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Jakarta Post

Islam, Pancasila and atheism

  • M. Syafi’i Anwar

Cambridge, Massachusetts   /   Tue, June 26 2012   /  08:00 am

Should Alexander Aan live in exile, could he express atheism without facing hatred and threats of beheading? One might wonder why he prefers to live in Indonesia — a predominantly Muslim country — which was reported by the US leading magazine Newsweek as representing “smiling Islam” more than two decades ago.

Unfortunately, Aan is currently facing “angry Islam”. We might argue that the majority of Indonesian Muslims remain moderate.

However, as Endy Bayuni argued, radical Islamic groups have raised Indonesia’s current political temperature (“Is there room for atheists in Indonesia?”, The Jakarta Post, June 18). The implication is far reaching, particularly in Aan’s case.

Having declared himself a “Minang atheist” and stated “God does not exist” on his Facebook account, Aan triggered revulsion and threats from hard-line groups. An angry m...