Madura ulamas write to president over Ahok’s alleged blasphemy case




LEADERS of Islamic boarding schools have written to President Joko Widodo, urging that the due process of law should follow in the alleged case of blasphemy involving Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok).

The letter was written by leaders of these schools across Madura Island in East Java Province. “We sent a letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo today,” chief of All-Madura Islamic Boarding Schools Association (HP3M) KH Lailurrahman said in a press briefing at Pamekasan Police Precinct here on Friday.

The letter, dated October 26, 2016, was signed by HP3M Chief KH Lailurrahman and his secretary KH Djakfar Shodik. The ulamas said if the legal process in this case was not followed, it will trigger larger rallies against Ahok, the Jakarta governor who is seeking re-election in February 2017.

In the letter, the ulamas also mentioned several articles in the 1945 Constitution that could form the legal basis for their call, including article 1 para 2; article 1 para 3; article 4 para 1; article 24 para 1; article 27 para 1; and article 30 para 4. “Article 4 para 1 of the Constitution stipulates that the President of the Republic of Indonesia holds government power in accordance with the law,” he noted.

Article 30 para 4 stipulates that the Indonesian police is a state apparatus assigned to keep security and public order, protect and serve the public and uphold the law, he underlined. He lamented that it seemed the police had not bothered about the case despite widespread protests against the Jakarta governor.

The Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) said Ahok has committed blasphemy citing a Al Maidah verse 51. Ahok told people in the Seribu Islands not to be deceived by people using the verse asking them not to elect a non-Muslim leader in the forthcoming election.

Also read: MUI: Ahok’s statement is a blasphemy and has legal consequences

MUI chairman Ma’ruf Amin pointed out in a statement that Ahok has insulted the Quran and the ulamas, and that police should investigate the case.


Saturday, 29 October 2016



‘There will be another Ahok without law enforcement in religious blasphemy case’

ahok dem demonstrasi-tolak-ahok-di-jakarta-jumat-14-10-_161014131815-809.jpg

RR Laeny Sulistyawat


ON  Friday (10/28), Muslims in several provinces hold demonstration against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s (Ahok) religious blasphemy.

Hundreds of protesters from 25 Islamic organizations joined Lampung Islamic Movement took to the street. They urged the police to process Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s (Ahok) religious blasphemy case.

Protesters rallied in the street in front of the Taqwa Mosque, Jl Kotaraja, Bandar Lampung. ”We urged police to investigate Ahok who did religious blasphemy of Alquran particulary surah Al Maidah verse 51,” he said.

In the Bangka Belitung Province, thousands of protesters from Islamic Organizations also have held demonstration at the local Police Headquarters and Provincial Parliament office for the same purpose.

They ensured the protest were not correlated with politics. ‘We asked the police and Parliament to convey our aspirations to the National Police chief and the President to immediately process and arrest Ahok for insulting Islam,” Bangka Belitung branch of Indonesia Hizbut Tahrir (HTI) Chairman Sofiyan Rudianto said.

According to Sofiyan, without legal firm sanction, there would be another Ahoks doing religious defamation. “This will disrupt religious harmony in Indonesia and security will be unstable,” he said while asking the police to be neutral and professional in enforcing the law.

Also read: ‘Jakarta governor is trespassing other religion territory’

In front of Presidential Palace, DI Yogyakarta, thousand of people demanded Ahok to be put into justice. “I’m worried if Ahok is not get firm sanction, there will be a lot more massive movement coming from Muslims and this movement will spread all across the country,” Syukri Fadholi Chief of the local Unity and Development Party said.

In Bandung, West Java, rain did not stopped hundreds of youngster from Generasi Muda Jabar to hold demonstration in front of Gedung Sate. “We see no reason for the police to postpone Ahok’s imprisonment,” Coordinator of Darul Hikam Youth, Agus, remarked.

Also read: ‘None of Alquran verse guides people to the wrong path’

Muslims in West Nusa Tenggara appointed November 3rd as the deadline for the police to nail Ahok. They promised to hold a massive movement if Ahok has not been caught on that date.

North Sumatra Police Chief Rycko Amelza Dahniel agreed with the mass who demand the police to process Ahok religious blasphemy case. He noticed the case has been discussed not only nationally, but also international. “We hoped Jakarta Police would settle it accordingly,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bekasi Metro Police Umar Surya Fana have listened aspirations from hundreds members of several Islamic organizations that formed Forum Ukhuwah Umat Islam Bekasi (FUUI). Umar said the aspiration will be conveyed to Jakarta Metro Police chief. “Meanwhile, let’s show Muslims are united, peace lover, and not anarchy,” he said in Bekasi, West Java.

