No group should resort to violence: Interreligious council
Homophobia: In a Sept. 29, 2010 file photo, members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) rally outside the Goethe Institute in Menteng, Central Jakarta on Tuesday to oppose a film festival that screens gay movies. They demanded that the festival be stopped. (Antara/Fanny Octavianus)Indonesia’s Interreligious Council (IRC) chairman Din Syamsuddin says mass organizations have the right to exist in the country as long as they do not resort to violence.
“I’m not talking about certain groups, but in general they all have the right to exist, the right to speak up. However, they can only do that under one condition: none of them should resort to violence,” Din, who is also the chairman of the Muhammadiyah, the country’s second largest Islamic organization, said on Sunday.
Din was asked to comment on Central Kalimantan residents’ rejection of the presence four senior leaders of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) in Palangkaraya on Saturday. Hundreds of protesters, mostly from the Dayak tribe, staged a rally at Tjilik Riwut Airport to block the FPI leaders’ arrival in Palangkaraya. The FPI leaders were scheduled to inaugurate the organization’s provincial branch in the city. However, the protesters said that the FPI, which is often associated with violent acts against minority groups in the name of Islam, was not welcome and demanded that the FPI leaders leave the city immediately and not disembark from the airplane.
Din said many mass organizations were needed in Indonesia.
“Many mass organizations have contributed to the country,” Din said, citing Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah as examples.(iwa)