Saturday, April 4, 2009

Extremists 'infiltrating Indonesia'

JAKARTA: Islamic extremists are infiltrating all levels of
society in Indonesia, threatening its traditions of religious
pluralism and tolerance, warned a new report backed by moderate
Muslim leaders.
It said these extremists were influenced by Wahhabism, the more
fundamentalist brand of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia and the
ideology of the militant Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt.
They were members of the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party (PKS)
and the radical Muslim group, Hizbut Tahrir, in Indonesia, said
the report.
With funding from Saudi Arabia, they had taken over some mosques
belonging to moderate Muslim groups Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul
Ulama, as well as infiltrated government departments and even
the government-appointed Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), it said.
MUI, the top Islamic authority in Indonesia, was described as
the 'bunker of fundamentalist and subversive movements', issuing
counterproductive fatwas that ban secularism, pluralism and
liberalism, along with branding certain groups as deviant.
The report accused the PKS of trying to grab political power by
infiltrating mainstream Islamic organisations and to win
converts by building village mosques funded with Saudi money.
'Opportunistic politicians who work with extremist political
parties and groups have joined the radicals in driving our
nation towards a deep chasm,' wrote former president Abdurrahman
Wahid, the editor of the report released on Thursday.
'They are jeopardising the future of our multi-religious and
multi-ethnic nation.'
Mr Abdurrahman set up the LibForAll Foundation with American
businessman C. Holland Taylor. The foundation conducted two
years of research for the report, The Illusion Of An Islamic
State: The Expansion Of Transnational Islamist Movements To
Indonesia. It was jointly published by the Wahid Institute, the
Maarif Institute and the Bhinneka Tunngal Ika, or 'Unity in
Diversity', movement.
The report called on Indonesia's elite and public at large to
defend their nation's tradition of religious pluralism and
tolerance, and to prevent radicals from establishing a so-called
'Islamic state'.
The PKS, which is likely to form a coalition with President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party after next week's
elections, has denied having a hidden agenda to promote an
Islamic state and 'infiltrating' mosques.
'Our members are Muslims who go to the mosques and many are
naturally active in the mosques. How can you say we infiltrate
these places of worship?' said PKS legislator Zulkieflimansyah,
adding that his party does not receive funding from Saudi Arabia.
Hizbut Tahrir spokesman Ismail Yusanto also objected to the use
of the word 'infiltration', saying it was provocative and
implied 'evil intention'.
The Straits Times (Singapore)
Saturday, April 4, 2009

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