And they want to impose the death penalty for apostasy — yes, right there in modern, moderate Indonesia. Don’t they know that Islam is a Religion of Peaceâ„¢ that teaches tolerance and has no penalty for apostasy? Honest Ibe Hooper, call your office!
Here is a useful summary piece covering many of the stories coming out of Bekasi that we have posted here recently. “Bekasi (West Java), Indonesia: jihad threat level high,” by Elizabeth Kendal for Continental News, July 9 (thanks to all who sent this in):
On Sunday 27 June Islamic fundamentalist leaders at the Bekasi Islamic Congress demanded the city administration of Bekasi, West Java, enact Sharia (Islamic) laws so as to ‘limit’ apostasy. (Sharia limits apostasy by making it a capital offence.) They also proposed that every mosque in Bekasi form its own paramilitary unit (‘laskar’) that can be quickly mobilised for ‘war’ against Christians if ‘Christianisation’ is not halted in line with Muslim demands.
The next day militants belonging to the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) raided a restaurant in Banyuwangi, East Java, where MPs were running a health bill familiarisation program. FPI secretary general, Awit Mashuri, defended the FPI’s actions, telling TVOne that the FPI is not a law unto itself and always ‘coordinates’ with state apparatus before taking any action. According to Awit, on this occasion the FPI’s intelligence came from a ‘district military intelligence unit’. The FPI claimed the raid was necessary to destroy an illegal meeting of ‘Communists’. Outraged Indonesian legislators called for the FPI to be banned. However, others simply recommended rule of law, noting that if the FPI is banned other groups will just emerge in its place.
This is the watershed issue on which the future of Indonesia hangs: is the government prepared to enforce the law, especially in the context of rising Islamic fundamentalism, belligerence and ‘talibanisation’? According to Eva Kusuma Sundari, an Indonesian MP with the Democratic Party of Struggle, ‘There is information saying the FPI is a pet of the TNI [Indonesian military], and the police hesitate to deal face-to-face with the military, because police consider the armed forces their elder brother.’ Of course the Defence Ministry denied the allegation, maintaining that all TNI were ‘professional soldiers who obey the law’. Eva Kusuma Sundari has also learned that the FPI was registered by a decree of the Home Ministry in 2006, so it cannot be banned without an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Last Saturday 3 July some 100 jihadist recruits turned out for an inaugural military training exercise in an open field in Bekasi. The stated aim was to ‘strike fear into the hearts of Christians’. ‘If they refuse to stop what they are doing, we’re ready to fight,’ said Murhali Barda, the head of the local FPI chapter. One Bekasi mosque has erected an enormous banner that reads ‘ Death penalty for Andreas Dusly Sanau . . .’ and pictures the local Protestant pastor with his head in a flaming noose….