Two Brave Men in Java – Anti-Church Bigots Shout Down Pro-Freedom Pols

Sad to say, the so-called secular nationalist parties sold the pass on religious liberty this week, wih the honourable exception of the PDI-P, ex-President Megawati’s party.

The other two major players, Golkar and President SBY’s Democrats, quailed before a gathering of Islamist extremist groups and announced their support for the bigot Bogor Mayor, Diani Budiarto.

 Bogor’s Bigot Mayor, and the Christians forced to worship on the street outside their sealed church

His sectarian campaign to deny the Yasmin Protestant Church their victory at the Supreme Court now looks like winning, unless the incumbent President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, heeds the report of his own Ombudsman, which unequivocally endorsed the persecuted Christians’ case.
According to, ‘several Islamic organizations’ held a meeting with Bogor’s party leaders, which ‘ended in impasse’ after clashes between the Islamists and PDI-P faction representatives.
Inilah says that ‘the meeting originally was normal,’ while the PKS (shariah-freaks), Golkar and Democrats ‘agreed to support the steps taken by Diani. However, when the PDI-P faction’s W. Untung Maryono offered his views,  representatives of the mass organizations cut him off.’


Untung had merely stated that his party ‘held fast to the principles of Pancasila and had from the beginning rejected the revocation of the church permit.’ Naturally, the intolerant rabble were just as unwilling to allow free debate as freedom of religion, and ‘representatives of mass organizations interrupted with loud tones.’ Untung had upset the hoodlum element by observing that some organizations ‘had been harassing the PDIP.’

Representatives of these organizations have been intimidating and have asked that Muslims no longer choose PDIP during elections…’ Raising his voice, Untung continued to defend his party and stated that it had been abused in this forum.’

As a result of this incident,…some members of the organizations asked him to exit the room. Feeling insulted, Untung got up from his seat and did so. Outside the room, still angry, he said “As Leader of the Democratic Party of Struggle, I don’t accept this.” 

  Fahrudin Sukarno, Islamist PBB

With brazen effrontery, one fanatic, Fahrudin Sukarno, quoted ‘a resident’ who had complained he couldn’t leave his house as ‘every Sunday the street is blocked and does not feel safe!”

But the obstruction is caused by Forkami’s Islamist zealots!

While all this was going on, ‘hundreds’ of Islamist primitives remained massed outside the building, which had a strong police presence, refusing to disperse even when the meeting ended.

So the PDI-P was effectively driven out of their own Council Chamber!

Another version of events comes from Kompas 30/11 -…the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle said it would stick to the law. “I ask if all support the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, Pancasila,” said PDI-P faction chairman Slamet Wijaya.

 Slamet Wijaya

His question was answered “Yes” by community representatives, but Slamet was immediately cut short.   

“Don’t bother to speak. It’s a waste of time,” said one participant. 

And a Forkami participant called on his flock to convey to Muslims that voting for PDI-P was haram!                           

Curiously, although most of the local media covered aspects of this story, it was initially difficult to find any reports that actually identified which ‘ormas’ were involved. Organisasi Masyarakat –citizens’ associations; strange name to apply to gangs of bigot louts, but that was all I could find. I assumed Forkami, the local Islamist trouble-makers, and the FUI (Islamic Forum) too, would be present if an opportunity for mischief might arise.

FPI, of course, are usually guaranteed to be the star-turn. Yet even the Jakarta Post would only say ‘hard-line Muslim groups.I didn’t have time to sift through every one of the online media, but I figured I’d stumble across the FPI if I persevered.

Then in the Jakarta Globe I learned that Hizbut Tahrir loomed large, although the predictable FUI frothing was of course on the menu!

“Members of the press, please cover the rally by Bogor Muslims in support of the Mayor’s decision to revoke GKI Yasmin’s permit and stop GKI Yasmin’s arrogance,” Islamic People’s Forum (FUI) secretary general Muhammad Al Khaththath said.

 Muhammed Al Khaththath, FUI

Al Khaththath said Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto’s decision to revoke the church’s permit was his “discretion as a mayor in accordance with the law.”

But the permanent paranoia among Islamist fanatics is surely the real reason for all this vicious intolerance against a small inoffensive church. Time and again we hear or read them railing on the risk of losing their flock to Jesus!

And the JG confirmed this is a major factor in the Bogor controversy.

 Paragons of Tolerance – HT Calls for Erasure of Israel from the Map of the World!

A video circulating on Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia’s Web site, meanwhile, showed the group’s leaders telling the public that the church did not have a building permit, and that christianization would soon follow if they let the church be built in the area.

How fragile is HT’s belief in the fidelity of ordinary Muslims!

But what are the country’s leaders doing about all this?

We got what we’ve come to expect from that Suryadharma Ali, whom President SBY failed to replace as Minister of Religious Affairs in the recent re-shuffle. He ignored the clear sectarian message coming from all those characters we’ve mentioned, and resumed his theme that ‘the problems experienced are more to do with the issue of a building permit (IMB) which is a local government authority.’

Well, yes, of course, which is why Mayor Diani uttered his infamous view that no church could be built on a street with an Islamic name! Yeah, right, Suryadharma.

But as the famous UK hooker Mandy Rice-Davis once said of somebody else, “He would say that, wouldn’t he?” 

A much more shocking intervention came last Tuesday, from no less than House of Representatives Speaker Marzuki Alie who was reported in the JG as claiming that a ‘House-mediated negotiation should substitute for the existing, legally binding decision of the Supreme Court.

House Speaker Marzuki Alie. (Antara Photo)  House Speaker Marzuki Alie

During a meeting with representatives from Bogor’s GKI Yasmin Church and House leaders, Marzuki claimed it was not reasonable for the church to hope for enforcement of a court ruling that it be allowed to operate.
“There should be communication, negotiation and agreement before it is finally resolved. Don’t think that the court’s decision is the fairest. We cannot play hard, we must give and take,”

Rarely can any legislator in any land have shown such overt contempt for the rule of law.

  The one man we haven’t heard from is the nation’s  President. SBY has surely found time to read his Ombudsman’s report, but not a word. Yet he could turn the tide with one courageous speech.

Unless he makes that speech, it looks like dark days for Indonesia, and all of us who care about this country must share Yasmin Church’s anxiety.

Yet it isn’t all bad. Untung and Slamet show decency survives among a few of the political class.

One has to appreciate the situation here, not just in Bogor, though West Java generally is a cess-pool of intolerance, but elsewhere, whereby people require courage to stand up and face down the fanatics.

Untung deserves our admiration for refusing to be cowed– and he’s a prominent civic leader, so how much more awkward it might get for some ordinary man-in-the street to defy their evil bigotry.

It’s hardly a secret that the Islamist gangs often recruit the lowest elements in society, what we call ‘preman,’ street-thugs, and rest assured they are no strangers to violence. As the Monas Riot in 2008 demonstrated, IslamoNazis don’t shrink from terrorising defenceless men, women or children.