The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Ulema Council ( MUI ) has issued a fatwa against the Fajar
Nusantara Movement ( Gafatar ), declaring it a heretical organization that
spreads deviant religious teachings, but calling on Muslims not to take
the law into their own hands.
Based on its findings, the MUI's edict commission concluded that Gafatar was a successor to the Al Qidayah al-Islamiyah group that the MUI had previously declared heretical.
"The Gafatar is deviant as its ideology unifies Islamic, Christian and Judaic teachings, which the MUI describes as syncretism," MUI chairman Ma'ruf Amin said during a press conference on Wednesday.
People who follow Gafatar and accepted its teachings were thus considered apostates ( murtad ) and infidels based on Islamic teachings, he said, adding that they should repent if they considered themselves Muslims.
As for those involved in the movement but who did not accept its teachings, Ma'ruf called on them to leave the group and return to their communities.
He stressed that the government should assist them and take measures to protect them from discrimination and violence.
Meanwhile, MUI edict commission chairman Hasanuddin AF urged the Muslim community not to commit violence or discrimination against Gafatar members.
'Don't steal the property and wealth of the former members of Gafatar,' said Hasanuddin, adding that communities were obliged to accept those who wanted to return to society.
'Furthermore, the government should protect them, particularly those who have lost their property, wealth, lands and jobs,' he added.
Before issuing the fatwa, the MUI conducted research in Yogyakarta, Aceh and South Sumatra to gather accurate information on Gafatar, which was behind multiple missing-person reports in recent months; it later transpired the people involved were not missing, but had moved away to join the sect-like group.
Apart from carrying out research in the three provinces, the MUI central board also obtained information about Gafatar from its local office in North Maluku, Central Sulawesi, West Kalimantan and other offices in Java.
While Gafatar has declared itself a social organization unaffiliated to any religion, the MUI discovered deviant religious teachings in its activities, according to MUI edict commission secretary Asrorun Niam.
"One of the teachings demanded recognition of their spiritual leader, Ahmad Musadeq, as a messiah," Asrorun said, referring to the founder of Al Qiyadah al-Islamiyah.
Musadeq was sentenced to four years in prison by the South Jakarta District Court in 2008 for religious defamation after he declared himself to be a new prophet.
The fatwa also stipulated the mechanism the government should use to protect people from deviant religious teachings and the legal actions that should be imposed on those who lead people astray with false theology, Asrorun added. ( bbn )( + )