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Indonesian Ulama Council declares its support for Helsinki agreement
Detik.com - July 30, 2005
Luhur Hertanto, Jakarta – Support for the government on the draft agreement with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) is growing. The National Deliberative Council VII of the Indonesian Ulamas Council (MUI) [Ulama – Islamic religious leader] has declared it support the results of the Helsinki negotiations.
“We support all efforts at dialogue which are directed towards genuine peace”, said MUI’s deputy chairperson Din Syamsuddin after the council met at the offices of the vice president on Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan in Jakarta on Friday July 29.
The MUI believes that the decades long armed conflict in Aceh has only brought prolonged suffering which was further compounded by the earthquake and tsunami disaster at the end of December 2004.
Syamsuddin added that the ulamas are ready to socialise the results of the agreement among the Acehnese people though a religious and cultural approach. “The local ulamas have a strong influence there and what is most important from a religious point of view, is the negotiations are an islah1 towards an improvement [of the situation]”, explained Syamsuddin who also holds the post of general chairperson of the central leadership board of the Islamic mass organisation Muhammadiyah.
Will the MUI form a special socialisation team? “I think it’s really up to colleges in the MUI. This is a technical issue which can be discussed with the government a national and local level”, Syamsuddin answered.
Syamsuddin is of the view that the opposition, which is developing to the draft agreement, is natural. “This will not become a crucial issue in so far as the discourse which is developing is still within the framework of NKRI2. I hope that all parties will not be hasty in prejudging the draft agreement”, said Syamsuddin. (ton)
1. Islah - An Islamic reconciliation settlement between the perpetrators and victims of a crime in which the perpetrator admits wrongdoing and offers and apology and compensation in some form.
2. NKRI - Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia, the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. A term which is often used in the context of nationalism and the desire to maintain the integrity of the Indonesian nation.
[Translated by James Balowski.]
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