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Isn’t it so comforting to see justice being administered so swiftly and decisively in Indonesia. Justice, which moves so slowly and timidly when FPI guys are on the giving end, apparently speeds up when the violence goes another way.
Unspun is not so much perplexed by the seemingly uneven-handedness of the law in Indonesia, which is not an unusual thing, but the reputation of the poor FPI victims. Those of you who know anything about the FPI guys will know that they are real tough guys who would want to make Al Capone look like a sissy.
Tough guys, as we know from countless gangster movies, always settle their scores their way. A butterfly knife, a pistol shot, a golok, a big stick are the usual method of getting back at anyone who offends them or attacks them. So what sort of a tough guy is this who runs to the police and the courts for protection and restitution?
Will other gangsters respect him from now on? Or will they laugh at him, like a boy who wets his pants at the sight of his own shadow. Will other FPI members, if they actually have a brain, be able to look at him straight in the eyes and prevent themselves from giggling?
These are the questions that matter where gangsters are concerned, not how justice is or is not dispensed by the police and courts. So get with the program.
The Semarang district court on Tuesday declared two men guilty for abusing a member of a hard-line Islamic group.
Koes Setiawan Danang Marwardi, locally known as Iwan Walet, was sentenced to 15 months in jail, while his cohort, Mardi Sugeng, also known as Gembor, received one year in prison.
Presiding Judge Boedi Soseanto said that both men were proven convincingly guilty for attacking Dwi Pamuji, a member of the extremist group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), this past May.
“Both defendants violated Article 170 of the Criminal Code on abuse according to the indictment,” Boedi read during the ruling on Tuesday, as quoted by Antara news agency.
Iwan Walet, a recidivist, apologized earlier to the victim and promised the judge that he would not repeat his mistake.
Though the sentence was three months shorter than what Bima Suprayoga, the prosecutor, demanded, both he and the convicts accepted the ruling.
During the previous session of court, Iwan admitted to beating the victim with a 100-cm metal pole, while Gembor confessed that he kicked and beat Dwi with a brick.
After the ruling was read, some FPI members shouted at the judge and asked him to release the convicts so that they could take revenge. Iwan then stared at the FPI supporters and challenged them — he shouted “One guts!” and his supporters answered him with “Ora Wedi,” Javanese for “Not Afraid.”
After the case, FPI members tried to attack Iwan’s supporters, but police officers prevented them doing so and escorted them out of the court.
Interesting to see the Indonesian Buddhists, or people claiming to represent them, being so worked up about the KPK’s investigation into their benefactor and SBY’s, Hatarti.
Earlier, one of the priests had said that the Buddhists in this country would be psychologically disturbed if Hartati was arrested. The authorities should therefore let her go.
Religion is a convenient vehicle for mortals to use to serve their vested interests. One wonders how much of a benefactor, financially, Hatarti has contributed to the buddhist associations? And if she had not done that would the putative Buddhists be so worked up over the arrest of yet another tycoon with dubious ties with officials?
But the remarkable thing here is that the aim of Buddhism is to free themselves from the affairs of this world, so that they may focus on being aware and hopefully achieve enlightenment.
So won’t all these lobbying and demonstrating efforts detract one from the Middle Path? Is there Right Intention and Right Action here? If not, would they be better of if they just say their Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhus and let this go?
Hundreds of Buddhists gathered on Wednesday in front of the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) office to pray for graft suspect Siti Hartati Cakra Murdaya Poo.
The prayer, led by monk Tadisa Paramita Mahasthavira, begged for the KPK leaders to attain enlightenment on the issue and petitioned them to not cave into pressure from people that dislike Hartati.
Hartati is the chairwoman of the Indonesian Buddhist Council known as Walubi
“They should not impose their will and charge our chairwoman,” the secretary general of Walubi, Gatot Sukarno Adi, said on Wednesday.
