‘Invisible’ Indonesia could show path to Islamic democracy in the Middle East

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Long regarded as peripheral to the mainstream Islamic world, Indonesia could have much to teach the Middle East about Muslim democracy.

By Jean Gelman Taylor

Dr Jean Gelman Taylor

Dr Jean Gelman Taylor

SCHOLARS and journalists often raise the conundrum: why doesn’t Indonesia have greater importance within the world    community of Muslims

Indonesia, with a population of 240 million, is the world’s largest Muslim country. Compare this figure with Saudi Arabia’s 29 million or Egypt’s 81 million. The late Malay studies scholar Amin Sweeney reminded us that Indonesian–Malay is the third language of Islamic scholarship after Arabic and Persian. Indonesia would seem to be qualified to speak for Muslims in world affairs, to be influential in theological debate and the harbinger of political reformation for the Muslim Middle East.

Consider a recent world history by the Afghan–American Tamir Ansary. Ansary structured it from a consciously Islamic perspective. He challenged conventional texts that begin in Mesopotamia, that channel the world’s history through Greece, Rome and Europe, only inserting the Islamic world at points in the grand narrative. Ansary’s world history is organised under the headings: Ancient times; Mesopotamia and Persia; Birth of Islam; the Khalifate; Quest for universal unity; Fragmentation: Age of the sultanates; Catastrophe: Crusaders and Mongols; Rebirth: the Three-empire era; Permeation of East by West; the reform movements; Triumph of the secular modernists; and the Islamic reaction. Yet Ansary’s corrective Destiny disrupted: history of the world through Islamic eyes gives Indonesia just two mentions in 410 pages.

Indonesian Muslims performing Tarawih Prayer during the Ramadhan month in Istiqlal Grand Mosque, 29 Juni 2014. Photo: ANTARA/Rosa Panggabean

Indonesian Muslims performing Tarawih Prayer during the Ramadhan month in Istiqlal Grand Mosque, 29 Juni 2014. Photo: ANTARA/Rosa Panggabean

Is the ‘invisibility’ of Indonesia to be explained in spatial and historiographical terms? Historians have made much of Indonesia’s geographic location on the periphery of the Islamic world, remote from its spiritual heartland before the late 19th century’s ‘connectives’ of steamship, telegraph and post. In the 1960s, sociologists and anthropologists were struck by the folkways of Islam in the archipelago’s villages. Indonesian Islam seemed a ‘thin flaking glaze’, a ‘veneer’, laid over a Hindu–Buddhist bedrock. It was localised, tolerant, not ‘real’ Islam when compared with Arab societies.

Western scholars date the origins of the first indigenous Islamic communities in the Indonesian archipelago to the 12th century. Indonesians were inducted into an Islam that had evolved over the six centuries since the first Muslim community was governed by Muhammad in Medina. Lacking direct transmission from Arabia, Indonesians had embraced an Islam of Sufi sects, veneration of saints’ graves, talismans and miracles.

Idul Fitri prayer at Baiturrahim Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh.

Idul Fitri prayer at Baiturrahim Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh.

An influential book, The religion of Java, by the late anthropologist Clifford Geertz, posited that ‘scriptural Islam’ came late to Indonesia. Recent research by scholars in Indonesia and the West has modified views that Indonesian Islam long developed in isolation from the wellsprings of Islamic theology. Textual studies have led to the conclusion that Malay-language commentaries on the Quran date from at least the 16th century. Biographies of archipelago scholars who spent 20 and more years in Mecca and Medina provide evidence of continuous connection with Islamic scholarship in Arabia since the 17th century and of those scholars insistence on observance of sharia and a Sufism regulated within the Sunni tradition.

This research does, however, suggest that Indonesia’s Muslims were connected with world Islam in a parochial way. Indonesian teachers who made long stays in Arabia attracted primarily students from their own home communities in the archipelago. In Arabia they wrote their commentaries and learned opinions in Malay. Their scholarly output was, therefore, not read beyond the Malay-speaking world, but communicated to audiences at home. Archipelago Muslims, feeding off Indonesian scholarship produced in Arabia in Malay, were a distinct community, irrelevant to the learned elites in the Islamic heartland who wrote and taught in Arabic or Persian.

Direct links with the Islamic heartland became a reality with colonial technology. Dutch steamships took Indonesians to Mecca and Cairo as well as to The Hague and Amsterdam. Steam-powered transport and the telegraph ended the ‘tyranny of distance’. Printing in Arabic letters, finally sanctioned by the Ottoman sultanate, multiplied the pamphlets and books in circulation; lending library stalls brought reading within a wider reach. Students who travelled at the beginning of the 20th century from Indonesia to Cairo became caught up in the latest currents of religio-political thought in the Middle East.

Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979 obliged Indonesians to question their distinctive religious practices and observance. Local movements multiplied to induce greater inner devotion to Islam and greater outer conformity to communal religious observances such as mosque attendance and Islamic presentation of the self in dress and manners. More Indonesians enrolled in Arabic language classes. There were more scholarships for study in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, modifications to domestic mosque architecture, and discarding of customs deemed un-Islamic. There was more drawing of boundaries between Muslims and Christians, and between Muslims and those labelled ‘deviant’ Muslims.

These changes occurred in the later period of President Suharto’s presidency when the government was making concessions to ‘political’ Islam. Suharto, for instance, sanctioned an Islamic think-tank to bring Islamic solutions to Indonesia’s social and economic problems. He allowed an Islamic press and television shows, and the introduction of Islamic banking. The Association of Indonesian Islamic Intellectuals brought Muslims into the centre of public policy making and made Islamic credentials a plus in career paths. There was an equalising in status between civil and religious courts of law. Mosque youth groups and branches of international Muslim associations on Indonesian university campuses mushroomed. There was a growth of public attendance at Islamic festivals and an upsurge in Islamic arts and popular entertainment.

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Young Indonesians, who have never lived under colonial rule, have come of age in a world of the internet, university degrees, foreign travel and pilgrimage packages to Mecca. They associate being Muslim with being modern, prosperous, successful; they strive for ‘Islamic chic’ in dress, manners and cultural pursuits. They want greater personal freedoms and more political clout. They emerged from their own political and social tumult following the downfall of President Suharto in May 1998.

There were four years of fighting in Indonesia between religious and ethnic communities and regional movements demanding autonomy or even secession from the republic. In 2002, with three million internal refugees, observers were speculating whether Indonesia itself would continue to exist. But in those same years, Indonesians removed a strong military from public life. Through constitutional changes, tenure of presidential office was restricted to a maximum of two four-year terms, to be achieved through the ballot box.

Javanese Muslim family holding 'selametan', a thanksgiving function. Photo: Collection of Tropen Museum.

Javanese Muslim family holding ‘selametan’, a thanksgiving function. Photo: Collection of Tropen Museum.

The post-Suharto era is characterised by political parties with a broad mix of religious and social agendas. The media has been freed. Elections at national, regional and municipal levels have won broad acceptance of their results. There is a confidence that local cells of international Islamic groups, such as Hizbut Tahrir, are not a real force in Indonesian society. Reformists downplay the power of the Islamic Defenders Front to physically intimidate those they declare to be enemies of ‘true Islam’. Despite rulings by the Department of Religion against Ahmadis and determination that liberalism, secularism and pluralism contradict Islamic teachings, reform activists believe Indonesia offers a working model for Muslim democracy, or rather for a democracy of Muslims.

Indonesia’s Institute for Peace and Democracy has initiated dialogue with counterparts in Egypt and Tunisia on issues such as the state and politics, Islam and the state, the place of armed forces in democracy, and participation of women in public life.

Here Indonesia may assume a leadership role in international Islamic affairs. At the same time, Indonesians seem to be creating a novel variant of being Muslim that confirms their difference on the periphery.

Dr Jean Gelman Taylor is honorary associate professor of History, University of New South Wales. This article is a summary of a talk she gave at Hebrew University of Jerusalem last December.

Muslims performing Aidil Fitri prayer at the Jakarta port of Sunda Kelapa.

Muslims performing Aidil Fitri prayer at the Jakarta port of Sunda Kelapa.

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‘The Jakarta Post”s Chief Editor is suspect of religious defamation

jp ms cartoon
RMN/Yus
JAKARTA

THE Jakarta Police officially designated The Jakarta Post‘s Chief Editor Meidyatama Suryodiningrat (MS) as suspect in the alleged blasphemy case. Meidyatama is alleged defamation of Islam through cartoons in the newspaper published in July 2014.

Meidyatama deeply shocked upon hearing himself named as suspect in this case. Because it was not committing a crime, but only doing journalistic work that criticize ISIS movement. In fact, it had apologized to the public related to the news.

Meidyatama Suryodiningrat

Meidyatama Suryodiningrat

“We were very surprised by the fact we are not committed the crime as charged to us, because in fact we are doing the journalistic work criticizing ISIS movement that later became the government banned organization,” he said in a brief message, Thursday (11/12/2014) night.

“We’ve got information on this and today we are studying them,” he added.

In fact, Meidyatama said, it has received the opinion of the Press Council stating that this case is actually related only journalistic ethics, which means there is a criminal offense. So this should be the domain of the Press Council.

“However, we respect the process that is running and therefore we will follow the process that is taking place in accordance with applicable laws and regulations,” said Meidyatama.

Call for Interrogation
Meanwhile, the Jakarta Police’s Head of Public Relations Police Commissioner Rikwanto said The Jakarta Police investigators will call Medyatama next week. This call for examination in Meidyatama capacity as a suspect.

Rikwanto

Rikwanto

“Investigators will call Mr. MS from The Jakarta Post. The plan is next week. He will be called as a suspect,” said Rikwanto at the Jakarta Police Headquarters.

