Jakarta – Top Cop Slams Traff-Islamic-Jams

‘Unitary Republic of Indonesia, Not an Islamic State!’

Excellent to hear it said, and from a senior police officer too!  The brazen arrogance of some ‘ustads’ and ‘ulemas’ has reached an overweening altitude that a state with pretensions to Pancasila status has to confront.

It’s not just the savagery of thugs like the FPI and the primitives who burned the Ahmadi village in West Java, nor the bigots in Bogor thumbing their noses at a Supreme Court ruling in favour of Christians’ rights.

I mentioned a month or so ago about the way my homeward journey one evening was delayed when the entire street from Kebon Jeruk mosque up to Meruya Raya was swamped by white-clad nitwits who’d installed a large movie screen on the public highway.

Not Kebon Jeruk, but Inconsiderates Abound in Jakarta

There were police aplenty around, but instead of moving in with billy-clubs to drive the anti-socials off, they shepherded traffic past them, a long line of honest citizens after a hard day’s work, prevented from reaching their homes by an inconsiderate rabble.

But hope springs eternal (it has to, in Jakarta!) for here’s the Jakarta Post yesterday.

‘Jakarta Police called on Monday for Muslim organizations to stop holding religious gatherings that would block traffic at the main thoroughfares in the Greater Jakarta region. Jakarta Police Chief Insp. Gen. Untung S. Radjab said that as a majority group, Muslims should restrain themselves from an intolerant presence in the city.’
About time somebody in authority said so! And it gets better!
“Our country is called the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, not an Islamic state, despite the fact that Muslims make up the majority of the population. Within the republic, all are free to deliver their sermons. But will the sermon end up blocking the traffic and disrupt the activities of others? If so, then it is not appropriate,” Untung told reporters on Monday.
Ignoring the minor detail that all are not free to deliver their sermons, esp. Ahmadiyah,  Untung is correct. That’s how it should be. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the law.
But the story goes on to name two particularly tiresome gangs of Islamists who are often responsible for causing trouble like this on what we in Ontario would call the King’s Highway,  as Untung stressed that leaders of Muslim groups should think carefully about whether or not their activities might disrupt the interests of the general public.

The thoroughfare connecting Jakarta and Depok experienced massive gridlock on July 31 until the early morning hours when a Muslim group calling themselves Majelis Nurul Mustofa held a gathering to hear a sermon by the group’s leader, Al Habib Hasan Bin Ja’far Assegaf, at the Tanjung Barat intersection in South Jakarta…Another Muslim organization often blamed for causing gridlock by its penchant for holding open-air sermons is Majelis Rasulullah.

These people have little or no civic consciousness, nor even basic courtesy, and it’s encouraging to read that ‘police could break up any activity or public gathering that might disrupt the broader public interest.’
Yes, they ‘could’ but ‘will’ they?

Jakarta Police chief of operation Sr. Comr. Sujarno said that it was not easy for the police to break up such gatherings considering the high concentration of people in attendance.
“That is why most officers decide to secure the sermons,” he said.

If Only!

It’s not that hard, Pak Untung. Water-cannon, after a loud-hailer order to disperse, are an effective way of dispersing recalcitrant crowds.

Anti-socials would soon get the message and find other ways to obtain their spiritual nutrition besides obstructing normal folk who earn an honest living, like ‘one motorist trapped in the gridlock, Maina Sumapradja, who said that the traffic congestion from the sermon has now become a regular occurrence in south Jakarta.
Traffic congestion from religious gatherings has in fact spread to downtown Jakarta.
“Once a month, I have to deal with street closures in Casablanca because of a bazaar opened by Muhammadiyah,” she said.
Maina added that she considered Muslim organizations that only promoted their own religious agenda as “barbaric”.
“They believe because they are many they can do whatever they want on the streets and victimize others,” she said.
“They also must never assume that people nearby will always accept them,” she said.

Well said, Ms. Maina! If only we had a million more Indonesians prepared to speak those words and act on them!