Previously, in Padang, West Sumatra, thousands of people naming themself Forum Masyarakat Minangkabau (FMM) asked the police to hold equality before the law principle. They believed the case of religious blasphemy by a women in Bali would be a perfect example in handling Ahok. “She was caught and punished 14 month imprisonment,” Muhammad Siddiq of the FMM said on Sunday (10/23).


Sat, 29 October 2016




Muslims encouraged to ‘be open to the world’

Dr Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford. Photo: BT/Quratul-Ain Bandial

Dr Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford. Photo: BT/Quratul-Ain Bandial

Quratul-Ain Bandial

THERE is a need to revive intellectual discourse in Islam, said a renowned Muslim academic, adding that Muslims should be critical in order to gain a better understanding of their faith.

Dr Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University, said religious scholars should not isolate themselves to criticism and new ideas.

“For many of the ulama it’s about the rules, it’s not about the environment, critical thinking or the movement,” he said during a public lecture on contemporary Islam at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) yesterday.

“It’s about protecting ideas… We should not protect ourselves from the changing world; we should change the world for the better.”

The Swiss academic is on his fourth visit to Brunei as a visiting scholar at UBD’s Sultan Omar `Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS).

Responding to a question from an audience member, Ramadan said while there were immutable laws in Islam, our understanding of religious texts should evolve through intellectual discourse.

“Seeking knowledge as a Muslim is not only to come to the Islamic references – this is a problem.

“You cannot change the world if you remain isolated … Seek knowledge by reading other books, reading people who are not Muslims, be open to the world.”

The professor also stressed the importance of interfaith dialogue in contributing to the understanding of Islam.

“(During theological conferences) many people leave after the Muslims have spoken… You are not disrespecting the man who is speaking but you are disrespecting yourself, your mind, because you are not listening to people who have something to say,” he said.

“Everyone can teach us something and this is intellectual humility.”

He told university students to be committed to intellectual engagement and to have the courage to be critical.

“We have to be committed to reviving this spirit… As a student, the first thing is to seek knowledge. Seeking a degree – that’s not knowledge… It can go together but sometimes it doesn’t.”

Ramadan is scheduled to speak at the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies International Conference (SICON) next week.

He is the author of several books contributing to the debate on issues faced by Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world.

The Brunei Times
Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mindanao issues fatwa on TB

Bong S Sarmiento

A FATWA (Islamic edict) to fight tuberculosis (TB) was issued to help and guide Muslim Filipinos fight the deadly disease.

The religious edict came out after the Department of Health (DOH) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) sought the help of Muslim religious leaders and scholars in the fight against TB.

The fatwa on TB was officially launched last Wednesday in Davao City, one of the highly urbanised cities in Mindanao.

It was crafted in partnership with the Darul Iftah (House of Opinion) and the association of Ulamas (Islamic scholars) in the country, said ARMM Health Secretary Kadil Sinolinding Jr.

He said the fatwa is their “coordinative strategy to hasten the bringing of right information, diagnosis and attitude towards TB”.

The fatwa encourages people suffering from symptoms of TB and those diagnosed with it to consult a doctor or any qualified health professional and observe proper medication, citing certain Islamic injunctions and examples of Prophet Mohammad (SWT) himself, the ARMM’s Bureau of Public Information said.

It is intended to be propagated with the help of the Ulamas and other Muslim religious leaders in their khutbah (sermons), especially during congregational prayer on Fridays.

Sinolinding said the fatwa and the keen support of the Ulamas would be very helpful in combating TB particularly in the autonomous Muslim region.

He noted they recognise the strong influence of the Ulamas and other religious leaders. “Our people look up to them and tapping them in this campaign will merit trust among our Muslim constituents.”

Based on the data of DOH ARMM, TB cases in the region went down by 60 per cent from 4,275 in 2011 to 1,700 in 2012.

Sinolinding said the fight against TB requires the support and active collaboration of all stakeholders.

The Brunei Times
Sun, 10 August 2014

MUI chairman Din Syamsuddin: “Christmas greetings is all about culture”


Din Syamsuddin

Din Syamsuddin

TEMPO.CO – When he found out he could not refuse the mandate to become MUI chairman following the death of Kiai Haji Sahal Mahfudz, Muhammad Sirajuddin Syamsuddin, familiarly known as Din Syamsuddin, recited Bismillah (in the name Allah), Alhamdulillah (Allah be praised) and innalilah (surely we belong to Allah), aware of the heavy responsibility he had to carry. He must now manage issues like fatwa (edict) and the controversial halal (permissible) certificates on food, medicine and cosmetics, which were recently spotlighted by the media.

