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Jakarta Post

Arson of Shiite ‘pesantren’, illiteracy and local leaders

Jakarta   /   Sat, December 31 2011   /  06:00 am

The hope that this December will last in peace was shattered by the torching of a Shiite Islamic traditional school in Sampang, Madura, on Thursday. If we ask the opinion of a Jakartan Sunni preacher this Friday, we are very likely to get a negative answer, “It was their own fault. They have established a pesantren in a Sunni area.

“Besides, being a Shiite is a big mistake. The true teaching is Sunni and God will only accept Sunni Muslims. If the Shiites want to live in peace, they have to repent and convert.”

Yet, if we go to a religious leader of a Shiite community in their own dominating region, we might get a similar answer. Sunni Muslims are said to be wrong because of certain things they believe theologically or jurisprudentially.

In the preface of his book, The Muslims — Who Are They, Muslim thinker Samih Atif al-Zain wrote, “What induced me to write...