Indonesian clerics denounce army chief for insulting Islam
A top Indonesian general said controversial comments he made about God that rabid Muslim groups were aimed at defending diversity and defending religious minorities such as Christians from intolerance.
Army Chief of Staff General Dudung Abdurachman may find himself charged with blasphemy after a coalition of clerics reported him to the army’s military police command for his statement that God is not an Arab.
Abdurachman responded to the reports by quoting a statement by Muhammad Luthfi bin Ali Yahya, a moderate Muslim cleric and member of the Arab-born Presidential Advisory Council: “Don’t give an opportunity to the intolerant group and we must commit to Pancasila (five founding principles), the constitution, the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) and unity in diversity.
“Indonesia was built on diversity and difference [of opinion]. We have to respect it because it becomes our strength,” he said Jan. 29 at a book launch in Jakarta.
He added that it would be dangerous for an intolerant group to be allowed in Indonesia.
Petrus Selestinus, a Catholic layman and chairman of a lawyers’ group, said the coalition reporting the statement is OK because it has the right to do so under the constitution, but the case is not blasphemy. .
If I was praying, I was just praying… and I was only using the Indonesian language because our God is not an Arabic
“In my view, Dudung Abdurachman’s statement has no criminal or blasphemous aspects,” he told UCA News on January 31.
The general’s statement was reported by the Coalition of Indonesian Muslim Clerics, Habib and Anti-Blasphemy Lawyers on January 28.
It was posted on YouTube by Deddy Corbuzier, an Indonesian actor, on November 30, 2021.
“If I was praying, I was just praying…and I was only using the Indonesian language because our God is not Arabic,” Abdurachman says in the video.
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Coalition coordinator Damai Hari Lubis said in her January 30 statement that she reported Abdurachman on January 28 and the report was received by Agus Prasetyo from the army’s military police command.
The coalition hopes that legal action will be taken against the army general to prevent further cases of blasphemy and hate speech.
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