Din claimed to have initiated reforms on issues like the halal label, although he stressed that it was just accommodating the congregation’s need. Last week, he met Tempo reporters Nugroho Dewanto, Bagja Hidayat and Sorta Tobing in his office at the Center for Dialogue and Cooperation among Civilizations, in Central Jakarta.

You once held the position of MUI secretary for about five years. So, you must be quite knowledgable about the halal label certification issue.

In 1995, I was made MUI secretary and 10 years later I was appointed as chairman of Muhammadiyah, so I asked to be excused from MUI activities. But my colleagues wouldn’t allow it. So, they made a job for me, vice chairman. In 2010, the MUI convention elected Kyai Sahal Mahfudz as chairman, and said that he wanted me to remain as his deputy, to symbolize the harmony between the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah. Because the chairman and vice chairman could not be actively involved, we were assisted by 12 deputies.

Perhaps because the chairman and the vice chairman are not active, the Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Supervisory Board (LPPOM) and the Fatwa Commission go their own separate ways?

That’s not possible. In both contexts, the chairman is responsible. Fatwas, which may have broad social impact, must be brought to the attention of the council of leaders. So, it doesn’t mean the chairman doesn’t know about issues, because he is involved and signs the certificates.

What is the MUI’s source of authority on the halal label issue?

The MUI’s authority is only over the certificates. Labels are not the work of the MUI, the BPOM (Food and Drug Supervisory Board). How did we get the certification authority? It’s in Law No. 7/1996 on food. One chapter says: if a halal label is to be affixed on a product, the certificate must be issued by an Islamic institution. The government and the Religious Affairs Ministry agreed that the Islamic institution be the MUI.

So, why have there been so many problems lately?

The MUI is given added authority in this case, and that’s to recognize overseas halal certifiers. A halal certifier is not an institution like the MUI, but a company overseas. They are usually owned by Muslims of ethnic Arab, Indian, Pakistani, Bosnian, Iranian and African origins.

Why must the MUI acknowledge their products as halal?

There is a section in the law which says that each foreign company wanting to export their products to us must be certified halal. The MUI is authorized to issue such accreditation. The MUI has a benchmarking or standardization system which, to be honest, are not all approved by the World Halal Council. The MUI initiated the World Halal Council, which has now become the World Halal Food Council.

What are the standards?

There are seven, but I don’t remember all of them. Two which I remember are first, he must be a scientist in his field. Second, there must be an Islamic law expert, like the LPPOM and the Fatwa Commission. The MUI recognizes dozens of halal certifiers in Australia. But in fact, there is one which failed the test.

Mohamed El-Mouelhy, president of the Sydney-based Halal Certification Authority

Mohamed El-Mouelhy, president of the Sydney-based Halal Certification Authority

The owner is Mohamed El-Mouelhy (president of the Halal Certification Authority, based in Sydney), who was quoted a lot by Tempo. The halal certifier company owned by this Mouelhy was disqualified in 2006, because according to reports, he had no scientist involved in his business, and he had no Islamic law expert, even though he claimed to be one himself because he was Egyptian. But for the MUI, there must be at least two people.

On another matter, have you any objections to conveying Christmas greetings to Christians?

When Idul Fitri comes around I always receive greetings from hundreds of different international leaders. They come from the Vatican, the World Council of Churches, Buddhist associations, Hindus, Shinto and others. So, it would be remiss of me not do the same during their respective holy days. It’s all about culture.

Today, as leader of the MUI, will you be consistent and continue to greet Christians on their holy days?

As a matter of principle, one’s religiosity shouldn’t change because of one’s official position, because it’s basically a social and cultural issue. So, of course, I will not stop doing it.

Some Catholic groups say they have been able to work closely with the Muhammadiyah under your leadership.

I think that already happened since the era of Pak Syafii Maarif. During the onset of the reform era social relations between different groups became more relaxed. The key words are friendship and mutual acquaintance.

But the problem is there are groups in Islam that often take a hard line. Are they involved in such dialogs?

No. But this is acknowledged as a challenge faced by all religions. There are always groups wanting to do things their own way. They are found in Islam, but also among Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. They like to wage war. So, what often happens is a clash between the fundamentalists. There are about 70 national Islamic mass organizations, two-thirds of them may have branches in all the provinces.
But there are even more regional organizations. (*)

Friday, 21 March, 2014

hal mui-bpom


Martin van Bruinessen: Dedicating life to perpetual research into Islam

Novia D. Rulistia

Marrin van Bruinessen

Marrin van Bruinessen

THE relationship between the Dutch Professor Martin van Bruinessen and Indonesia began incidentally 30 years ago.

