Din Syamsuddin: chairman of the Muhammadiyah. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)
Din Syamsuddin, chairman of the Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Islamic organization, said the organization supported the independence of Kosovo from Serbia.
Kosovo declared its independence on Feb. 17, 2008, although Serbia considers it a UN-governed province in its territory.
Din said recognizing it would be in line with the 1945 Constitution’s preamble, which stipulates that independence is the right of all nations and that colonization should be eliminated. The second reason is the fact that 96 percent of Kosovars are Muslims, he added.
“We expect the Indonesian government to recognize Kosovo’s independence because there are no reasons not to do so,” he said Friday in a statement sent from Pristina after paying a courtesy call on Kosovo president Atifete Jahjaga.
He was in the Kosovar capital city to speak at a conference on inter-civilization dialogue.
On another note, Din said the Muhammadiyah wanted to forge cooperation with Kosovars and provide scholarships for Kosovar students who wanted to study at Muhammadiyah-run universities in Indonesia.
Jahjaga welcomed the offer and expressed her intention to visit Indonesia.
She also expected the Indonesian government to recognize her country considering Indonesia’s position in the Islamic world. Such recognition by Indonesia would surely be followed by other countries, she added.
Currently, about 90 countries recognize Kosovo including the United States, a number of European countries and about 30 Islamic countries, while China and Russia have refused to recognize it. On 22 July 2010, the International Court of Justice ruled that Kosovo’s declaration of independence did not violate any international laws.
Indonesia is reluctant to recognize Kosovo’s independence because it could prompt separatist movements in Indonesia to seek similar recognition. Indonesia is still facing separatism problems, especially in overwhelmingly Christian Papua and in Maluku, where the population is an equal mix of Muslims and Christians. (nvn)