FPI, MUI are blasé on Koran corruption
Nasaruddin Umar: (JP)Representatives of two of the nation’s most prominent Muslim groups are none too outraged about the allegations of corruption surrounding the procurement of Korans by the Religious Affairs Ministry.
The chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Ma’aruf Amin, said on Monday that the graft case should be treated like any other. “Koran or not, people will still commit crimes if they have the intention. This is a legal matter. Those guilty of the crime should be punished accordingly.”
Ma’aruf’s assessment of the scandal differed from that offered by Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Nasaruddin Umar, who said that the sins of those implicated in the scandal would multiply.
Nasaruddin, who was the ministry’s Islamic education chief at the time of the suspect procurement, said that he found no indications of irregularities in the project, which he said involved Rp 3 billion (US$318,000) of state funds in 2010 and Rp 5 billion in 2011.
The Indonesian Budget Center, however, has said that the state might have suffered up to Rp 54.4 billion in losses due to corruption surrounding the procurement.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has interrogated several officials at the ministry about the allegations.
Separately, a spokesman for the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) said that the graft scandal involved government officials stealing money and was no different from other such cases.
“We have to put this in perspective. What’s been stolen is the project’s money, and not the Korans. It is basically just another corruption case, FPI spokesman Munarman said. “Where there’s a project, there’s money. People stole some of it.”
Munarman said that there was no other way but to investigate the case thoroughly.
The response of the MUI and FPI, which stands in sharp contrast to the religious decrees and threats issued by the groups when they perceived a slight, was casual when compared to that of Din Syamsuddin.
On Sunday, Din, the chairman of Muhammadiyah, the nation’s second-largest Muslim social and political group, called the scandal odious and shameful to the nation’s Muslims.
“I was surprised when first hearing [the allegations]. It needs to be clarified, but I wish it was not true,” Din said. “If it is true that there is this scandal at the Religious Affairs Ministry, I don’t know how it will be able to manage religious affairs in the country,” he said.
Separately, the deputy chairman of House Commission VIII overseeing religious affairs, Jazuli Juwaini, called on the ministry to be transparent on the investigation.
“We need to keep encouraging the ministry to be more honest, trustworthy and transparent. There needs to be severe punishment for any violations,“ Jazuli said. (aml)