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Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

Hindus, Muslims Around The World Condemn Valentine’s Day ‘Immoral Acts’

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Hindus, Muslims Around The World Condemn Valentine’s Day ‘Immoral Acts’

Iran Celebrates Islamic Revolution Anniversary By Waving Egypt Flags

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Iran Celebrates Islamic Revolution Anniversary By Waving Egypt Flags

World Interfaith Harmony Week Opens To Grisly Sectarian Violence

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

This week, newsreaders brave enough to watch the Human Rights Watch video shuddered as they witnessed the graphic February 6 lynching of followers of minority sect Ahmadiyah, attacked by a machete-wielding mob of Indonesian Muslims as they prepared to worship in a Banten, West Java neighborhood.  Two days later, angry mobs in Temanggung, Central Java rampaged and set churches ablaze, incensed that a defendant did not receive the death penalty for blaspheming against Islam.  Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population, and embraces a state philosophy of pluralism and tolerance; however, the nation is rapidly gaining notoriety for some of the worst religious violence in the past year.  In fact, religious extremism and sectarian clashes are probably Indonesia’s most defining characteristics at this point in the news cycle.

What few people do know about Indonesia is that, this week, several of its religious leaders are celebrating the first United Nations Official World Interfaith Harmony Week to convey “the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship… based on love of God and love of one’s neighbor or on love of the good and love of one’s neighbor, each according to their own religious traditions or convictions”.

Considering the inauspicious events that heralded the conference opening, it’s tempting to dismiss the effort as ineffective window-dressing.  But we should not disregard the importance of the Interfaith Harmony Week being observed in Jakarta, even as the rest of the country seems deaf to its message.  Just 15 years ago, Indonesia was under the dictatorial rule of Suharto, internet access was spotty and expensive, the media outlets under strict censorship.  To even suggest that religious conflicts periodically flared in the archipelago was a punishable crime.  There would have been no presidential condemnation of attacks on Christians, because Indonesians would not have read about it online.  No national discourse would have taken place on the lynching of the Ahmadis, because the massacre would have gone unreported – indeed, the very existence of a runaway Islamic sect would not even have been officially acknowledged.    The opening of a dialogue about religious co-existence – amidst two real-time examples of the conflicts faced by Indonesia’s leaders – is a meaningful step towards actually realizing the goal.  The fact that the Chairman of Muhammediyah, Din Syamsuddin can sit in the same room as Indonesian Confucians representative Wawan Wiriatma is, believe it or not, progress.  Considering that Muslims in the next town over are slaughtering their neighbors for worshipping a different Islamic prophet, this conversation does not come easily.

Of course Indonesia needs to take much bigger steps to address sectarian violence against its citizens, and its leaders need to be a lot less coy when discussing the issue.  Din Syamsuddin called for religious tolerance and better communications, but refused to comment specifically on the Ahmadi massacre.  Hasyim Muzadi, former chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization, characterized the recent attacks as a result of ‘provocation’ from interfaith organizations who have called attention to religious intolerance, implying that to report the conflict is to incite further conflict.  But Indonesia’s participation in the Interfaith Harmony Week shows that its leadership is aware and concerned, and perhaps most telling, responsive to international pressure to take at least a symbolic stand against extremism.  As long as they will engage in the dialogue, we must consider them a partner who is willing to improve their record – and window-dressing is better than a closed door.

By Kathryne Gadarian, World News Editor

Muslim Hardliners Attack Churches In Indonesia

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Muslim Hardliners Attack Churches In Indonesia

Brutal Attack On Minority Muslim Village In Indonesia Condemned

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Brutal Attack On Minority Muslim Village In Indonesia Condemned

‘Ground Zero’ Mosque Leader Resigns After Homosexuality Comments

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

‘Ground Zero’ Mosque Leader Resigns After Homosexuality Comments

Crowds In Tunisia Cheer Return Of Islamist Ghannouchi

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Crowds In Tunisia Cheer Return Of Islamist Ghannouchi

Teenage Suicide Bomber Kills 13 In Attack On Pakistan Shi’ites

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Teenage Suicide Bomber Kills 13 In Attack On Pakistan Shi’ites

Egypt Claims Gaza Group Behind Coptic Church Bombing

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Egypt Claims Gaza Group Behind Coptic Church Bombing

British MP: Anti-Muslim Bigotry Has Become Normal In UK

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

British MP: Anti-Muslim Bigotry Has Become Normal In UK

“Burn A Koran” Pastor Banned From The UK

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

“Burn A Koran” Pastor Banned From The UK

Yemen Sentences Radical U.S. Born Cleric In Absentia For Frenchman’s Murder

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Yemen Sentences Radical U.S. Born Cleric In Absentia For Frenchman’s Murder

18 Dead In Continued Religious Violence in Jos, Nigeria

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

18 Dead In Continued Religious Violence In Jos, Nigeria

Historic Vote In Sudan Likely To Create New Nation In Non-Muslim South

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Historic Vote In Sudan Likely To Create New Nation In Non-Muslim South

Morocco Reports Arrests of 27 Suspected Al-Qaeda Militants

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Morocco Reports Arrests of 27 Suspected Al-Qaeda Militants

Pakistan Governer Of Punjab Assassinated By Bodyguard

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Pakistan Governer Of Punjab Assassinated By Bodyguard

Church Bombing In Egypt Kills 21, Raises Fears Of Religious Bloodshed

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Church Bombing In Egypt Kills 21, Raises Fears Of Religious Bloodshed

Deadly Attacks On Christians Intensify Across Baghdad

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Deadly Attacks On Christians Intensify Across Baghdad

More Religious Violence In Nigeria After Christmas Eve Attacks

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

More Religious Violence In Nigeria After Christmas Eve Attacks

38 Dead In Nigeria Christmas Eve Church Attacks

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

38 Dead In Nigeria Christmas Eve Church Attacks

Laurent Gbagbo Defiant As Ivory Coast Risks Return To Civil War

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Laurent Gbagbo Defiant As Ivory Coast Risks Return To Civil War

Dozens Killed In Suicide Bombing Of Shi’ite Mosque In Iran

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Dozens Killed In Suicide Bombing Of Shi’ite Mosque In Iran

Sweden Car Bombs Believed To Be Failed Terrorist Attack

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Sweden Car Bombs Believed To Be Failed Terrorist Attack

15 Dead, 24 Injured in Latest Afghanistan Violence

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

15 Dead, 24 Injured in Latest Afghanistan Violence

Al-Shabaab Extremists Execute Teenage Girls in Somalia

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Al-Shabaab Extremists Execute Teenage Girls In Somalia