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Indonesian clerics seek govt support for Indian Muslims

Groups condemn communal violence in India resulting from controversial citizenship law

Indonesian clerics seek govt support for Indian Muslims

A man looks at a partially burnt mosque in a riot-affected area of New Delhi on March 1. (Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP)

Muslim clerics and conservative groups in Indonesia have called on the government to try and help fellow Muslims in India following recent sectarian violence.

At least 42 Muslims were killed and hundreds injured during violence in Indian capital New Delhi last month. Several mosques, houses and shops were also torched by members of radical Hindus groups.

The Feb. 23-25 violence was triggered by a controversial new citizenship law passed in December last year that angered Muslims.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) aims to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities from Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan while blocking naturalization for Muslims.

Protesting Muslims were reportedly targeted by radical Hindus in the Delhi riots.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) condemned the violence, saying it reflected the extremism, intolerance and violation of Muslims’ rights that exist in India.

“We call on Indonesia to urge the Indian government to protect Muslims from the cruelty,” the MUI said in a statement. “[We] urge the Indian government to act decisively against the perpetrators, and to protect Indian Muslims from violence.” 

The MUI also called on Muslims and Hindus in Indonesia not to be provoked by what happened in India.

The Indian government and parliament should scrap the discriminatory law against Muslims,” MUI chairman Din Syamsuddin told UCA News.

The 212 Alumni Brotherhood, an organization named after mass protests to oust the former Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also condemned the violence and urged India to revoke the citizenship law. 

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“The Indonesian government needs to take steps to address the gross human rights abuses committed by radical Hindus in India,” Novel Chaidir Hasan Bamukmin, the group’s spokesman, said.

He also called on Muslims in Indonesia to protest outside the Indian embassy in Jakarta on March 6.

Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi also condemned the violence but declined to say what, if any, action Indonesia would take in response

"There’s no teaching in any religion that justifies such violence,” he told reporters on March 2.

He also called on Indonesians to learn from the incident in India and together build religious harmony. “Violence in the name of religion must not occur in Indonesia. We must promote peace and tolerance,” he said.

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