08/29/2011, 00.00
INDONESIA

Muslim extremists against movie that promotes tolerance and dialogue

Mathias Hariyadi
Extremists from the Islamic Defender Front demonstrate against SCTV, a TV station that plans to broadcast a movie, “?”, that promotes tolerance and respect towards other religions, filmmaker says. Recently, an ulema organisation issued a fatwa against the movie. Pro-democracy activists warn that attacks threaten freed expression.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The Islamic Defender Front (FPI), an extremist Muslim organisation, is promoting a protest campaign against SCTV, a Jakarta-based private TV station, for scheduling “?”, a movie deemed offensive to Muslims that was directed by a young talented filmmaker, Hanung Bramantyo. Even though, the movie tells a story about tolerance and respect between Indonesia’s various religious groups, the FPI and other Islamist groups say it “pollutes the morality” of Indonesian Muslims.

Jakarta FPI leader Habib Salim Alatas warned the SCTV management that thousands of Muslims would join to demonstrate in front of the TV station should it broadcast the movie Monday night.

Released in April, “?” was recently attacked by the Indonesian Ulema Movement (MUI), which issued a fatwa ordering Muslims not to see it because of its misleading content and its suggestion that there is another ‘God’ beside the one recognised and worshipped within Islam.

Filmmaker Hanung Bramantyo has called on TV executives not to give in to extremist pressures because doing so would mean accepting a patent violation of freedom of expression.

The FPI is not new to threats. In recent weeks, FPI extremists attacked members of the Ahmadi community, a sect viewed as heretical by mainstream Muslims, in Makassar (southern Sulawesi).

In a similar incident, Muslim extremists attack street vendors in Bandung (West Java) for selling alcoholic beverages.

In the recent past, human rights activists have slammed the Indonesian government for doing nothing against extremists.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been especially targeted for criticism because of his failure to take decisive action to stem the rise of Islamists, who are now able to make any claim they want.

Now, just before the end of Ramadan and Idul Fitri on Tuesday, extremists want to censor TV broadcasting.
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