Archive for the 'Indonesia' Category

Indonesia considers ‘disbanding Ahmadiyyas’

More than 1,000 Indonesian Muslims gathered in front of the presidential palace on Sunday to press the government to ban a Muslim sect that has been branded heretical by most Muslims.

An Indonesian government team is drafting a decree that will ban the Ahmadiyya sect, which views itself as Muslim but has been branded a heretical group by the Indonesian Ulema Council, the secular country’s highest Muslim authority.

Chanting “Allahu Akbar (God is Great)” and “Disband Ahmadiyya”, the members of the Indonesian Muslim Forum (FUI), a group of about 50 Muslim organisations, urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to issue the decree.

“We are pushing the president to immediately issue a presidential decree disbanding Ahmadiyya,” FUI Secretary General Muhammad Al Khaththath told Reuters.

The FUI also asked the government to capture Ahmadiyya’s leaders and seize all its assets.

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Israel calls on Indonesia to play a more active role in Middle East affairs

This month, a letter appeared in Indonesia’s main English-language newspaper.

It was signed by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Majalli Whbee and it called on Indonesia to expand its role in the Middle East, and to engage more with the challenges facing the Muslim world.

This might come as something of a surprise, given that Indonesia has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

It also happens to be the world’s most populous Muslim country, is a member of Opec and enjoys good relations with Iran and Syria.

But Indonesia is the kind of Muslim country many western nations and their allies feel comfortable with – it is democratic, pluralist, and has had real success in tackling Islamic extremism.

No wonder some people see it as an ideal candidate to bridge the gaps between the Muslim world and the West.

To some extent, it is already involved in that dialogue. Indonesia took part in last year’s Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, and is working on capacity-building programmes for the Palestinians.

But given its size and political spread, could it do more? Should it have a more prominent role in issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or Iran’s nuclear programme?

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Indonesia (world’s most populous Muslim country) and Russia come closer together

Vladimir Putin today signed a major arms deal on a visit to Indonesia, signalling Russia’s intent to extend its influence in another country with traditionally close links to the US.

The Russian president stopped over in Jakarta for a one-day visit, on his way to the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) group in Sydney.

The visit – the first to the country by a Russian or Soviet leader in more than half a century – saw Mr Putin formally agree a £500m credit arrangement for Indonesia, tied in with a deal for the country to purchase 15 helicopters, 20 tanks, and two submarines from Russia.

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