01/19/2012, 00.00
INDONESIA
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East Java: a growing tension between Sunni and Shiite, fears of a conflict

by Mathias Hariyadi
The local leader of Nadhlatul Ulama demand police intervention against the head of the Shiite community Tajul muluk. According to the indictment he is fomenting sectarian divisions and promoting "illegal teachings " about Islam.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - In the province of East Java there is a growing tension between the majority Sunni and minority Shiite Muslims. Human rights and interfaith dialogue activists have launched appeals for calm and call the police to ensure safety. However, a local fringe of the Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) - the most important moderate Muslim movement in Indonesia – is also invoking the intervention of the police to arrest the leader of the Shiite communities on the island of Madura. They claim he must be "kicked out" from the area, because he foments sectarian divisions and promotes a distorted view of Islam.

Since January 17 tension between Sunnis and Shiites in the island of Madura has been growing, which could lead to a "conflict" open. The Nu leader of the province of East Java (Pwnu Jatim) Kiai Hajj Mutawakil Alallah appeals to the police to "arrest" Kiai Hajj Tajul muluk, religious leader of the Shiite community in Nangkernang, in the sub-district Ombeg, Sampang regency, Madura. Police, they say, should not only target those who continue – since the end of 2011 - to attack the Shiite community of Madura, but also those who promote interfaith discord and, in particular, Tajul muluk whose teaching is "illegal" as defined by the same Nu and members of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).

Meanwhile, several groups committed to defending human rights activists and interfaith dialogue, unlike the Sunni leader Kiai Hajj Mutawakil Alallah, ask the police to protect the security of Shiite leader Tajul muluk and restore peace within the Islamic community. Aan Anshori, Nu a young scholar of East Java, does not hide their concerns.

Indonesia, he explains to AsiaNews, shows more flaws in the protection of religious freedom and the province of East Java is revealed as the "most violent" territories of the archipelago, as evidenced by the wave of violence against the Ahmadis. He concludes: since the death of former president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, the "spirit of tolerance is in steep decline."


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