zaterdag 15 september 2018

'Antrian' or lining up for position no 2

Following Indonesian politics from a European town is not so easy. Television is important, one should people hear and see. And in Utrecht we do not see the faces. The Jakarta Post has since long no real interesting analysis. Kompas is quite cryptic for people not living in the country. is an internet site for academic publications. It has now an quite lucid analysis by Najib Burhani and Deasy Simanjuntak on the choice by Jokowi to take the 76 year old Ma'ruf Amin (only 3 months younger than my own age!) as his Vice President in the elections of coming year, April 2019.
There were several other candidates, some already with the white dress of Jokowi. It was not Mahfud MD, chief justic in the  Constitutional Court), but the leader of MUI and NU Ma'ruf Amin who is the running mate.
Above we see the two, apparently during medical screening.
In the analysis of Burhani much emphasis is given to the age: with 76 year Ma'ruf Amin is no candidate for the elections of 2024: no warming up for the process of becoming the next president. This was the reason why Muhaimin Iskandar of the younger generation of NU had no problems with his old leader. In Muslim circles quite many have hope for themselves to become a next president (Amine Rais also? Dien Syamsuddin?) and much of the debate is already about the next line for the succession!
There are also a new candidates in the political arena whom they mention: TGB from Lombok: Tuan Guru Bajang, now governor of NTB. Also Ustadz Abdul Somad, young and popular preacher (now more popular than AAGym).
But more important is the question: how will conservative, traditionalist Muslim make this choice: will they now leave the party Prabowo? The Populi Center counted in February 34.6% of Muhammadiyah for Prabowo, as well as 25.4% of NU. We will see how things develop. They found it quite surprising and strange that Jokowi took a very conservative cleric as running mate (who was agianst Ahok, signed the terrible fatwa against Ahmadiyyah), while Prabowo has a more 'secular' running mate, economist Sandiago Uno. We get accustomed to new names. Below the new faces again!

maandag 10 september 2018

Joke or yoke? The Bupati of Bireuen on coffee parties

The Bupati of Bireuen, Saifunnur ('Sword of Licht') has issued a local regulation about coffee drinking in café and restaurant: a woman is only allowed to enjoy a coffee with a non-muhrim man (no husband, no family), if she is in the company of a muhrim. She is even not allowed to have a meal, or a simple drink anywhere in a public place.
This message was sent in a facebook chain without any comment of words. But there was a simple image added, clear enough, I think.
When is drinking coffee haram or halal was the question added. And this was just one of a whole series of regulations issued by this bupati.
The answer to the question of halal/haram may also be found in the Gospel of Matthew 11:30, where Jesus says about his interpretation of the sometimes  weard interpretations of Jewish law: my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
When I was teaching at the State Academy of Islamic Sciences  (now UIN), in Jakarta and Yogyakarta, 1981-1988, students saw that I was often critical about Christianity and positive about Islam. Some asked: why do you not convert fully to Islam? I always answered, 'Better be a critical Christian than a subdued Muslim who, as a muallaf has to accept all rules and cannot be critical anymore'. There is no perfect religion in this earth, but we have to careful that religions anyway remain reasonable.

zondag 2 september 2018

Inflated and dangerous accusations of blasphemy

Blasphemy is a hot issue in Pakistan, where all kind of Christians and other people easily can be condemned in court cases for anything that does not honour the Prophet Muhammad or other aspects of Islam. Last week this has hit the well-known Dutch critic of Islam, politician and member of parliament Geert Wilders. He had announced a contest of making cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad, to be shown in November 2018 in the building of parliament. Although he was only allowed to show these in the private rooms of his own party in that public building, the idea has caused such vehement protests in Pakistan (with thread to stop all trade with the Netherklands, send the ambassador home), that Wilders last week has withdrawn his proposal.

In Indonesia the best known case are the demonstrations aganst Jakarta governor Ahok in December 2016, which have caused that he is still in prison now (until early 2019), just for giving his personal opinion about the interpretation of a verse of the Qur'an.
On 22 July this year a Chinese lady in the town of Tanjung Balei complained to neighbours about the loudspeakers of the mosque just next to her house. She had the impression that it was much louder than before and said that it even was painful in her ears. This is a complaint that I also heard from Muslim colleagues in Yogyakarta: they come late to the Friday prayers, because the sound of the loudspeakers is so painful that they do not like to sit there for ten-twenty minutes, before the Friday prayers start.
Meiliana could not guess that this remark would evoke a chain of protests from the side of Muslims of her town. How just this simple remark could lead to a chain of violence is not clear. On 29 July the DKM, Dewan Kemakmuran Masjid, the Governing Body of the Mosque Al Maksum, came to her house with questions like: 'Do you want us to stop at all with the call to prayer?' There were also general negative remarks about Chinese and Muslims:
"One Ustaz complained that Chinese are arrogant, that close to temples many prostitutes are found, Muslim girls who are sold to Chinese." This 'iterrogation' ended after the last prayers that day in a demonstration.
 The result was that during the demonstration, the house of Meilana was set to fire. But it was soon exstinguished because her neighbour was selling gas in bottles. Thereupon a large number of demonstrators went to several Chinese temples and not less than 14 Chinese temples were ransacked in a violent atmosphere that began about 21:00 and lasted until shortly after midnight, when riot police came in a calmed down the region.
The result was that some of the leaders of the riots were setneced to three months of prison, but the 44 year old Chinese lady Meilana was sentenced to 1 1/2 year prison beaucse of penodaan agama, defamation of religion. A sad end to a development that apparently could not be stopped (or was rather abused by politicians who take profit from these developments in order to increase their popularity). An observer called this 'hate spin', the profit generated by hate.