Hartati, a wealthy associate of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, faces charges that she paid Rp 3 billion ($318,000) in bribes to Buol district chief Amran Batalipu in exchange for favorable land concessions needed to extend Hardaya Inti Plantation’s palm oil operations in Central Sulawesi.
Gatot maintains that Hartati is not guilty.
Not long after the Walubi prayer ended, a civil organization called the People’s Alliance Against Extortion (AMAN) protested in front of the KPK office as well to show support for Hartati.
The coordinator of AMAN, Kevin Wu, asserted that Hartati is a symbol of the Indonesian people’s struggle against extortion.
“Hartati Murdaya is a businesswoman, an investment pioneer and a hero that has brought development to Buol. She is the victim of the Buol district chief’s extortion in this case,” said Wu.
According to Hartati, Amran extorted her, asking for money in order to solve a problem that arose between the company and the local people. She has denied that she ever bribed Amran.
Amran’s lawyer, however, claims that Hartati also bribed other candidates for district chief.
Ah ‘Tis the Season. Unspun‘s spent many dawns being frightened from his sleep due to the fact that there are at least three mosques nearby.
The question: “Why doesn’t anyone tell them to tone down?” occurred to Unspun but being a coward, he’s too afraid to even utter it to the weeds in his garden, lest the neighbors hear of it and take offense. It is a touchy subject and even though the intention of questioning is to try to understand, it is often misconstrued as an attempt to insult and denigrate the religion.
Unspun‘s also thought that there must be many Muslims themselves who must have asked the same question, but apart from Vice President Boediono who brought up the subject – and was roundly castigated by the faithful for it – Unspun‘s known of no one with such acute hearing. And who could blame them since even the VP is not free from vitriolic criticism.
But it is question worth answering. Another associated question that begs for an answer is why do the mosque wallahs insist on blaring their devotions in ultra-high decibels.
Is it that they believe that people will become more pious if they hear a louder version of devotion? A bit like heavy Metal Fans being more passionate than, say, Air Supply fans? Is it a power trip by the mosque wallahs? (See, I can turn up the volume and what can you do about it if you don’t like it?)
Or is there some other reason? The Jakarta Globe (in spite of its horrible editorials) has done a good job of raising the issue. Would be good if they followed up by interviewing clerics on why they turn up the volume.
In Indonesia, Mosque Cacophony Under Scrutiny
Ahmad Pathoni | August 01, 2012
Diana Marsella lives next to a mosque in central Jakarta and the call to Islamic morning prayer jolts her out of her slumber every day before dawn.
“It’s so loud that it will wake you from your deepest sleep,” the 27-year-old computer programmer said of the scratchy announcements. “I wish they’d turn down the volume and use a better sound system.”
Calls for Indonesian mosques to lower the volume of loudspeakers have mounted during the current Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, when activity at Islamic places of worship increases.
In addition to calls to prayer, known as adhan, Indonesians use loudspeakers at mosques to amplify Koranic recitals and sermons.
Discordant voices fill entire neighborhoods during any of the five prayer times, when all the local mosques blast the adhan at the same time.
Former vice president Jusuf Kalla, who is also the chairman of the Indonesian Mosque Council, said he would organize training for mosque officials about acceptable noise levels.
“We’re not going to ban the use of loudspeakers at mosques, but the noise level must be regulated,” he was quoted as saying in local media last week.
Indonesia has more Muslims than any other country but it has also sizeable religious minorities. The country is home to about 800,000 mosques.
Even the hard-line Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI), a group known for attacking bars and other nightspots accused of flouting restrictions on opening hours during Ramadan in the past, believe mosques should keep it down so as not to disturb people, especially non-Muslim.
Koranic recitals are encouraged during Ramadan, when Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk and religious fervor is high.
“We’re worried about possible negative perceptions,” said Salim Alatas, the head of the FPI’s Jakarta branch. “Unless one is exceptionally softly spoken, no loudspeaker is necessary, especially at night.”
