Irony lost on Indonesia’s Muslims
Posted by sanityinjection on August 22, 2008
ABC News reports that students at a Christian theological seminary in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, have been forced off their campus by violence and threats from the Muslim-majority neighborhood.
This story is disturbing on many levels. Violence between Christians and Muslims in Indonesia is not new, but the government seems increasingly unwilling to protect the rights of minorities. One would generally expect the capital city to be the most cosmopolitan, liberal, and tolerant. It’s the face that the country shows to the outside world. If this is how things are in Jakarta, you can pretty much assume that religious freedom has ceased to exist in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and once considered an example of moderate Islam.
What is ironic about this? Consider the following: The Christian seminary is a wholly peaceful institution, which has never troubled anybody, and whose students, faculty, and administration are all native Indonesians. They are being forced off their property, while numerous Islamic madrassas, which are founded with foreign (Saudi) money, whose faculty are mostly Arab foreigners, which preach hatred and violence, and which have been directly tied to terrorist attacks in Indonesia in which innocent civilians were killed, are allowed to flourish. Now, as a Muslim Indonesian, which insititution would you feel poses a greater danger to you?
Of course, there is always more to the story. Reading on, we discover that the trouble started after the school refused to sell their land to property speculators. It seems clear that the “religious” strife was whipped up by those seeking to profit from the school’s departure. That has disturbing echoes of the orchestration of violence and expulsions of Jews in Nazi Germany by neighbors who coveted their property and possessions. Indeed, it was a particular genius of the Nazis to popularize anti-Semitism by marrying it with a profit motive; those who profited from the plight of the Jews would have neither the motivation nor the credibility to oppose the Nazis in future.
As someone recently wrote, “I hope they end up with the country they deserve.”