Hard-liners, Police Interfere With Interfaith Dialogue

Surabaya. A small group of religious hard-liners backed up by police disrupted an interfaith dialogue on Tuesday night, claiming that the event was conducted without a permit.

At the end of Uli Abshar Abdalla and Bambang Noorsena’s “Islamic-Christian Theology Dialogue: Textual Criticism on Biblical and Koranic Text Variants,” eight people showed up and demanded to see the committee who planned the event. They then forced the organizers to go to the Surabaya Police station to be questioned.

“The weird thing is that the police officers who were present stayed quiet, regardless of what the group did,” Ahmad Zaimul Hamdi, a committee member and activist with the Anti-Violence Society Network, said on Wednesday.

“The police even provided a vehicle to bring the organizers to the police station.”

Ahmad said that the event was part of an academic discussion that analyzed the Koran and the Bible from both Islamic and Christian perspectives. Hundreds of people attended the event, and the discussion was going smoothly until the small group of hard-liners arrived on the scene.

In reality, the committee did obtain a police permit to conduct the event in a restaurant in South Surabaya. However, law enforcers revoked the permit shortly after on the grounds that the restaurant no longer wanted the event to be held at its location.

Since invitations were sent out, organizers decided to move the discussion to a Bishops Inn hotel in Surabay.

“News spread that the police knew that the discussion would be opposed by hard-liners,” Ahmad said. “They revoked the event permit instead of protecting us.”

The Surabaya chapter of Anstor, Nahdlatul Ulema’s youth wing, condemned the hard-liners’ protest.

“We want the government to take strict action against those committed to violence,” Mohammad Asrori, the head of Ansor’s Surabaya chapter, said.

The Surabaya Police office reportedly handed the case over to the East Java Police, though Sr. Comr. Hilman Thalib, a spokesman for the East Java Police, could not be reached for confirmation.

  • Tatanka

    In Indonesia? But SBY got an award for religious tolerance! In reality the hardliners had neither the authority nor the legal stand to disrupt the event. If the police accommodated the hardliners then we know either the police got paid or they are actually thugs too. Just because the police wore uniform does not mean they will uphold the law the uniform was supposed to represent. Next time, get the protection from the marines. Any wonder why people don’t respect the police?

    • MadWorld

      Yeah, yeah, SBY understands religious tolerance,he got payed ( & awarded by the yew) for his actor role in this matter.

  • Valkyrie1604

    I think most of us will instantly think about that damned award.

    Mr. President? Are you disturbed? Hmmm….I don’t think so.

  • TGIF

    When the Islamic radicals have a permit or better yet a warrant to disrupt a peaceful gatering then we can all sit down and discuss who’s right or wrong like grown up adults. But until then it is advisable to stay in your cave where you belong. Allah does not respect Islamic hyprocrites. Someone must have been a whistler blower and the hard-liners jumped at the opportunity. And how much did they pay the police to back them up??
    Moses, Ibrahim, Jacob, Jesus are all prophets spelled out in the koran, so what is wrong with theses ignorant Islamic thugs??

    • Wonderer

      And I am sure all these prophets held properly stamped and signed police licenses before spreading their news!

    • TalkingEid

      Easy – they didn’t get their ‘cut’. Islamic hard-liners are no more interested in religion than the man in the moon. Follow the money.

  • Wonderer

    WHY WHY WHY are they all so worried about even discussing religious matters?!? Is the faith so weak? Or might it be that much is actually about controlling thought and power…? Just wondering, Wonderer.

    • Botak

      It’s about power? Only take a look at the radicals, most of them have only a basic education, most don’t work and so on….

      There is a saying “By pointing with one finger, 3 are always pointing back” Another thing is that negative actions are giving a lot of information about the emotional state of someone.

      All these actions by these radicals are based on insecurity. They know they can’t compete in live. As husband & parent the most of them fail, as they don’t provide the rice bowl, work for them is limited because of their educational lack. So they are hiding behind religion and “Cari Nama” there.

      Since the most people don’t like to admit their weaknesses and failures, they will try to overload, and pointing with fingers towards others, so that nobody looks at them.

      Actually we could pity these guys, but better is to get rid of them, because if they get to power, we would have another “Pol Pot Killing fields” in Indonesia, if not worse.

  • Fasdunkle

    islam is very weak, so it has to be enforced

  • Henrietta

    Why should you need a permit to discuss religion?

  • Tatanka

    Good scope on the lay of the land.The solution? We should not just be concerned with those ignorants but also on the institutions (police, or otherwise) who should be enforcing the law and serving the public by ensuring safety and security. Unfortunately, the law enforcement agencies in Indonesia is just a den of thiefs, thugs and robbers. By not enforcing the law the criminals (those radicals and hardliners are nothing more than common criminals and a menace to the society) can act with impunity behind the cloak of islam. We should not dance around the issue. Call it as it is. Stop calling them hardliners, radicals, etc. and start calling them criminals, thugs, terrorists and hypocrites. Anyone imposing terror in any society is a terrorist, not just those blowing themselves up or throwing molotov cocktails. Start calling them islamic terrorists.

    • Elat

      Tatanka… those two words don’t fit together: “Islamic” and “Terrorist”. You are either one or the other, but can’t be both…!!
      Not ‘cari nama” but ‘curi nama” maybe ??

      • TGIF

        You got a valid point a there….during the religious conflict in Northern Ireland in the 90′s, we don’t hear name calling Christian terrorist as such….rather the Organization’s name.

      • Tatanka

        Then in the name of human decency the so called good muslims must speak out,denounce and fight those who taint Islam. But… where are they?

  • Kangkung

    Is this why SBY gets his award ??