After completing his PhD in anthropology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, van Bruinessen was jobless and intensively searching for a vacancy that matched his interests.

When he learned that the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies was looking for someone with a postdoctoral degree to do research on Islam in Indonesia, he applied but without high expectations, but he was accepted.

“It was a coincidence that I came here, not because I’m Dutch and our countries have a historical background that I decided to come and spend years here,” he said in fluent Indonesian during a visit to Jakarta recently.

In the early 1980s, he relocated to Indonesia and decided to stay in Bandung, West Java, as he was interested in the radicalism that existed in the city during that time.

He stayed in a poor slum in Bandung for a year to verify whether the hypothesis that radicalism was fueled by deprivation was true or not.

The theory speculated that because poor people from the regions could not get decent jobs in the city and could not adapt to the city’s life, one of their reactions was to think that life in the city was sinful, he said.

“The theory is that this alienation is what makes many people radical. To verify it I chose not to do the research on radical people, I chose the deprived instead,” he said.

“It’s not true. They’re too poor to be radical. Being radical is a privilege that only people from the middle class can afford I discovered.”

After completing his Bandung research, he joined a research project at Indonesia’s Institute of Sciences (LIPI), focusing on Indonesia’s ulema.

“I traveled many places, interviewed ulema and visited pesantren [Islamic boarding schools]. I found that Islam in Indonesia is colorful and that there are many types of ulema in the country; the loose ones, accommodative ones, opportunists and those who are close to politics,” he said.

He added that those types of ulema in Indonesia could also be found a lot in countries in the Middle East.

“From all the places I have been, I understand that there are many ulema who hold cultural values closely, becoming a core for their religious values. It is the culture that colors the religion,” he said.

Traveling the cities and meeting ulema were not the only pleasures he enjoyed during his research with LIPI. His meetings with the nation’s prominent figures in pluralism, Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid and Nurcholish Madjid, made his stay in Indonesia memorable.

“I was so lucky to know them. I even got the chance to travel with Gus Dur. Thanks to him, if I want to visit those pesantren again nowadays, they just accept me because they know I’m Gus Dur’s friend,” he said.

From his four-year research project with LIPI, he has published several books: Tarekat Naqsabandiyah di Indonesia, NU: Tradisi, Relasi-relasi Kuasa, Pencarian Wacana Baru and Kitab Kuning, Pesantren dan Tarekat: Tradisi-tradisi Islam in Indonesia.

Apart from conductng research on Islam, he also worked as a lecturer at the State Institute of Islamic Studies (IAIN) Sunan Kalijaga, now UIN, in Yogyakarta for three years.

“At first I went to Indonesia just because I had to. But slowly, I loved being here,” he said, adding that his love for the country grew stronger after he met his better half here.

Although he has never thought of Indonesia as the focus of his research, van Bruinessen always comes back for more work and research.

During his recent visit to Indonesia, he also visited Yogyakarta and Cirebon to promote his new book that he wrote with four local researchers: Muhammad Wildan, Moch. Nur Ichwan, Mujiburrahman and Ahmad Najib Burhani.

In Contemporary Developments in Indonesian Islam: Explaining the “Conservative Turn”, they try to explore what has changed in Indonesia.

“Back then, the dominant discourse in Indonesia was about tolerance; everything seemed to be just fine and people saw Islam here with a friendly face. But today, many feel it has an angry expression,” van Bruinessen said.

He said there were many cases of religious intolerance that occurred in the country, in and around 2004-2005 the discourse about tolerance seemed to be drowned out amid the voices that were trying to right wrongs.

The book seeks to explain whether breaking point is really there, and whether the conservative movement now dominates the society, or if there are other elements.

Before van Bruinessen explored Indonesia, he first fulfilled his interests in traveling, politics, history and philology in the Middle East. In 1974, he did two years of extensive fieldwork in the Kurdish-inhabited parts of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria to study social organization and social change among the Kurds.

His adventures continued in Afghanistan when he worked for a village development project.

Van Bruinessen then went back to the Netherlands to teach at the Department of Turkish Studies of Utrecht University, and did research in Ottoman history the results of which were published as part of the single major source on Kurdish society in the 17th century, Evliya Celebi’s Seyahatname.

His research on Islam has brought him to several universities as a lecturer. He has taught, and conducted research, at the Free University of Berlin in Germany, the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World in Leiden and the Aga Khan University in London.

Currently, he is a senior visiting research fellow for religion and globalization at the National University of Singapore.

