By Jakarta Globe
Jun 21, 2015
Forcing minority groups like the Muslim Shiites and the Ahmadiyah to live for years in a refugee is tantamount to state-sponsored crime because it has been done systematically under the authority’s blessing and help. It is against international laws and Indonesia’s own constitution.
Continued violence against these groups is a testament of President Joko Widodo’s failure to keep his promises, which include protecting the rights of marginalized communities and the principles of pluralism and diversity.
Plurality and the protection of minority is the raison d’etre of Indonesia’s existence and continue to unite its people as a nation. Joko must not play around with this issue. The Shiites and Ahmadis are as much Indonesian as other groups, including the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a violent radical movement that claims the full right of Islam and attacks those whose faith and opinions differ from theirs.
The Shiites and Ahmadis have every right to receive state and legal protection as anyone else in Indonesia. Authorities should have banned the FPI, but instead, they are going after peace-loving groups like the Shiite and Ahmadiyah, both of whom have no record of conducting any violence or wrongdoing.
At least 300 Shiites have been forced to leave their homes in Sampang, Madura, to live in refugee camp since 2012, while dozens of Ahmadi families in Lombok have been living in similar camp since 2004. In the process, both communities were denied many of their rights during their lives as refugees
We voted for Joko because we believed he would provide our marginalized brothers and sisters across the archipelago with the protection they deserve. Now, however, we have reasons to doubt his every word.
He and Vice President Jusuf Kalla can kid themselves, claiming Indonesia’s brand of Islam as polite, full of courtesy and tolerance. However, we can’t call ourselves moderate and tolerant until we guarantee our Shiite and Ahmadi brothers and sisters the rights they are entitled to as citizens and human beings.