Friday, November 30, 2007

Truth monopoly, anyone?

from The Jakarta Post (Indonesia)

In Indonesia, the claim to truth is increasingly being monopolized by a group of Islamic fundamentalists and conservatives, ironically, in collaboration with the state ... This weekend, a group of people, aided by officials, forced the closure of a Roman Catholic church in the West Jakarta district of Tambora, on the pretext that it did not have the necessary permission from the people in the neighborhood. The premise had been used as a church for the last 40 years with no problems. There have been many other attacks on churches around the country that have gone unreported. This week, the government prevented an Islamic scholar from Egypt from delivering a series of lectures and sharing his knowledge at a gathering in the East Java town of Malang, only because his understanding of the Koran was considered to be too different from that fundamentalist Muslim scholars ... If we allow this to happen without a single word of protest, we can expect more bans against lectures by Islamic scholars and more attacks on people of other faiths that do not conform to the conservatives' notion of truth. At stake is not only our freedom and the pluralistic nature of this nation, but truth itself.

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