His research has been published in several publications: Kurdish ethno-nationalism versus nation-building states; The Madrasa in Asia: Political Activism and Transnational Linkages; Islam and Modernity: Key Issues and Debates; and Producing Islamic Knowledge: Transmission and dissemination in Western Europe.

All in all, van Bruinessen seems to always be swamped with his work and research, even on holiday.

“Most of the time I’m working and thinking about working. I’m fortunate that my work is my hobby, so I’m just doing my hobby, I couldn’t call it my work,” he said, laughing.

The Jakarta Post
Fri, May 24 2013




Sultan of Brunei slams malicious campaign against Syariah Penal Code

HM syariahRabiatul Kamit

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday called for an end to insults directed towards the king, ulama and Syara’, amid rising dissent on social media.

In his 30th National Day titah, the monarch observed that a certain section of people has made attempts to slander the king, ulama and law, besides disputing the implementation of the Syariah Penal Code Order.

“This can be detected through their various expressions when they speak of the king, ulama and law,” he said, alluding to comments made on social media.

His Majesty noted there have been attempts by certain parties to incite the present generation to question and reject the implementation of the Syariah Penal Code Order through new media platforms, such as websites, blogs and WhatsApp.

He warned against the misuse or abuse of social media, explaining that it could harm individuals as well as the nation.

“All this is undoubtedly a challenge for our new generation. They need a firm stance in line with national policies. They cannot be influenced by irresponsible elements who wish to see us in disarray internally or fighting among ourselves, as well as disrespecting the leader and government,” said His Majesty.

The dissent on social media, he added, also poses a challenge for law enforcement agencies in implementing the Syariah Penal Code Order.

His Majesty pointed out that such behaviour is an offence under the General Offences Chapter of the new law, which is set to come into force in April. “They cannot continue to be allowed to inflict insults,” he said, adding that such offenders can be brought to court.

As a “visionary generation”, he said they must be cautious of those who declare their support, but harbour ulterior motives.

He advised the present generation to be self-resilient to a point where they cannot be easily swayed or influenced to harm the country. Among the steps undertaken by the government to produce such citizens is through the National Service Programme (PKBN).

The monarch said the programme plays an important role in building youth of noble values, which are greatly needed by the country and nation.

“Speaking of values, we have been shocked by several robberies involving a number of mosques in the country. These incidents are very disappointing, even more so as they happened in the Houses of Allah,” said His Majesty.

He hoped the relevant authorities would take effective and comprehensive measures toward ensuring that such “embarrassing” incidents are not repeated.

The sovereign remarked that all robberies and thefts committed in the country must be defeated. “We should not only record crimes, but we need to take firm action so those criminals can be arrested and brought to court. Insya Allah, the Syariah Penal Code Order is waiting for them,” he said.

Commenting on the recent heavy rainfall that flooded low-lying areas in the nation, His Majesty praised the patience of the residents affected by tragedy.

“They, alongside the authorities, faced the situation with calm. Additionally, there were volunteers who contributed their service, which were very meaningful. Indeed, we have to accept the situation wholeheartedly, besides praying to Allah (SWT) for mercy and safety,” he said.

As the Sultanate celebrates its 30th year of independence today, His Majesty said the country has made numerous achievements that have enabled its citizens to live in a state of peace and prosperity.

“Our quality of life continues to increase in line with modern society,” he said, noting that Brunei’s health and education indicators score highly on the Human Development Index (HDI). His Majesty added that, however, the country’s vision also encompasses spiritual alongside physical aims.

He explained that Brunei wants to embody the concept of “Baldatun Tayyibatun Warabbun Ghafur” to become a nation that is “peaceful and happy” under the protection of Allah (SWT).

“Because of that, the way we are fulfilling our independence is very special. We don’t forget to be grateful and remember Allah (SWT) through mass prayers and doa. This is the practice of a Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB), our country,” he said.

His Majesty elaborated that a solid identity is crucial in the process of nation-building, stating that MIB serves as a strong and effective “firewall” to address various issues and challenges tied to globalisation.

“Globalisation, in reality, has caused rapid changes. Use of the Internet and various types of social media has made information sharing borderless. Information can be transmitted easily to anyone. We must be smart and careful in how we utilise its benefits,” he said.

In concluding his titah, the monarch expressed his gratitude and appreciation to all the citizens of Brunei. He prayed they will be blessed with Allah SWT’s mercy and guidance.

His Majesty was also thankful to the committee members and participants of the 30th National Day celebration for their effort. The celebration will take place today at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.

The Brunei Times
Sun, 23 February 2014