the sense that just any old religion will do. In recognizing several religions and not others, the State has obviously undertaken some role in policing what qualifies as Islamic, Christian, etc. I'm not shocked that an unconventional view of the Prophet is a deal-breaker.

According to a well reguarded religious treatise (ok, its wikipedia ) these are followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed to be the Mujaddid (divine reformer), the Promised Messiah (Second Coming of Christ), the Imam Mahdi awaited by the Muslims in the latter-days, as well as the likeness of other prophets. "He claimed that the Ahmadiyya Movement stood in the same relation to Islam that Christianity stood to Judaism at the time of Jesus." I can easily see why Muslims would not believe this group to be Muslim.

PD Shaw 1
The Corner 0

OK, so it might well be that this particular sect pulls the apostasy "eject handle" nice and hard WRT a mainstream Islam creed.

How much more tolerable is (say) Sufism (or "worse", the Baha'i faith) to the Indonesian powers-that-be? Is this known?

I can easily see why Muslims would not believe this group to be Muslim.

I can too. That's not the problem.

The problem is first, that the Indonesian government is now deciding what is and is not Islam (which raises interesting questions about why the state has not declared the terror supporting factions to be un-Islamic, since they seem to be in the definitional business).

And second and far greater, that the group doesn't seem to have been given the option to continue as is just without the Muslim label. This isn't 'worship as you will just don't call yourself Islamic', it is instead 'be a good Muslim by our definition or go to jail (or worse)'. This isn't brand protection, it's government sponsored persecution.

The Corner is absolutely correct, this is neither moderate nor tolerant behavior.

Well according to this, Baha'i is not tolerated. Thirty-one converts were told last year to "think about which religion they wanted to belong to, either Islam, like before, or another religion which was recognised by the government, because Bahai is not." "The Department of Religion (Depag) has also sent down an investigative team, says Muhammad Ramli in Palu, and they will have to decide whether Bahai is a sect within Islam. If so, then the converts, or their leaders, can likely be prosecuted for blasphemy." Link

Oddly, this bothers me more.

I've got a few conflicting thoughts.

1. I am a liberal in that I believe the state should not recognize an official religion. For one thing, and this is where I disagree with Treefrog's first point, it necessarily places the state in some form of role of defining religion. When England decides that the Anglican Church is the official state religion, it becomes the business of the state to make sure that L Ron Hubbard does not get to call his religion Anglican.

2. I recognize that many countries have official state religions, such as England, Argentina, Norway, Greece . . . That Indonesia recognizes six (Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism) is in that respect moderate.

3. The fact that a majority Islamic country recognizes Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism is a sign of moderation. There is no textual support in the Koran for legitimizing these religions; this is obviously a sign to pragmatism. But what about Judaism?

4. I also understand, but don't condone, the anger that arises when people purport to be of the same faith, but clearly believe different things.

5. The problem (and here I agree with Treefrog's second point) is what the state does to non-recognized religions. There is obviously a difference between being Catholic in England and Baha'i in Indonesia.

6. It does sound, however, like the thread from NRO to Jihad Watch is implying that it is the Ahmadiyya Movement's views on jihad that are central and are under attack. I don't think that's the case.

Oddly, this bothers me more.

Shaw, me too, which is why I picked Baha'i as a touchstone. Imagine Unitarians being treated the same way by mainstream Christians. Right now, I mean.

On a positive note, at least the Indonesian government is not saying that if the Baha'i overtly exit Islam they are in secular anathema as apostates... and executed.

That's moderation of a sort.

Makes me wonder what Indonesia's position on agnostics or atheists is. Sorry to make others do the legwork. Thanks for your contributions.

I've been over to Indonesia twice. I cannot vaunt a deep knowledge of all things indonesian, but can only rely my impressions.

Jakarta and other major cities are I wouldn't say as open-minded as western ones, but come close. Rural areas are much more conservative - backward, even.

My understanding is one can get away with almost anything if it remains under the radar. Which is not great, but better than a system of active delators.

1. I am a liberal in that I believe the state should not recognize an official religion. For one thing, and this is where I disagree with Treefrog's first point, it necessarily places the state in some form of role of defining religion. When England decides that the Anglican Church is the official state religion, it becomes the business of the state to make sure that L Ron Hubbard does not get to call his religion Anglican.

I'll grant you this one, sorta. The difference is that state religions claim dominion over a specific national sect of a larger religion. England - Anglican, Norway - Church of Norway, Greece - Orthodox Greece, etc. They narrow the larger religious definition not define the larger.

Indonesia = ?

There is no Indonesian Islam. Indonesia is speaking for all of Islam here at the behest of the radicals.

My understanding is one can get away with almost anything if it remains under the radar. Which is not great, but better than a system of active delators.

One can apparently also get away with burning down mosques and persecuting their worshipers if they aren't authentic enough for you and not only do you not get cracked down on by the government, the government will formalize your persecution. This isn't open-minded behavior.

"One can apparently also get away with burning down mosques and persecuting their worshipers if they aren't authentic enough for you and not only do you not get cracked down on by the government, the government will formalize your persecution. This isn't open-minded behavior."

Churches and Christians as well.

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