WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014 – The “Anti-Shia Alliance” in Indonesia has attracted attention and escalated concerns among human rights groups about the rights of Shia’s since Sunday.
According to reporters, many Indonesians attended an anti-Shia declaration on Sunday at the Al Fajr mosque in the West Java capital of Bandung. However, media is not reporting on the fact that the alliance was organized immediately after it was revealed that Jalaluddin Rakhmat, may be appointed as Religious Affair minister.
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Jalaluddin Rakhmat is a well-known Shia Islamic scholar and lecturer at Paramadina in Bandung. Appointing a Shia Muslim to such a position created atmosphere of insecurity among anti-Shia political groups.
While the alliance created insecurity and fear of human rights violation in Indonesia such alliance was only motivated by politicians and for political interest.
Two days before the “Anti-Shia Alliance,” native Shia groups in West Java contacted the local authorities and expressed their concern about the possible alliance. However, the governor took no action.
Shia Rights Watch believes all citizens have the right to participate in their government and they must use their citizenship rights to advocate for peace and hormone in the country. As native activist reported to SRW, the gathering that took place on Sunday was a reaction motivated by anti-Shia groups to a Shia Muslims’ entrance to the Indonesian parliament.
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SRW advises Indonesian politicians to advocate through their qualifications and not to use religious differences and spread hatred among people in order to gain political attention. This organization also invites Indonesians from all backgrounds and with all religious affiliations, to avoid participation in discriminatory activities. It is only the peaceful power of civilians that can end human rights violation and disseminations among all nations, and each citizen should participate in spreading peace starting in their own hometown, say SRW director Mustafa Akhwand.
Historically, Indonesians have lived together peacefully, and the country has been known for its diversity. However, during last decade, anti-Shia movements have created atmosphere of fear among Indonesian Shia. As SRW reported in its Shia Ethnic Cleansing in Indonesia publication, many Shia Muslims have been attacked and lost their homes in 2012 and their battle to go back to t heir residents has not ended yet.
Motivating people to make alliances against others based on their faith is illegal and must be addressed by the Indonesian government. Indonesia now has about 4.5 million Shia and they all deserve and have the rights to live in peace with others and be recognized by their government.