The Death of Faith in Indonesia

By N. Mark Castro

In one of the most shameful displays of utter ministerial incapability, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali has claimed he is unable to make a declaration that the Shia Islamic sect is not heretical in order to prevent future attacks against the community in Sampang, East Java, and elsewhere.

According to Suryadharma, neither he, nor any other government official, was in a position to make such a judgment about any religious minority group.

Whether it’s a cowardly act, lack of political will, or a compromised and populist position, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali fail to fully comprehend the very nature of his position. His job is not to cater to a specific religion, but rather to ensure that all religions as recognized and guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia should be upheld and protected in any and all means available to the government.

The problem isn’t so much as he can’t decide whether or not his fellow Moslem brothers who happen to follow Shiite doctrine are heretics. It’s that he can’t decide to uphold first that, regardless of their doctrines, they are first guaranteed to practice their faith, whether others like it or not.

Yes, labeling a belief system as heretical or not requires a tremendous amount of research, inter-faith dialogue, or some such, and his job doesn’t particularly require it now; what it does require, however, is that he takes a very strong position in upholding a faith that runs counter to his.

You see, even though Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali is a Moslem, he is not a Minister to the Moslems. He is a Minister to the entire Republic of Indonesia.

But I can understand the little annoying problem that the ineffective minister has. I can also understand the challenges he faces day in and day out in his busy office, promoting the will of Allah. It’s all easy anyway, if only the entire Parliament would listen to him, if they could just help him erase a little provision in the Constitution, this is it:

Chapter XI: Religion

The nation is based on belief in God, but the state guarantees religious freedom for all.

Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali can give the entire Parliament an option:

  1. Erase the entire provision, or,
  2. Just change God to Islam, surely, after all, God must be Moslem.

Picture from Antara News. No copyright infringement intended.

Then everything will be in order. No more of these pathetic applications for a new Church or some such. Then life will be peaceful and we can all live peacefully, under the direct and benevolent leadership of the FPI.
Case closed.

About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the chief political communications strategist for PT AsiaLeads, a political and communications policy-making body based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also the Executive Director at the Southeast Asia Consulting Group, an investment advisory company assisting clients roll out their presence for the ASEAN Economic Integration in partnership with government. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on September 5, 2012, in General, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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