Rikwanto explained, Meidyatama as editor in chief is responsible for the cartoon which was considered an insult to Islam. Because, he was suspected to know and approve all of the news content contained in The Jakarta Post daily. Including the cartoons.

Apology and Cartoon Withdrawal
On July 8, 2014, The Jakarta Post has apologized, in two languages, related news which is considered as blasphemy. The Jakarta Post also regretted the news in the form of cartoons.

“We sincerely apologize and draw caricatures editorial published on page 7 in the newspaper of The Jakarta Post on July 3, 2014. The caricature contains religious symbolism that has been alluded to,” wrote The Jakarta Post.

The Jakarta Post regrets the decision is not wise at all do not mean to attack or do not respect any religion.”

jp apolThe Jakarta Post‘s Editorial said, the use of the cartoons was inntended to criticize the use of religious symbols (especially the flag of ISIL group) in acts of violence in general, and in this case, against fellow Muslims.

“In particular,it’s intended to criticize ISIL group, which has threatened to attack the Ka’bah in Makkah al-Mukarromah as part of its political agenda,” The Jakarta Post‘s editorial said.

In this case, Meidyatama is charged under Article 156a of the Criminal Code of Blasphemy. Referring to the article, it threatens Meidyatama to 5 years in prison.

jp kmjThis case stems from the Korp Mubaligh Jakarta (KMJ) who reported Meidyatama Suryodiningrat as Editor in Chief of The Jakarta Post to Police Headquarters on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

The preachers were judging, Meidyatama intentionally committed to sacrilege Islam through news cartoons published in The Jakarta Post on Thursday, July 3, 2014.

Liputan6.Com
Thu, 11 December 2014

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http://news.liputan6.com/read/2146236/tanggapan-pemred-jakarta-post-terkait-status-tersangkanya#

Islam in Madura and the Violent Tradition of ‘Carok’

CluritAbdur Rozaki
MADURA ISLAND, EAST JAVA

Islam in Indonesia is deeply rooted in local communities and it is therefore impossible to find a common interpretation of the religion in this country of diverse ethnic groups. There are many Muslim communities, each with its own character. The different characteristics of each community mostly stem from different methods being used to interpret religious texts and are also closely linked with real socio-cultural situations.

Take the Madurese, for example.

Madura is part of East Java province and people outside Madura Island often assume that culturally the Madurese are the same as the Javanese. However, if we take a closer look into Madurese communities, there are clear socio-cultural differences that distinguish the religious character of the Javanese from the Madurese.

CLURITIn Madura, there are common beliefs that reflect the social character and way of life of the people regarding certain issues perceived to be sacred and that command full respect. Among those issues are Islam, women and self-esteem and the three are closely intertwined. A disregard of any of the three will bring forth violent reprisal, popularly known as carok, which is the Madurese problem solving mechanism.

According to a study conducted by Wiyata (2002), sexual advances or harassment of other people’s wives topped the list of conflicts between carok in Madura. Although religion values human life and advocates amicable solutions to conflicts, for the Madurese there is only a solution to a dispute involving a man’s wife: kill the perpetrator. Moreover, Muslim clerics or kyai seem to give social approval of such a violent action. No case involving a dispute over women has ever been settled peacefully, despite the involvement of the kyai as a mediator.

There were even reports of a kyai resorting to carok when his wife was harassed.

book mdrCarok has become the common way to settle problems in Madura, especially with regard to a threat to human dignity and self-esteem, as it satisfies the Madurese’ craving for justice, as compared to a court settlement. Madurese people have no trust in law enforcers. For the Madurese, to bring a case to a legal institution means to end up with greater losses. The case may not be settled, while the individual must also dig deep into his/her own pocket to cover the legal fees. Besides, it is a common belief that justice here belongs to the rich, not to the poor.

Madura’s religious institutions are powerless to end this violent practice. The Kyai, too, in whose hands lies the power to interpret religion and promote nonviolent acts, seem to be powerless to end the practice of carok. They have been trapped into providing justification and social approval for this cultural phenomenon.

In most cases, carok has led to a vicious retaliatory cycle. It also form a vicious cycle of violence which is unbreakable as the kyai and religious institutions in Madura are unable to start a new tradition of conflict-resolution. Ironically, some kyai play a significant, albeit indirect, role in preserving the carok culture by practicing magic and selling religious symbols like amulets, spells, and offering other “religious services”.

Why does violence as reflected in the carok tradition flourish in Madura?

