Blasphemy, Islam and the State: Pluralism and Liberalism in Indonesia
BLASPHEMY ISLAM AND THE STATE – Book Sample
Islam and pluralism – BLASPHEMY ISLAM AND THE STATE
In the early evening of Friday 6 May 2005, the leader of a small Islamic boarding school, or pesantren, in the East Java town of Lawang was arrested. Muhammad Yusman Roy was interrogated by police throughout the night of 6 May and into the early hours of Saturday 7 May on the basis of a report made to the police by members of the local branch of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI, the Ulama Council of Indonesia).
the substance of the report was that Roy had, since 2003, taught the practice of performing sholat1 in Arabic, as is customary, but accompanied by Indonesian translation. this was a teaching alleged to be a deviation from the rules for ritual prayer, as stated in three fatawa issued by diﬀerent branches of MUI.
Roy was to go on to spend 18 months in prison for his practice of dual- language prayer, described in Indonesian as sholat dwi bahasa, following prosecution under provisions of Indonesia’s so-called ‘blasphemy laws’.2
Roy was raised by his mother after she separated from his Muslim father, and she herself was a Catholic prior to the marriage.3 Roy later lived with his father and converted to Islam. He pursued a career in boxing and was exposed to penny crime but, after ﬁnding a translation of the r’an ina book store, Roy was inspired to study Islam for many years with a teacher in Surabaya, the provincial capital of East Java. He went on to establish the pesantren and later went on the hajj, during which Roy felt that he received guidance from God. Shortly afterwards, Roy began to practice dual-language prayer in private and gradually began to promote it to his students, and the local community.
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