Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Responses to Gaza crisis: Self-restraint is needed

Al Makin, , Montreal | Wed, 01/07/2009 11:18 AM | Opinion and Editorial The Jakarta Post

The following may portray the way in which the Indonesian public has responded to the Israeli strikes on Gaza:

1) Condemning the "unjust war" (The Jakarta Post, Dec. 30, 2008) and expressing condolences to its victims;

2) Showing solidarity and making donations, which resulted in humanitarian aid along with the Indonesian Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C) that reached Amman, Jordan, on Jan. 4;

3) Holding mass protests in many Indonesian cities; and

4) Urging Indonesian Muslims to boycott U.S. products (The Jakarta Post, Dec. 30, 2008).

The first response which emerged from various Indonesian societal groups -- politicians, intellectuals and religious leaders -- and which we have been bored with since the third day of the crisis, has demonstrated good educational reasoning.

Fortunately President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Azyumardi Azra (a Muslim intellectual) and Umar Shihab (of the MUI/Indonesian Ulema Council) all mentioned in their statements that any conflict or violence, regardless of its perpetrators, harms the most essential virtues of humanity.

In particular, Shihab and Azra both emphasized that it is our sense of humanity (not just solidarity among Muslims) that should lead us to show our concerns with the military operation whose victims already included hundreds dead and around 1,000 injured.

Shihab also warned of the irrelevance of the idea of a jihad to Palestine, as proposed by a certain radical group.



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