These people need to be very alert. They have committed an act of heresy.
This is worse than drawing cartoons.
Indonesian religious authorities re-interpreting key verses in Quran:
By Indonesia Bureau Chief Sujadi Siswo | Posted: 28 July 2010 2052 hrs
JAKARTA : Indonesian religious authorities are re-interpreting several key verses in the Quran that have been used to radicalise Muslims in the country.
Officials acknowledge that their efforts could create tension within the Indonesian Muslim community.
Some terrorism experts said it may even harden existing radicals.
A top official from Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Ministry said a large number of Islamic schools are still using classical interpretations that are out sync with modern times. And these have been used as a reference for radicals to spread their ideology in Indonesia.
The Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry is trying to change that by offering an updated interpretation of the Quran and Islamic traditions.
They also acknowledged the challenges they face.
Nasaruddin Umar, director general, Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Ministry, said: “Changing something that is religious is difficult. Changing tradition is easy. And changing something, which is politics, is even easier. We have to be very careful with the verses and the Islamic traditions. It can cause tension among Muslims.”
And the response has been swift.
Noor Huda Ismail, Indonesia Terrorism Observer, said: “If the new translations come out with completely unsatisfactory interpretations, it will create new type of radicalisation. I just got an SMS from one of the former combatant who was listening to his speech. He said, ‘Look, what is this guy talking about. The way he does the interpretation is completely out of context. I cannot take it’.”
The exchange of ideas was what a gathering of anti-terrorism experts was all about, as Indonesia set out its road map to combat radical ideology.
Even neighbouring Singapore chipped in. It shared the experience of its Religious Rehabilitation Group – a programme by Singapore Muslim clerics to try to de-radicalise militants arrested in the country.
Indonesia – the world most populated Muslim nation with different shades of the Islamic faith – has no formal programme in place to rehabilitate former militants. And a number of them have re-joined terror groups to launch new attacks.
Dr Kumar Ramakrishna, counter terrorism expert, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said: “There has come a realisation that while there has been a lot of progress on the kinetic front or the use of force, yet the ideology which gives rise to such terrorists cells in the first place still remains a problem to be addressed.”
Indonesia’s newly-established National Anti-Terror Agency – decreed by the President – is expected to launch a more comprehensive approach towards addressing terrorism in Indonesia.
While those living in big cities such as Jakarta are more open to new ideas and interpretations, there are still huge numbers of Indonesian Muslims in the outer areas that hold on to different or even radical interpretations of the Islamic text. This effort of winning hearts and changing minds will be long and challenging. – CNA/ms