Indonesian Council of Mullahs Hate

Islamic radicals demand guilty verdict for Christians

Women on trial for teaching Bible to children with permission of parents

Posted: August 21, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By John M. Lindner

Assist News Service

Islamic radicals are in no way concealing their agenda as they campaign for a guilty verdict in a court case involving three Christian women accused of "Christianizing" Muslim children in Indonesia.

An Indonesian correspondent known only as Ibrahim B. says their agenda is spelled out in an Indonesian-language book with an English title, "Jihad and the Foreign Policy of the Khilafah State."

Ibrahim told Assist News Service the book is freely available in Indonesian bookstores and "teaches a vision of aggressive and violent jihad to establish an Islamic caliphate, and from there to launch jihad against other nations to bring them into the Islamic Empire."

"This is the new imperialism and the new colonialism my country is facing, and it is evident in the militant mujahideen who gather at the court in Indramayu each week to demand the death of three accused housewives who cared enough about children to try and save them from a future in prostitution," he said.

According to Ibrahim, "The radicals want Indonesia to be the foundation of a Southeast Asian caliphate that will launch jihad against other nations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and Papua New Guinea until they have all submitted to Islam."

To achieve this vision, he said, "all pockets of resistance must be subdued. This is why there have been jihad operations in Maluku and Central Sulawesi in the last few years and why there have been more than 100 churches closed down or destroyed in West Java alone in just the last three years and over 30 churches in the last month."

Ibrahim says The Indonesian Council of Mullahs, or MUI, has spearheaded the jihad drive and it is they who are demanding that these three housewives be severely punished for allowing Muslim children to attend their "Happy Week" activities.

Ibrahim quotes page 64 of the Jihad book as saying, "It is not allowed for Muslims to fight those whom the Islamic da'wah [preaching] has not reached, rather the unbelievers must first be called to join Islam. If they reject, then they are invited to submit (live under) the ruling of the Islamic State by paying the jizyah tax [protection money only paid by non-Muslims]. If they reject that, then war must be waged against them in order to remove any obstacle in the way of implementing the Islamic ruling system upon them."

In other words, the three choices are join Islam, pay a protection tax called jizyah or be killed in warfare.

Ibrahim told ANS the book declares Muslims "must remove any obstacle in the way of implementing the Islamic ruling system." These three housewives are seen as an obstacle that must be removed, he said.

Earlier this year, Rebecca Laonita, Ratna Mala Bangun, and Ety Pangesti conducted a "Happy Week" Vacation Bible School-type program in their homes in the village of Haurgelis, West Java. Eventually about a score of Muslim children also attended with permission of their parents. The women were arrested on charges of "Christianization" of Muslim children, and immediately jailed. The court case began June 30.

The case is tried only on Thursdays, and fewer militants 50 to 60 arrived by truck Thursday than in previous weeks. But their propaganda was no less intense, Ibrahim said.

According to Ibrahim, one of their leaders grabbed a megaphone and shouted, "Remember the times of Dutch colonialism! We fought against them with just sharpened bamboo! Our grandfathers shed their blood because of the bullets and bombs of the Dutch. But one man, Diponegoro, became a national hero and stood up against them. You are the ones called to carry out the command of the prophet and you must be just as brave so that you will be able to implement sharia Islam (Islamic law). Are you ready?"

The trucked-in militants responded, "Ready! Allahu akbar! [Allah is Greatest!"]

The Muslim preacher continued, "Every drop of your blood will give birth to many in Islam who will be proved by Allah. Seventy-two houris [fairy women] will bathe you.

"Alhamdulillah! [Allah be Praised!] we have reached the seventh session of the trial. The whole of the Islamic community is again waiting for a just decision [i.e., favorable to Islam], but if this court is not just then we ourselves will act according to our own law. Indeed we have our own plans but we are still holding ourselves back because we respect the law in this nation. But we will not agree if Rebecca and her companions are given a light penalty, or if they are set free.

"Don't think for a moment that Rebecca will be able to return peacefully to Haurgeulis [the village where the Happy Week was conducted]. We have our own just methods according to Islamic law. Allahu akbar!"

The mujahideen responded loudly with raised, clenched fists, "Allahu akbar! Allah is Greater!"

As the court proceedings resumed, Posma Sabam Manahan, a defense lawyer, requested a week's postponement. The prosecution had added new elements in his summary the previous week, and the defense needed more time to prepare. The chief justice immediately granted the defense lawyer's request and closed the session.

But the mujahideen, Ibrahim said, broke out in shouts of anger. One cried out, "Don't postpone the trial! Get on with it!" Another shouted, "That's rubbish!" While yet another was clearly heard to say, "Hand down the verdict now! Punish them, judge!"

Ibrahim told ANS he next saw something he had never seen before. The chief justice, Judge Hasby, stood up to the shouting militants and exploded in anger against them.

"This court has its rules and regulations! Who dared to tell us to hand down the verdict now?" he declared.

The judge rebuked them for their behavior and then told them to be patient.

"This threw the leaders of the mujahideen into a panic as they scurried around calming down their troops and telling them to leave the court in an orderly fashion," Ibrahim said.

The mujahideen then retreated, climbed into their trucks and departed for another week.

"Today's brush with outrage made me wonder what will be the outcome of this case," Ibrahim told ANS. "Can the judges truly be impartial when even their own safety is being threatened? Can they possibly hand down a 'not guilty' verdict knowing that the mujahideen are threatening violent jihad and the shedding of blood? What will happen to the Christians in Haurgeulis and the families of the three accused if the women are cleared or given a light sentence? Truly the potential consequences are disturbing, but the three women must not be allowed to be thrown on the scrap heap of convenience just to placate the violent mujahideen."

Ibrahim said Indonesia is a land known for its tolerance. It has a constitution that guarantees freedom of religion and a system of law that is meant to protect the innocent and the oppressed and to punish the oppressors. The question is, will these standards prevail, or will they be overpowered by a highly vocal, militant minority bent on jihad?

Aug. 17 was the nation's 58th celebration of the Declaration of Independence since 1945.

Ibrahim said, "I felt as proud as any Indonesian should be, because the nation had liberated itself from Dutch colonialism. But I also felt shame as I saw my fellow countrymen becoming victims of a new imperialism, a new colonialism in radical Islam that wishes to subject its will on the nation."

"Will we see true justice in this case?" Ibrahim asks. "We can only pray that we will."