UNAIR Faculty of Law Commemorates Human Rights Day with a Seminar on the Marginalization of the Ahmadiyya Congregation in Indonesia

Human Rights Law Studies FH UNAIR and Center for Legal Pluralism Studies (CLeP) FH UNAIR collaborate in a series of Human Rights Day events held every Thursday. This activity was carried out to celebrate International Human Rights Day, which is celebrated every December 10.


The third event was a seminar entitled “Reviewing Religious Minorities from a Human Rights Perspective: Indonesian Ahmadiyya Congregation (JAI)”. Two speakers were invited to the symposium. The first is JAI Spokesperson and Press Secretary Yendra Budiana. Yendra explained that the Ahmadiyya Congregation had actively participated in the struggle for independence and had been recognized as a post-independence socio-religious organization.


“Many of the heroes and figures who have contributed to the advancement of the Indonesian state are Ahmadiyah followers. For example, W.R. Soepratman, Arief Rahman Hakim, and badminton athlete Olich Sholihin. But the bad perception and marginalization of us started even after the Reformation era rolled around, strangely there,” said Yendra.


Yendra told various kinds of discrimination and violence faced by members of JAI. They were starting from the issuance of SKB 3 Ministers, which limited religious activities and then interpreted in the regions to limit their administrative rights. Until the sealing and destruction of the mosque to the murder of 3 JAI members in Cikeusik, Banten.


“Although it has subsided in recent years, it does not mean that marginalization does not exist. This hatred is nourished through misperceptions regarding our interpretation of Islam. Starting from being considered a prophet, not the Prophet Muhammad SAW, his book is not the Koran, until his creed is different,” said the spokesperson.


The second speaker was Director of CLeP FH UNAIR Joeni Arianto Kurniawan, Ph.D. Joeni said that violence in the name of religion in Indonesia often occurs due to strengthening fundamentalism, primarily Islamic or Islamism. The political agenda of this Islamism seeks to turn Indonesia into an Islamic state, or at least an application of shari’a that conforms to their formal interpretation of the law.


“In some cases, they succeeded. The discriminatory SKB 3 Ministers is just one example. Even Article 28J paragraph (2) in the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia is a successful form of the Islamism agenda. In the article, human rights in Indonesia can be limited by religious values,” said the expert in law and religion.


According to Joeni, this constitutional basis paved the way for laws to formalize the interpretation of Islamism. Take the PNPS Law 1/1965 as an example, famous for using rubber articles related to blasphemy to marginalize religious minority groups. The Constitutional Court defends its existence because the legislation is considered the embodiment of Article 28J paragraph (2) of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia.


“For this reason, the law needs to be changed in Indonesia so that the pretext of religion is not given way to discriminate against or marginalize certain groups. This requires an intercultural approach, in which law can become a bridge so that all religious groups (including non-religious ones) can practice their beliefs and get to know each other. Remember the saying, you don’t know what you don’t love,” concluded Joeni.

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