There are several explanations to the question. First, the land is barren with limited water resources and yields limited agricultural produce. Poverty is rampant and discontent has made the people highly temperamental and emotional. Poverty has turned the eyes of the Madurese to immaterial things, including the value of dignity and self-esteem. Poverty has not made the people lose their social dignity. Hence, life is at stake when it comes to preserving their self-esteem, considered to be the last “treasure” owned by an individual. Ango’an pote tolang e tembeng pote mata, literally translates as: “It is better to have white bones than white eyes”, a local proverb meaning … Life simply loses its meaning when a man or a woman is humiliated and loses their self-esteem.

book mdr manSecond, there is the blater tradition. In Madura, there is a community known as blater, or thugs that plays a prominent role in their community. As a blater, an individual must have courage, wit, and skill in handling all means of defense, like martial arts, weapons and debus (magic). Blater are very fond of cockfighting. In addition, these local thugs also belong to a place called remoh, where they get together to feast to enjoy music and alcoholic drinks. Blater each take turns to hold such meetings and contribute money to the host.

A blater will enjoy great influence and command respect from the people if he wins in a carok duel. The influence of blater is strong in Madura as most village heads or klebun come from the blater community or are at least a former blater.

Third, weakening governmental institutions. The impotence of the already corrupt government institutions has strengthened blater‘s presence in Madurese society and made them more powerful than government security forces.

carokAmong these three social factors, Madurese Muslims seem to face a complicated social dilemma. On one hand, they are willing to create the basis for peaceful and tolerant values, but are faced with social-cultural conditions that provide a hotbed for violent traditions. In this context, Muslim Madurese are still dominated by local character rather than by Islamic teachings which are basically humanistic.

Hence, the best way to break the vicious cycle of violence is through: 1. Promoting a more pluralistic, tolerant, and humanist face of Islam through discussion because Islam that merely emphasizes symbols and texts promotes a violent expression of Islam; 2. Building a religious orientation which is deeply rooted in society by strengthening civil society to counter the structural and cultural domination that has tainted the religious elite, i.e., the kyai; 3. Tracing back the socio-cultural roots of the Madurese society to find a conflict resolution model that capitalizes on the people’s social behavior and non-violent facets like humility, rampa’naong, baringen korong (life in the shadow of peace).

— The writer is a post-graduate student of the school of sociology of Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta. He is also writing a thesis on the Power relationship between kyai and blater in Madura.

The Jakarta Post
Fri, February 07 2003

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http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2003/02/07/islam-madura-and-tradition-use-violence.html

Increase of quality Muslim scholars would help Muslim communities face contemporary issues and concerns arising “Islamophobia” – Prof Kamal Hasan

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Waqiuddin Rajak
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

AN INCREASE in numbers and qualities of Islamic scholars would certainly help Muslim communities face contemporary issues and concerns arising today, especially those relating to “Islamophobia”.

Tan Sri Professor Dr Mohammad Kamal Hassan told The Brunei Times on the sidelines of a conference that a lot of people, especially from the West had become interested to study more about Islam, in light of the 9/11 incident which saw the rise of Islamic militants in the Middle East.

“As a result of the perceived fear of Islamic resurgence, Islamic renaissance and Islamic assertiveness, a number of people had become interested to know more about the true (teachings) of Islam, so Islamic studies had become a more cultivated discipline in universities, which is a good thing,” he said.

He added that the growing interest and the rise of Islamic militants had become a concern expressed by some fundamentalist groups especially in the West which had become worried that the presence of Islam would undermine their popularity.

Tan Sri Professor Dr Mohammad Kamal Hassan.

Tan Sri Professor Dr Mohammad Kamal Hassan.

Tan Sri Prof Dr Mohd Kamal said the fear towards Islam, or “Islamophobia” is an instrument used to “demonise” Islam, and to discredit the positive aspects of Muslim presence especially in Europe and America, which is a global challenge to Muslims all around the world.

“On one side, it strikes fear among people, but on the other hand, it makes people think whether it is true that Islam is violent or not, because these people live in peace with Muslims, and they too know Islam does not teach violence to its believers,” he said.

He said currently, the number of people wanting to know more about Islam is increasing that there are more universities that had become a fully-fledged institutions devoted to Islamic studies, including in Malaysia and Indonesia.

“As we understand it, Islam not only brings the message of peace and respect for others, but also the importance of living a moral life within the spiritual foundation and belief in one God; and In Southeast Asia, our perspectives are taken from the understanding of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, which is dominant in the Muslim world,” he said.

“However, there are also (other) understandings arising in Islam, causing a confusion amongst Muslims on which teachings and understandings are the right one, and so it is our duty to explain which Islamic traditions are correct, as well as how these different understandings arose,” he added.

In doing such, Tan Sri Prof Dr Mohd Kamal said scholars would have to go back to the teachings of the Quran and As-Sunnah as well as understanding the interpretations of great ulamas in the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, besides from having an in-depth knowledge on the history of Islam.

Sharing the same sentiment was Professor Datuk Dr Osman Bakar, the Chair Professor and Director of the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS) in Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).

Professor Datuk Dr Osman Bakar.

Professor Datuk Dr Osman Bakar.

