Despite the title of the article, which implies a more reciprocal level of activity, the “pushing back” occurring here is but a demonstration held on Sunday, and the ongoing, determined defiance of religious minorities whose only “provocation” is to go on living their lives according to their constitutional rights.
It is not so much pushing back as standing one’s rightful ground. But even that is too much of an affront to Sharia, as shown by the violent response even to the demand for the right to worship in a field. “Religious minorities in Indonesia push back,” by Irwan Firdaus for the Associated Press, August 15:
BEKASI, Indonesia — Tired of government inaction, Christians and other religious minorities in Indonesia are pushing back against rising violence by Islamic hard-liners.
For months, Christians in the industrial city of Bekasi have been warned against worshipping on a field that houses their shuttered church. They’ve arrived to find human feces dumped on the land and sermons have been interrupted by demonstrators chanting “Infidels!” and “Leave now!”
But last week, tensions finally exploded.
That makes it sound like a mutual venting of “tensions,” but read on. The Christians became vocal, and the Muslims became violent:
Twenty worshippers were met by 300 Islamic hard-liners, many of whom hurled shoes and water bottles before pushing past a row of riot police. The mob chased down and punched several members of the group.
“The constitution guarantees our right to practice our religion!” Yudi Pasaribu of the Batak Christian Protestant Church said, vowing to return every Sunday until their request for a place of worship, made more than two years ago, is approved.
“And we want to do that on our own property, in our own church.”
Indonesia, a secular country of 237 million people, has more Muslims than any other in the world. Though it has a long history of religious tolerance, a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.
Hard-liners have also become more violent, according to the Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, a human rights group, which said there have already been 28 attacks on religious freedom in 2010, including everything from preventing groups from performing prayers to burning houses of worship.
The institute said there were 18 such incidents in all of 2009 and 17 in 2008.
Though most Indonesians are moderate and oppose violence, critics say President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s government has been slow to intervene because it relies heavily on the support of Islamic parties in parliament.
If this goes unchallenged, just how “moderate” are they?
Acting on the orders of local officials, police helped hard-liners forcibly close several mosques owned by Ahmadiyah, an Islamic sect they call “deviant,” last month in Manis Lor, a village in West Java province. […]
Hundreds of people held an interfaith rally in Jakarta over the weekend demanding the government take a tougher line.
“Those attackers have to be arrested, otherwise they will feel their actions are right,” said Saur Siagain, a rally organizer, standing in front of a banner that said: “The president has to be responsible in guaranteeing freedom of religion.” […]
In a rare show of force, hundreds of police showed up to protect the Batak Christians on Aug. 8. But they made little effort to stop FPI members as they got increasingly vitriolic.
“The Batak Christians deserve to be stabbed to death,” yelled Murhali Barda, who heads the FPI chapter in Bekasi. “If they refuse to go home we are ready to fight.”
An argument broke out between Barda and three female members of the congregation. The hard-liners shoved and started punching them. All the while, men chanted from a truck and clerics made speeches saying “Leave. … We will not let you perform prayers here!”
Starting ’em young:
The crowd, made up largely of children, cheered in response: “God is great!”