Indonesian Shias persecuted as ‘heretics’ live in limbo

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Condemned as heretics, a community of around 200 Shia Muslims have for months lived as pariahs in a sports hall, driven from their Indonesian village after a deadly clash with Sunnis.


In August, a mob of hundreds armed with sickles and swords hacked a Shia man to death and torched more than 30 houses, forcing villagers to seek refuge at the sports hall.

Since then they have slept on thin mattresses surrounded by flies, sharing few communal toilets and eating modest meals at the Sampang district indoor tennis courts in eastern Java.

Now their future appears more bleak than ever.

Last month, the government cut their free food and water supplies, citing lack of funds. To add insult to injury, religious and village leaders demanded they convert to Sunni Islam or be expelled from the district.

“We don’t want to live like refugees. We want to return home as soon as possible, to the village where we were born. But it seems our fate is not for us to decide,” Suleha, a 22-year-old housewife, told AFP.

“Aren’t we all Muslims? We believe in the same god, the same prophets, the same Quran. So why can’t we get along and live together in peace?”

Written By: AFP
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15 COMMENTS

  1. Religious madness knows no bounds, even semi-kinship or neighbourly ones to their fellow Muslims.  Did Allah not teach them simplest compassion to their fellow men and women? Maybe suras on the topic of love and compassion are yet to be published in some future edition of Koran 2 the Appendix?

  2. “Aren’t we all Muslims? We believe in the same god, the same prophets, the same Quran. So why can’t we get along and live together in peace?”

    You would think that if anyone comes up with a statement like that, would follow it with… if i am Muslim and that does not help me, why should i continue to be Muslim… but it rarely ever does.. i wonder why??  Any psychologists out there who can explain this irrational behaviour??

  3. You would think that if anyone comes up with a statement like that, would follow it with… if i am Muslim and that does not help me, why should i continue to be Muslim… but it rarely ever does.. i wonder why??  Any psychologists out there who can explain this irrational behaviour??

    Is this a rhetorical question?  If not think about the consequences of declaring you are not a Muslim in Indonesia.   You have to be a follower of one of the six religions: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, Buddhism or Confucianism.  It has to be stamped on your identity card. None of the other five are going make you anymore popular.

    Michael

  4. Indoctrination, I think, might be your answer.  Also, fear of punishment for apostasy, which, as you know, must be mind crippling in such a case.  I think the Indonesian government has to take a lot of the blame for the current condition in which these few Shias have found themselves.  You would think that they would offer protection, food shelter, safety etc.  Where are they?

  5. Isn’t it strange that the most violent hatred is between people who have such slight differences of opinion? Believing slightly differently is more offensive to some than believing something completely different, or not believing at all.

  6. You are correct and I understand the points you raise.  But I think these people are true believers despite all the hardship. 
     
    If i was put in that position, and since all religions are equally approved by government and i can’t opt out..
    I would choose the one that gives me max benefit and most freedom, and go with that.

    Unfortunately, some of those people would rather die than change their religion!!

  7. Being an atheist is most shocking to Muslims, and after that the most unacceptable are slight differences. Their psychology goes’ ”Hindus etc are following a completely different religion, so it’s wrong but kind of okay, but these bastards (sects based on slight difference) have insulted our religion by making it impure”

  8. The problem is not that. All the different religious groups live at different places there. Suppose this Shia group lived at a place A. They can’t live at place A peacefully even after converting to any other religion, they have to be Sunnis to live there. And they want to live only there (there birthplace). They can only do so by converting to Sunnism by those who are committing hate crimes against them, and this wolud be below their human sense of dignity, and rightly so I think.

  9. You and I would do that, but these people have a different mindset; they don’t seem to be governed by rationality and logic- it’s much easier for us who are.  Also, we are looking in from outside, it must be much harder to decide things from inside of those religious regimes where fear is also a big factor.

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