He said that more scholars would definitely help to develop Islamic studies especially in the fields of Science and Technology with educational and political economic issues and in fact, in all aspects of the civilisation.

On Islamophobia, the director of SOASCIS said that those who are against Islam without being equipped with any knowledge on its teachings would base their (opposition) on prejudice.

“Their perceptions (on Islam) are not based on knowledge, and that is a challenge; on the personal level, we need a deeper understanding of Islam in order to (address) these various issues,” he said.

“But on the part of scholars, we need to think of ways on how to equip oneself with good knowledge on Islam and the contemporary world,” he added.

In addressing issues of concerns, he said Muslims scholars should take example from the steps taken by the Prophet Muhammad SAW in dealing with the lack of knowledge of Islam among his people; which was through education.

He said Prophet Muhammad SAW educated his companions and followers both individually and collectively for a better and in-depth understanding of the religion.

“On dealing with animists, (Prophet Muhammad SAW) took the premise that these people do not understand

Islam and therefore it is our job (as Muslims) to (teach) them and not to fight against them in a negative way,” he said.

“Rather as the Quran says, fight “evil” with “good”, we fight against “evil” by doing good deeds, and this includes actions in intellectual and scholastic (manner),” he added.

In approaching educational fields, Prof Dr Datuk Osman said that besides a “must” to learn about Islam, Muslims could also approach its study according to their fields of interest.

“If your interest is in science and technology, you could learn more about Islam through the field, and the same goes if your interest is in art or economics; this is because Islam is a complete religion with its teachings pertaining to all fields of human life,” he said.

“And when we say Islamic scholarship, we are referring to the kind of intellectual and academic activities concerning the teachings of Islam with emphasis on a high quality for (such activities).”

“In this case, it would mean how we could present Islam to contemporary society in a language that the people can understand; because the explanations for such is made in relation to real problems and issues faced by the society, and there is no doubt that Islamic studies is important in presenting Islam to the contemporary world,” he added.

The Brunei Times
Monday, December 8, 2014

brun_islamophob_Infographic

http://www.bt.com.bn/news-national/2014/12/08/rising-interest-allows-further-scrutiny-teachings

Thailand, Malaysia set Southern Thai peace-talks conditions

pattaniAFP
KUALA LUMPUR

THE Thai and Malaysian premiers agreed Monday that stalled talks on ending southern Thailand’s deadly Muslim insurrection could only resume once all rebel attacks cease and its various insurgent groups come to the table as one.

The conditions spelled out by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, agreed in a meeting with hardline new Thai leader Prayut Chan-O-Ca, appeared to cast doubt on any speedy resumption of the peace talks on the bitter and stubborn conflict.

Najib Razak and Prayut Chan-O-Cha

Najib Razak and Prayut Chan-O-Cha

Prayut arrived in Malaysia on Monday for a one-day visit, his first to Thailand’s Muslim-majority southern neighbour since the former military chief seized power in a May coup, with officials saying the stalled peace talks were “high on the agenda”.

Speaking to Malaysian media afterwards, Najib said if insurgents halted attacks, Prayut agreed the Thai army’s presence could be reduced.

“All parties need to respect the law and the Thailand Prime Minister has agreed that the army could reduce its presence,” Najib said.

But a decade-long insurgency that has seen near-daily bombings, shootings and occasional beheadings has spiked anew this year — sparking a renewed Thai security crackdown, with no end in sight.

More than 6,100 lives — most civilians — have been lost in the rebellion, where a range of shadowy groups are fighting for a level of autonomy from the Thai state.

Najib conceded the effort “will take time,” in comments to Malaysian state news agency Bernama.

Malaysia hosted several rounds of peace talks last year between one of the Muslim rebel groups and the previous Thai government led by Yingluck Shinawatra.

But the dialogue made little headway and eventually collapsed as Yingluck’s government became engulfed by a political crisis that ultimately led to Prayut’s coup.

Najib said all rebel groups must agree together on their demands and “only then can substantial negotiations start.”

Experts on the conflict have said the peace effort is hampered by divisions within insurgent groups.

patani2Attacks continued during last year’s talks, raising doubts over whether the rebels at the table spoke for other factions or had any authority over fighters on the ground.

Buddhist Thailand colonised its predominantly Muslim deep south more than a century ago, and insurgencies have repeatedly flared.

Rights organisations accuse Thai authorities of widespread human rights abuses — including extra-judicial killings — and sweeping aside the area’s distinct local culture.

Despite seeking a resumption of peace talks, Thai authorities have recently distributed hundreds of assault rifles to villagers, saying locals need to be able to protect themselves following a slew of insurgent attacks on civilians.

But rights groups have warned the move threatens to breed yet more fear and violence.

Dozens of Malaysian demonstrators held a protest outside Thailand’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Monday against Prayut’s visit, denouncing him for his “illegal” power grab.

