Tuesday, January 3, 2012

SBY must learn from Gus Dur on religious conflicts: activist

In the wake of the brutal arson attack against a Shiite Islamic boarding school in Sampang, Madura, East Java, an activist has called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to learn from his predecessor, the late Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, in handling rampant religious conflict in the country.

“After the fatal attack against Ahmadiyah followers in Cikeusik, Banten, in February, such religious conflicts continue. This is a result of the poor and weak leadership of President Yudhoyono, particularly when it comes to maintaining tolerance in this plural nation,” International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) advocate Usman Hamid said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Friday.

“The President should look at Gus Dur, whose demise will be commemorated on Dec. 31. Gus Dur was always at the forefront of defending minorities,” he added.

A compound belonging to the Shiite community in Sampang was allegedly burned down on Thursday by Sunni Muslims, who make up the majority of the Islamic population in Indonesia.

No casualties were reported.

Several buildings were damaged, including a student dormitory, a mosque, a kitchen, a store and the home of Shiite Islamic boarding school principal Tajul Muluk

Approximately 250 Shiites who lost their homes have been evacuated to the Sampang sports center about 20 kilometers from their neighborhood.

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