A businessman sees the increasing unease about the cacophony as an opportunity to introduce high fidelity sound to the places of worship.
Harry Aprianto Kissowo’s company produces loudspeakers, including a range of sound systems especially designed for mosques under the brand Al Karim.
“We want change the image of mosques as places with poor quality sound systems,” Kissowo said.
“Mosques can produce high-fidelity sound too. Calls to prayer can still be heard, and they can also be music to people’s ears.” Kissowo said his company had provided sound systems to the presidential palace and exported its products to the United States, Japan and Russia.
Guidelines on the use of loudspeakers were issued by Indonesian authorities decades ago, including a requirement for mosques to use only inside speakers for activities other than calls to prayer, but they are often ignored.
In April, Vice President Boediono triggered a debate by saying that mosques need not be too loud, something that few officials dare to say openly.
“We are all aware that the adhan is a holy call for Muslims to perform their prayers,” he said at the annual conference of the Indonesian Mosque Council.
“But I, and probably others too, feel that the sounds of adhan that are heard faintly from a distance resonate more in our hearts that those that are too loud and too close to our ears.” Some Indonesians criticized his remarks, arguing mosque noise is part of daily life in a Muslim-majority country and that he should talk about more pressing issues like corruption.
Here are two different but fascinating stories. It takes place in different countries and different times, but they both tell the story about how you can fool (and intimidate) all the people some of the time but not all the people all the time.
The first is set in the US in the 1950s, when the country was gripped by Cold War Tensions. Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy exploited the fears and uncertainties and claimed that he had a list of Communists and Soviet sympathizers in the US Government and society.
Thereafter, using Senate Hearings as his bully pulpit he proceeded to launch a witch hunt against the putative Communists. Many innocent lives were affected. Careers were destroyed and some of his victims took their own lives.
For a moment he seemed unassailable. If you spoke out against then that meant you were a Communist or a sympathizer. There were some dissenting voices but by and large most people were afraid to provoke the ire of McCarthy because of his thuggish and intimidating tactics.
Then one fine day, the mirror cracked. McCarthy was trying to implicate a young man who belonged to the law firm of US Army legal counsel Joseph Welch in senate hearing that was broadcast live on TV. Welch stood up to McCarthy in his now famous “You Have no Decency” response (see YouTube video below) and it was over. From there McCarthy was exposed for the charlatan he was and stripped bare. People realized that the King had no clothes and McCarty went on a downward spiral. The Senate censured him and he died 10 years later, supposedly of a heart attack but widely suspected of dying from alcoholism.
The second story is set in present day Indonesia, which is in the grip of indecision and political intrigue between the various political parties and government institutions . Habib Riziq exploited this situation to build his base of support in Jakarta through the FPI and is now trying to extend his influence in the rest of this country.
His tactics, like, Mccarthy’s are similar. Thuggism that intimidates dissenting voices. The FPI has been threatening people and even the police with impunity. Even though there are dissenting voices, people are generally afraid of confronting him or the FPI. They not only destroy lives but also property.
Now comes the fine day yesterday in which hundreds of people from the Dayak community in Kalimantan stood up to Habib and the FPI by banning him from landing in Palankaraya airport and rejecting the FPI’s presence in their backyard. Is this Indonesia’s “You have no decency” moment?
“Ini momentum bagi masyarakat lain, bisa jadi contoh untuk jangan diam saja kalau melihat ada benih-benih intoleransi,” kata Bonar.
Keberanian masyarakat adat suku Dayak untuk menolak keberadaan Front Pembela Islam FPI di Provinsi Kalimantan Tengah harus dihargai dan menjadi contoh bagi masyarakat lain untuk berani menentang benih-benih intoleransi antar umat beragama.
“Keberanian masyarakat Dayak untuk menolak FPI secara terbuka itu harus kita hargai, dan seharusnya menjadi inspirasi bagi yang lain untuk berani bicara dan bertindak melawan intoleransi,” kata Wakil Ketua Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, Bonar Tigor Naipospos, hari ini.