The Bangkok Post
Tue, 2 Dec 2014

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pattani muslim pop

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/446530/thailand-malaysia-set-peace-talks-conditions

Algebra of violence in the Mideast (3)

isil
Pehin Orang Kaya Lela Raja Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Awang Abdul Rahman bin Haji Abdul Karim
KUALA LUMPUR

WHAT about this: In February 1994, a Jewish settler, Dr Baruch Goldstein, with a gun and hand grenades, entered the Ibrahim Mosque during Friday dawn prayers. Opening fire, Goldstein killed 29 Muslim worshipers and wounded 125. Eventually he was overpowered by the Palestinians in the mosque and killed.

Zionist atrocities, brutalities and their policy of “mowing the lawn in Gaza” is completely summarised by Professor Noam Chomsky on TV “Democracy Now”(USA) interview on August 7, 2014 as follows: Hideous, sadistic, vicious without any credible pretext.” And UK Channel 4 News exposed Israel’s military murdering children on Gaza beach, July 16,2014. Its reporter Jonathan Miller, described the killing of these children by shells from the Israeli gun-boat.

On top of these recent sufferings in lives, mental, material and land being endured by the Palestinians shown on TVs and iPads, was the CNN News report of September 3, 2014, and the AP report of the same day about the beginning of the trail in Washington of four Blackwater security guards for the fatal shootings of more than 30 Iraqis at Nisoor Square, Iraq, on September 16, 2007. These security guards really committed violent acts on innocent Iraqis. Certainly these violent acts must have radicalised the minds and hearts of those Iraqis. But where were those so-called human rights activists?!

Useful books are:

“A Bloody Business-America’s War Zone Contractors and the Occupation of Iraq” by Colonel General Schumacher of United States Army Special Forces (Retired).

“Blackwater-The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” by Jeremy Scahill.

The main thrust of adducing a random sample of these apartheid statements of the Zionist leaders, of their atrocities on the lives of the Palestinians’ houses, schools, mosques, apartments, electrical supply, water supply, the sewerage system, the regular stealing of Palestinians’ lands is to expose the destructive double standards of those self-righteous Human Rights activists, those lesbians-gays-bisexuals-transgender (LGBT)-atheists who vociferously attack Syariah Law, who hate everything Islam-Muslims, even Muslims’ financial-economic assets/investments in USA and UK. These investments provide employment and income to their US and UK workers.

Why are these activists “deaf, blind and dumb, they have no sense” (Al-Quran 2:18 and 2: 171) against those Zionists, against those Blackwater mercenary army’s brutalities? The curt answer is given by Professor Samuel Huntington. Professor Huntington is the famous author of that book: “The Clash of Civilizations”. Professor Huntington reminded the Western powers as follows:

“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organised violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”

The Western media, the Western official “excuse” on this “organised violence” on the deaths, on the destruction of the economic assets of Muslims is invariably just pure “collateral damage”.

But the self-destructive consequence of these historical and current brutalities against Muslims and their economic assets has been the breeding of “revenge fighters’ whose dastard, violent activities and actions have been inflicting self-injury to the soul of Islam. Islam is submission to Allah SWT (Al Quran: 2:112; 3: 84-85)

Islam instructs mankind to do good, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong. (Al-Quran 3:104)

Islam instructs mankind to be humble, nor insolent.

“And swell not your cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah loves not any arrogant boaster” (Al Quran: Surah Luqman (31): Verse 18

Islam protects non-Muslims. (Al Quran 9:6); place non-Muslims in secure places (Al Quran 9:6); giving judgment with justice (Al-Quran 4:58); brotherhood of mankind (Al Quran 49:13)

In short, Islam encompasses: justice, trust, kindness, empathy, human cooperation, safety and economic progress. . In his book “Islamic Law-Its Scope and Equity, Prof Said Ramadan highlights this Hadith:

“Beware, whosoever is cruel, and hard on a (non-Muslim subject) or curtails his rights, or burdens him, taking his property against his free will, I shall myself be a plaintiff against him on the Day of Judgment.”

The vital point here is that Islam is totally against any form of violence on any human beings, even against the destruction of the environment.

“And help one another in righteousness and piety, help not one another in sin and aggression and keep your duty to Allah. Surely Allah is severe in requiting (evil).” (Al Quran: Surah Al-Maidah or The Table Spread 5: Verse2)

Thus, the “sudden appearance” of the new brutal, sadistic, vengeful devil-evil “ISIS forces” has created another grave problem to the best humane values of Islam, briefly mentioned above.

It seems that the “sudden appearance of IS forces (ISIS) is like the mythical beheading of Hydra which reproduces multiple evil tentacles. It seems that the elimination of sadistic Saddam Hussein has created several vengeful devils-evils such as the IS forces (that Iblis-Syaitan forces!) who are destroying the reputation of Islam, and thereby has increased the intensity of Islamophobia in the West. For example, even a Christian Pastor of Northern Ireland, James McConnel, declared in a sermon that: “Islam was heathen …… Satanic….. a religion spawned in hell…”

Even Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland’s Unionist First Minister, supported Pastor James Mc Connel’s outburst saying a cleric was entitled to denounce false doctrine, that Muslims engaged in violence or practice Syariah Law; hence he said he did not trust Muslims.” (The Economist, June 14, 2014)

Refer also: “The Myth of the Muslims Tide” by Doug Saunders.

