This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Passion of Muslim Violence

"Vigilante justice, like the case that just happened in Bekasi, happens so frequently."
"It reflects a lack of trust toward legal institutions. The police are seen as insufficiently responsive."
Alghifari Aqsa, lawyer, Legal Aid Institute

"The legal system is seen by many people as too lenient for petty theft."
"Now more strangers are passing through these areas, and often the residents don't know what their purpose is."
"If there is indication of a crime, it can lead to a lynching."
Sana Jaffrey, doctoral researcher, University of Chicago

"Let's not have there be any future victims of vigilante justice."
"If this keeps up, how can we be considered a nation of laws?"
Siti Zubaidah, 25
Siti Zubaidah, Mr. Zahra’s widow, with her 4-year-old son. “Let’s not have there be any future victims of vigilante justice,” she said. Credit Rony Zakaria for The New York Times

Ms. Zubaidah is pregnant, and has become a widow. Her husband, a seller of electronics, was a recent victim of mob violence. He was accused by a mob of having stolen an amplifier from inside a mosque. He protested his innocence, by telling his accusers "I'm not a thief", but the mob was intent on blood and they beat him to death, then burned his body. An act of public savagery in Bekasi, Indonesia that shocked the public presumably, but satisfied the mob which shouted triumphantly as the man's body burst into flames.

Earlier, 30-year-old Muhammad al-Zahra had been lynched in a suburb of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. Society is now agonizing at the vicious vigilante mobs terrifying in their rabid and swift version of justice for crimes unproven, but charged. Between 2007 and 2014 mob attacks saw an increase of 25 percent, a figure from the National Violence Monitoring System, a program through the World Bank which records vigilante killings in Indonesia.

The program records 33,627 incidents of vigilante violence where people were victimized, an estimated 1,549 of whom were killed by the violence visited upon them. The picture is not quite complete since the program is set to monitor only violence that takes place in half of the provinces of Indonesia. According to Ms. Jaffrey, who had headed the program for the World Bank, residents of impoverished districts feel the Indonesian legal code is too lenient with petty thieves so they have mandated themselves to exact stiffer penalties.

The men arrested as ringleaders of the mob that had beaten Mr. Zahra to death had no idea what he had been accused of, according to Rizal Marito, a police official: "They thought he was a motorbike thief", he stated at a news conference. For a nation that prides itself on its democratic governance, the most populous Muslim country in the world, its level of tolerance for the minorities within, Christian, Buddhist and Hindu, leaves much to be desired.

The usual hostility of Islam toward the presence of other religions is manifest; churches failing to obtain the proper 'licence' are subject to state destruction, yet obtaining permission to build is a difficult procedure not readily granted. What is common among Muslims in a generalized way, is their collective and individual reaction to assumed slights against Islam. And the presence of any religious symbol representing another religion is hateful and insulting to Islam as far as its orthodox faithful are concerned.

It doesn't take much for a mob to go on a vindictively violent rampage, whether or not they're in possession of reliable evidence to back up the wild claims made against people seen as offensive to Islam. The world was witness to the reaction of Muslims across the globe in mass violence as the faithful protested the Mohammad cartoon contest launched by Jyllands Posten. Mobs go on pathologically berserk rampages of violence in response to perceived mockery of Islam.

It is as though in lock-step with the surrender to Islam by the faithful, a dose of virulent paranoia is inherited, along with obeisance to the Koran and the Hadiths and the requirements to pray five times daily.
"The jailing of Jakarta’s Christian governor for two years for blasphemy is a shocking and harsh ruling in a case that should never have been brought. It goes further than even prosecutors had sought; they had asked for a suspended one-year sentence for Basuki Tjahaja Purnama – better known as Ahok – on a lesser charge. He had cited a verse from the Qur’an which he said was misused to deceive voters into believing non-Muslims should not lead Muslims. His lawyer says he will appeal."
"Indonesia is not only a relatively recent democracy, but the world’s third largest; it also has the largest Muslim population. It has been welcomed as proof that Islam and democracy are compatible; and – though deeply scarred by periodic outbreaks of communal and inter-ethnic violence of various kinds – it likes to pride itself on moderation, pluralism and tolerance."
The Guardian newspaper
Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, arrives at a courtroom for his verdict and sentence in his blasphemy trial in Jakarta on 9 May
Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian, popularly known as Ahok, who was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy. Photograph: Jefta Images/Barcroft Images

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