Wherever there arises a renewed interest in Sharia, the observable effect is that tolerance decreases and harassment increases, and violent persecution often results with the aim of putting the unbelievers in their supposed place. “Violence against Indonesia’s religious minorities surges -HRW,” from by Thin Lei Win for AlertNet, January 24 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
BANGKOK (AlertNet) — Violence against religious minorities surged in Indonesia in 2011, with authorities standing aside and failing to uphold the rule of law as Islamist mobs attacked Christians and Ahmadis, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its annual report on the country.
The report, part of a larger HRW publication monitoring human rights in more than 90 countries, also said violence continued to rack [sic] Papua and West Papua. The report said the authorities used excessive force against peaceful protesters in these Indonesian provinces, where a low-level separatist insurgency has been going on for decades.
Elaine Pearson, the group’s deputy Asia director, said attacks on religious minorities and police violence in Papua “got a lot worse in 2011.”
“The common thread is the failure of the Indonesian government to protect the rights of all its citizens,” she said.
The report said senior government officials, including Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali, Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi, and Minister of Human Rights and Law Patrialis Akbar, “continued to justify restrictions on religious freedom in the name of public order.”
Incidents of sectarian violence “got more deadly and more frequent” last year, with 184 cases of religious attacks in the first nine months of 2011, the rights group said. Churches as well as Ahmadi mosques and communities in various places came under assault.
The Ahmadis are followers of a minority Ahmadiyya sect founded in the 19th century. They believe there have been other prophets of Islam since its founder Mohammad, although he is regarded as the most important. Mainstream Muslims consider them heretical, and Ahmadis face increasing threats of violence in many countries including Pakistan and Indonesia.
“Short prison terms for a handful of offenders did nothing to dissuade mob violence,” the report added, pointing to the February incident in western Java when some three Ahmadis were killed and five injured when some 1,500 Islamic militants attacked a house.
The event was caught on film — police officers were shown watching as the mob wreaked havoc — but only 12 men were charged, and none for manslaughter. One of the Ahmadis injured in the attack was later convicted of assault and disobeying police orders.