“The New Religious Intolerance-Overcoming The Politics of Fear in An Anxious Age” by Martha C Nussbaum.

It is therefore grossly wrong to call IS forces as “Islamic State” forces. They are just vengeful, violent, murderous rogue evils who destroy Islam. They intensify hatred against Islam. They increase the cycle of violence and retribution. They behave like those Zionist forces. The only vital difference is that Zionist atrocities do not destroy the image of Islam.

It is vital to remind the world herein that the pure “Islamic State”” in Islam is about justice against injustice; justice founded in the Al Quran and the Sunnah, in the Syariah Law.

Thus, we must totally eliminate this IS evil-devil forces to protect pure Islam, to protect the best image of Islam to which thousands of educated, professional, famous Western individuals have reverted, and are reverting annually.

Thus, certainly the evil-devil atrocities of those IS marauders is totally against the pure values of Islam and has intensified Western Islamaphobia.

We shall deal with this hatred for the “practice of the Syariah Law” later below in relation to MIB Brunei Darussalam. But the usual question is this: Much as we absolutely detest the evil-devil actions and activities of those marauding anti-Islam thugs of “IS”, why are those anti-Islam-anti-Muslim activists so “dumb, so deaf, so blind” to the endless atrocities, vile acts of economic destruction committed by the Zionist army, by the Jewish settlers? Brazen acts of violence and retribution, the evil of “clash of civilizations” as termed by Professor Huntington.

These anti-Islam-anti-Muslim activists are pathologically vilifying the Syariah Law. Their pathological hatred has reached the shores of MIB Brunei Darussalam when it introduced in May 2014 the long-standing Syariah Law.

These activists vociferously attacked our Monarch, the Brunei Darussalam Sovereign Wealth investment assets in Los Angeles and of course the introduction of the Syariah Law.

The Brunei Times,
Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Hydra

Hydra

Algebra of violence in the Mideast (2)

isis robot
Pehin Orang Kaya Lela Raja Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Awang Abdul Rahman bin Haji Abdul Karim
KUALA LUMPUR

PRESCIENTLY, the grave concern expressed by Gary Burge actually almost covers the content of his book: “Whose Lands? Whose Promise? — What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians.” It is about “a profound injustice committed by the Israelis against the helpless Palestinians.”

This grave concern actually happened again in August to September 2014. Within this period, the Zionist military might bombs schools, UN shelters, hospitals, mosques, 18,000 houses, three 14-storey apartments, electrical supply that directly crippled the sewerage system and the supply of water, the desalination plant. (Re: The Strait Times: “Gaza Faces Steep Rebuilding Challenge.)

The International New York Times, 15-9-2014, carried this article: “In Gaza, A Battle To Open Schools”:

[Related letter: Algebra of violence in the Middle East]

“There were 500,000 students. They were scheduled to go to school. They were 648 schools, with 421 schools to be used as double shifts. But 34 schools buildings were bombed (by the Zionist military) beyond use; dozens more in need of major repairs. Thirty one schools were still sheltering 59,728 people.”

But a generation that has survived three wars in six years — the latest killing 500 Gazans younger than 18 and injuring 3,100, as well as creating 1400 orphans, has more than just material assets destroyed; thousands are violently traumatised by the Zionist bombs, machine guns and collapsing buildings.”

Traumatising the Palestinian children is the long term strategy of the Zionist state to weaken the future generations of the Palestinian, mentally and physically.

According to Gary M Burge, since 1948 to 1990, 531 Arab villages have been either destroyed by bulldozers or occupied by Israeli residents who stole the Arab lands despite UN resolutions calling for the rightful return of those homes and lands to their Arab owners.

According to UN records in June 1999, about 3.6 million Palestinians refugees have been victims of Israel’s nationhood. (Refer: The Colonisation of Palestine (1992)

After the usual European governments pro-Zionist stand was seriously protested against by their citizens, only then these European governments made their perfunctory lip-service against the Zionist bombings of Gaza.

Only then when the atrocities have actually been committed by the Zionist military, shown ‘live’ on TV news and on the hand-held cyber-power owned by hundreds of millions of their owners worldwide did “Human Right Watch (HRW) Accuses Israel of War Crimes in Gaza” (The Brunei Times, Sept 12, 2014). The Zionist military bombed three UN-run schools, killing Palestinian civilians who had sheltered there, in violation of the laws of war. The HRW also distrusted the self-investigations done by the Israel military into its Gaza War operations.”

