Indonesia Shia Muslims face persecution
Wed, 12 Dec 2012 08:26:29 GMT
Religious leaders in Indonesia’s East Java Province have demanded that a community of Shia Muslims convert to Sunni Islam or be expelled from their village.
In August, a mob of hundreds armed with sickles and swords killed two Shia Muslims in the village and set fire to more than 30 houses.
About 200 Shia Muslims have sought refuge at indoor tennis courts in the Sampang district of East Java since the August incident. The Shias have slept on thin mattresses in dire conditions, sharing few communal toilets.
The Indonesian government cut the free food and water supplies for the Shias in November. Religious and village leaders have demanded the group convert to Sunni Islam, which is the religion of the majority in Indonesia, or be expelled from the district.
However, the Shia Muslims have expressed determination to keep faith in their religion.
““I don’t know what the future holds. All I know is that I will never change my faith,” said Rohah, a 21-year-old Shia housewife.”
She was forced to sell her wedding ring to earn money for her family. “I’ve no money to buy milk, so my baby has been drinking water instead,” she said.
Shia Muslims account for around 10 percent of the population in Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world.
“Aren’t we all Muslims? We believe in the same God, the same prophets, the same Qur’an. So why can’t we get along and live together in peace?” said another Shia Muslim.
In November, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay censured the violence and discrimination against Shia Muslims in Indonesia.
“I was distressed to hear accounts of violent attacks, forced displacement, denial of identification cards and other forms of discrimination and harassment against them,” Pillay said.