Ratusan masyarakat adat Dayak di Palangkaraya menolak kedatangan anggota FPI ke kota tersebut dalam rangka tablig akbar, karena khawatir keberadaan mereka akan mengganggu keharmonisan antar umat beragama di Provinsi Kalteng.Menurut Bonar, penolakan tersebut sangat wajar dan bisa dimengerti mengingat catatan aksi FPI.”FPI kan sudah ada di Kalimantan Timur, mereka sudah melakukan sweeping beberapa kali dan bahkan menganggu komunitas Ahmadiyah di Samarinda. Wajar kalau para pemuda Dayak khawatir kalau kejadian yang sama akan terulang di provinsi mereka,” kata Bonar.
Menurutnya, ada lebih banyak lagi pengikut Ahmadiyah di provinsi Kalimantan Tengah, bahkan jumlahnya adalah yang terbesar di provinsi Kalimantan.Lebih jauh Bonar menambahkan bahwa penolakan masyarakat adat Dayak terhadap keberadaan FPI tetap membutuhkan alasan yang sangat kuat agar tidak menentang hak umum untuk berserikat dan mendirikan organisasi.
Bonar juga mengatakan sebaiknya dijalin dialog antara kedua pihak dan FPI harus berjanji bahwa mereka tidak akan melakukan tindakan kekerasan dan melanggar hukum.”Jika mereka tidak mau menurut syarat tersebut, barulah bisa ditolak keberadaannya,” kata Bonar.Bonar menambahkan radikalisme adalah hal yang tidak mungkin bisa dihindarkan, namun selagi para penganut kepercayaan radikal tersebut tidak melakukan tindak kekerasan atau menyebarkan pesan kebencian maka keberadaannya masih bisa ditoleransi.
“Ini momentum bagi masyarakat lain, bisa jadi contoh untuk jangan diam saja kalau melihat ada benih-benih intoleransi,” kata Bonar.
In Unspun’s last posting we featured the silliness of TV8 in Malaysia and its Ramadhan message. While the flak is still flying in Malaysia, Indonesia’s TVOne (what is it with TV stations and numerals?) seems to have come up with silliness of their own.
TV stations traditionally air a videoclip to accompany the adz an prayers. Typical messages are, of course, exhorting people to be religious, to be tolerant, to have compassion. This year, however, TVOne has a different message:
It starts with a tailor being treated badly. This inspires him to get even by doing well for himself. So he goes to the bank to get a loan, start a business. As he prospers he buys a car.
Here’s where product placement gets ridiculous. The camera has the requisite handshake-to-denote-closed-deal shot and as it pans out, very prominently we see the Daihatsu marqe and the make of the model of the car – Sirjohn (what sort of an idiot will name a car Sirjohn anyway?)
As the car leaves the showroom, breaking all the rules of the Highway Code because it does not have a legit number plate but the ridiculous SIRJOHN, the camera carefully pans across a – you guessed it – DAIHATSU showroom and the fact that it is part of ASTRA International.
What were the marketing people at Astra Daihatsu and their advertising company thinking? Unspun supposes the question is moot because if they were thinking at all they would have realized that something like that smacks of a brand exploiting religion to sell its products, would backfire.
Already, Twitter is all abuzz with this insensitivity on the part of Astra and Daihatsu. Let’s see how they will drive their way out of all this.
Except that everyone else does not go around the country with righteous piety, trying to enact legislation banning pornography in the name of morality and religion. Unspun thinks the we-are-all-the-same defense is very lame. Earns an Unspun shit-for-brains tag
Arifinto: ‘I am a human. I err like everyone else’
Arifinto, the former House of Representatives member from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) who was photographed while watching pornography last week said goodbye to his constituency after resigning on Monday.