On Sept 2, 2014, Al Jazeera documentary, showed the extreme atrocities of the Zionist military against the Palestinian lives and economic assets in 2002, 2008, 2010 and the recent August-September 2014 mass destruction of the assets of the Palestinian in Gaza. Of course more than 3,000 killed and thousands traumatised and injured.

Useful readings:

“Palestine-Peace Not Aparthied” by Jimmy Carter — the former USA President.

“Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and Palestinians

“The Crisis of Zionism” by Peter Beinart.

“The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy — How a Powerful?

“Brokers of Decit” by Rashid Khalidi.

“Cursed Victory-A History of Israel And The Occupied Territories.” By Ahron Bregman

Other Independent, objective scholars, writers such as the former CIA officers, Kathleen and Bill Christison highlighted this Zionist policy of “annihilation”, “ethnic cleansing”, “genocide”, “holocaust” in their book: “Palestine In Pieces – Graphic Perspectives on the Israeli Occupation.” Another hundreds of sources which highlighted this concerted Zionist ultimate objective involving the Palestinians and their lands are as per the following samples:

“We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live like slaves.” (General Shalomon Lahat, the Mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983).

“The Palestinians would be crushed like grasshoppers ….heads smashed against the boulders and walls.” (Israel Prime Minister, New York Times, April 1, 1988)

“We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.” (Rafael Eiton, Chief of Staff Israel Defence Forces — New York Times, April 14, 1983)

“We must use terror, assignation, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.” (The Koening Memorandum.)

“We, the Jewish people, control America, and the American knows it.” (Ariel Sharon told Shimon Peres on Oct 3, 2001.)

In 1989, Benjamin Netanyahu (before he became Prime Minister in 1996) was speaking at Bar Ilan University following the brutal Chinese repression of demonstrators in Tianamen Square.

His apartheid assertion was that: “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrators in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsion among the Arabs of the occupied territories.” (The Israeli Journal Hotman, Nov 24, 1989)

Even one of my favourite intellectual journalists, Thomas Friedman in his book, “Longitudes and Attitudes — Exploring the World Before and After September 11, 2001” has strongly indulged in a diatribe against Islam, Muslims and Arab/Palestinian in his bias support for the Jews and Israel.

The Brunei Times’ Editorial: “Israeli Illegal Land Grab”, Sept 2, 2014 highlights, the latest brazen land stealing of 400 hectares of the Palestinian land by the Zionist state under the pretext of a retaliation against the death of the three Jewish youths.” The Zionist state is committed to this in line with its execution of the overall policy of “crushing the Palestinians like grasshoppers, and land stealing of their lands.” These samples of Zionist atrocities and land stealing and the policy to drive the Palestinians from their lands are found in the Surah and Verses in the Noble Quran, for example:

“Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness. And surely there are some rocks from which streams burst forth; and there are some of them which split asunder so water flows from them…..(Al-Baqarah or The Cow) 2: Verse 74)

“Yet you it is who would slay your people and turn a part from among your out of their homes, backing each other up against them unlawfully and exceeding the limits…. (Al-Baqarah) 2 : Verse 85)

“And We made known to the Children of Israel in the Book: Certainly you will make mischief in the land twice, and behave insolently with mighty arrogance.” (BaniIsrail or The Israelites) 17: Verse 4)

Apart from those books which expose Zionist brutalities, land stealing and apartheid policy against the Palestinians, there is also another brave, humane Jew, Gideon Levy who exposed on film and camera those brutalities and the land stealing by the Zionist people. Gideon Levy, was a reporter for Haaretz newspaper, Israel. His bravery and scarifies in supporting the Palestinians was shown on Al Jazeera TV on Aug 31, 2014. The title of his documentary is “Going Against the Grain”. Gideon Levy was exasperated by the brutalities, by the destructions of the Palestinians economic assets, their houses deliberately inflicted by his own Jewish people, since 1948. Another Al Jazeera documentary on Sept 2, 2014 showed the Zionist bulldozers uprooting those 800 years old olive trees in the Palestinians lands; the shooting of Palestinians babies, children, mothers and old people in their bedrooms by intruding Zionist soldiers who punched holes in walls to brutally bully the Palestinians in their houses.

Another sample of Jewish brutalities: “Armed with guns given to them by the Jewish army, the Jewish settlers of Hebron have always been the most extreme, violent and abusive of all settler communities. They have routinely abused the city’s Palestinians resident; beating them, hurling refuse at them, destroying their shops, chopping down their olive trees, poisoning their water wells, breaking into their homes and even killing them. The Jewish army protected these settlers. When the settlers’ brutalilties escalalated the Jewish military would often attempt to calm down the situation by locking the Arabs up in their houses and imposing curfew on them.” (Ahron Bregman in his book: “Cursed Victory-A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories.”)

The Brunei Times
Tue, 28 October 2014

http://www.bt.com.bn/letters-editor/2014/10/28/algebra-violencein-mideast-ii