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Indonesian police drag their feet over anti-Shia hate speech

Sunni clerics called Shia Muslims heretics at meeting in Shia neighborhood

Yuliasri Perdani for the Jakarta Post

Yuliasri Perdani for the Jakarta Post

Published: April 22, 2014 03:57 AM GMT

Updated: April 21, 2014 05:10 PM GMT

Indonesian police drag their feet over anti-Shia hate speech

The National Police are reluctant to act against the alleged hate speech made at an anti-Shia declaration, an event attended by more than 1,000 people in Bandung, West Java.

Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie said the force required an evaluation from the Religious Affairs Ministry and the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) to determine whether the declaration promoted religious intolerance or not. 

“The National Police need support from the MUI and the Religious Affairs Ministry, considering the case is not only about a call to use violence [against Shiites]. The case has a very sensitive background,” he said on Monday. 

In the declaration on Sunday, Sunni clerics declared the Shia to be heretical and said they would take any measure to prevent the spread of Shia teachings.

Besides denouncing Shiites, the clerics also called on their attendees not to vote for presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, since his party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) had nominated a Shia leader as a legislative candidate.

Ronny suggested that only the Elections Monitoring Agency (Bawaslu) and the General Elections Commission (KPU) had the authority to evaluate the alleged smear campaign. 

“Should the Bawaslu determine that it is an election violation and take the case to the National Police, we will follow it up,” he added. 

According to the law, every event involving the public must gain approval, in the form of a permit letter, from the regional police. 

West Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Martinus Sitompul said the anti-Shia declaration was conducted without a police permit, considering it was a religious event.

“It was a religious event inside a mosque. The police do not need to issue a permit for that,” he said.
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The gathering was held at Al-Fajr Mosque in the capital of West Java, a province known to be home to the largest number of Shia followers.

Full Story: Police in limbo over hate 
crime against Shiites

Source:Jakarta Post

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