“Visiting my constituents in Karawang, Bekasi and Purwakarta has been scheduled in the party’s agenda. But now I change the purpose. Not only do I want to listen to their aspirations and needs, I also want to say goodbye, as I have resigned from my party,” he said.
Karawang was the first stop. “Today I met some of my friends in Karawang. I will visit Purwakarta and Bekasi soon,” he said.
He apologized for his behavior during the plenary session. “I am a human. I err like anyone else. I said this to the people and to the party. They understood,” he said.
Arifanto said he would be back to his old profession as businessman. “Basically, I am a businessman. I will run my printing company again,” he said. (lfr)
Here’s another Malaysian that’s inspired another shit-for-brains tag in this blog. The Poco-Poco dance is as harmless as you can get and Unspun’s known many a woman who has danced it and not turned into some depraved nymphomaniac or cultist.
Where do these clerics get such ideas that the Poco Poco is cultist? And Christian influences? The Koran itself has Christian influences. Where do these inbred clerics get the notion that the Faith is so weak that some jiggling of the body will lead them down the road of temptation and damnation?
Shit for brains is the only plausible answer.
Malaysia clerics ban ‘poco-poco’ dance for Muslims
– Fri Apr 1, 1:30 am ET
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Islamic clerics in a Malaysian state want Muslims to avoid a popular dance they claim has Christian influences.
The “poco-poco” is a line dance that is common at social events in Muslim-majority Malaysia. It is widely thought to have originated in Indonesia.
Islamic scholars in Malaysia’s Perak state say they believe the “poco-poco” is traditionally a Christian dance and that its steps make the sign of the cross.
State cleric Harussani Idris Zakaria said Friday the scholars have issued an edict forbidding the dance. It is not clear if other states will ban it.
Some Muslims insist the ban is unnecessary. Malaysian clerics have also banned yoga for Muslims and barred girls from behaving like tomboys, but the edicts are not legally binding.
This Allah issue in Malaysia is getting ridiculous and dangerous – the latest developments include the firebombings of churches in Taiping.
Ironically Taiping, where Unspun grew up in the state of Perak in Malaysia, is means “Great Peace” in Chinee. It was given the name after a bloody civil war between rival Hokkien and Cantonese migrants in the tin trade. For many years since Taiping has enjoyed the serenity of its namesake and the biggest action in town when Unspun was growing up was when they installed traffic lights in the road junctions.
The firebombings last week has destroyed whatever Great Peace Taiping seems to have had. Perhaps it is a sign of the times.
In this entire hoo ha one question that needs to e asked is what is the role of the Malaysian Government playing in all this? If you will recall, it was the Malaysian Government that triggered the issue in the first place when the Home Minister forbade the Catholic Church to use the word Allah in its newsletter Herald.
When the Church successfully challenged the order in the Malaysian High Court, the Malaysian Government said it would appeal, and it did on the grounds that if the Catholics were allowed to use the word Allah there MIGHT be racial conflict.
The problem with prophecies is that they tend to be self-fulfilling. So did the Malaysian Government inadvertently suggest the idea of racial conflict or was it cynically prescient in predicting the future?
This is a question worth thinking about. But while pondering about this, what to do about the genie that is being let out of the bottle with the firebombings of the churches in KL and Taiping?
Here Malaysians should Look South and learn from the Indonesians about religious harmony. When there were riots in 1997 the more responsible Muslim groups not only did not partake in the destruction of churches and calling for calm, they actively form brigades to guard against the violent attacks of their fellow muslims against churches. How cool is that?
And for those, like the Malaysian Government, who advance the idiotic argument that the use of the word Allah by other religious groups would encourage Muslims to change their religions, they should also Look South to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world where over 90 percent of its residents have been and remain Muslims.
Here churches use Allah freely in their sermons and in the Bibles they use, Muslims do not whip themselves into a fervor if Muslims decide to change religions, and Allah is just another word for God, whether they are of Christian, Muslim or other persuasions. And the result? No widespread defection of Muslims to other religions. Go figure!