Who’s ‘Moderate?’ Ask Jakarta Foreign Correspondents!

I had an email last week, from the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club, advertising one of their frequent meetings at which prominent Indonesians are invited to speak.

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Unfortunately, they often chop and change their times and dates, which makes one rather reluctant to attend.

This time, today, it’s Muhammad Zainul Majdi, Governor of West Nusa Tenggara Province, and I was fascinated by the JFCC’s laudatory description of His Excellency.


  • tuan-guru-bajang-kh-zainul-majdi-ma-pemimpin-ntb-baru_htm
  • The Governor
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Also known as Tuan Guru Bajang, or TGB, he not only has a strong economic track record and reputation as a progressive governor of West Nusa Tenggara, but is also a highly respected Muslim scholar and proponent of moderate Islam. 


I can’t comment on his ‘economic track record,’ but TGB’s ‘moderate Islam?’ Are the senders of that JFCC email unaware of his views on the persecuted Ahmadiyah?

Those Muslim dissenters have suffered monstrous maltreatment in recent years, in various provinces, like Banten, which is only a few miles from where I live in Jakarta…

Victim of Islamist Murder Mob Gets Six Months in the Slammer 

…but also in Zainul’s own territory.


ahmadis transito 
Savage bigots in Lombok destroy Ahmadi homes -100 cops just watched – and that wasn’t this month, it was YEARS ago.  
In Squalid Internal Exile, Lombok Ahmadis Denied Voting Rights 

And while the scandalous bigotry pictured above was indeed years ago, only this month, moronic savages again ran amok in Lombok

Ahmadi community comes under attack in East Lombok, as homes and properties destroyed

“The attacks were based on similar reasons: hatred and intolerance,” said a spokesperson for the Ahmadiyah Indonesia Congregation.
“It’s not the first and definitely won’t be the last attack. It’s been years and the Ahmadi community continues to live under threats…” 

So what do we know of TGB’s thoughts on this dire situation?  Have they become less intolerant than when he indulged in the following outburst?

Zainul Majdi says that he did not see why the Ahmadiyah should be part of the island’s plans to follow in the footsteps of neighboring Bali, a noted tourist hotspot.

Ahmadis, Zainul said, would be better off moving out of the province entirely or agreeing to a proposal to relocate to a remote island in West Nusa Tenggara. The governor said the sect…did not fit into his drive to ramp up Lombok’s tourist appeal.   


Instead of blaming the foul bigots harassing the peaceful and inoffensive Ahmadis, Zainul went on to claim it was the victims’ own fault –

‘It was only after they formed their own community, maintaining their exclusivity and proselytizing their faith did friction with surrounding areas occur.”

Why on earth should they not proselytise?

Do not Zainul and many other Muslims believe they have a duty to spread their faith?

Does Zainul not think others should enjoy the same right?



It’s true the man has criticised the vigilante gangs, and he does not endorse violence, but he is surely, on the evidence of his own words, no ‘moderate’ on matters of religious liberty UNLESS he has had a dramatic change of heart!

But perhaps the ‘foreign correspondents’ who sent out that email did not know of his blatant victim-blaming.

Or, who knows, they have evidence that he has repented…


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….and apologised for his erstwhile intolerance.

Nobody would be happier than me to hear their proof that he’s a reformed character!

If that’s not the case, if he still sticks by his previous appalling assertions, and the JFCC are ignorant of those assertions, then they’re doing a shockingly sloppy job and should be replaced by journalists who know what they’re talking about.


My initial remarks about how JFCC chops and changes their meeting schedule?

YUP, they’ve done it again.

When I got home last night, another email was waiting for me, to say today’s meeting has been changed to tomorrow.