“Russia Has Never Denied Israels Rights To Jerusalem, The Temple Mount Or The Western Wall”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JERUSALEM POST)    (THIS IS A RE-POST FROM 11-06-2016 HAS ANYTHING REALLY CHANGED)

Moscow has never denied Israel’s rights to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount or the Western Wall, Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev said in advance of his visit to the Jewish state later this week.

“These rights are clear and it would be absurd to deny them,” he told Channel 2 anchorwoman Yonit Levy.

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He spoke warmly of Russia’s ties with Israel, despite Moscow’s votes against the Jewish state at the United Nations and its delivery of the S-300 missiles to Iran.


Benjamin Netanyahu Dimitry Medvedev. (Photo credit: RIA NOVOSTI / REUTERS)

Levy quizzed him about those controversial issues as well as his support for Syrian President Basher Assad and charges that his country had intervened in the US elections.

How does Russia explain its support of the UNESCO vote “to disregard the historic connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” Levy asked Medvedev.

The issue had been blown out of proportion, he responded speaking in Russian, with a Hebrew translation by Channel 2.

There have been some ten votes by UNESCO Boards and Committees on such Jerusalem resolutions, Medvedev said.

“There is nothing new here,” he said, as he dismissed the significance of UNESCO texts that refer to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of Al Haram Al Sharif.

“Our country has never denied the rights of Israel or the Jewish people to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount or the Western Wall,” Medvedev said.

“Therefore there is no need to politicize this decision,” Medvedev said, adding that such resolutions, were “not directed against Israel.”

Similarly, he said, there was nothing contradictory in Russia’s sale and shipment of the advanced S-300 advanced surface to air missile defense system to Iran.

Israel had opposed such sales because they significantly upgrade Iran’s ability to defend its nuclear sites against any attacks. It is particularly concerned because it does not believe that the Iran deal, put in place in 2015, will limit Tehran’s capacity to develop nuclear weapons.

Medvedev told Channel 2 that prior to the Iran deal, Russia respected the sanctions against Tehran and refrained from delivering the S-300. Now that the deal is in place and the sanctions were lifted, there was no reason not to complete the sale, he said.

Moving over to Syria, he referred to President Bashar Assad as the country’s only legitimate leader and added that Israel’s leadership preferred his rule to the prospect of a divided country under terrorist leadership.

“I know him (Assad) personally. There are those who love him and those who don’t. At present Assad is the only legitimate authority operating in Syria. Any regime change would have to occur legitimately,” Medvedev said.

“I remember that during my meetings with Israeli leaders, they told me they were not completely for Assad, but that there has to be someone in charge of the situation, rather than an uncontrolled break up of the country into enclaves ruled by terrorists,” Medvedev said.

Middle East terrorism, he said, is threatening his country from within.

“There are thousands of Russians fighting on behalf of ISIS and other Islamic Jihadist groups,” Medvedev said. “When they return they are experienced murders and terrorists. After their time fighting in Syria we don’t want them to organize something similar [within Russia],” he said.

Levy asked how the presence of the Russian air force in Syria impacted Israel’s ability to prevent the flow of weapons to Hezbollah.

Medvedev said that it was operating from the assumption that “all sides would not take steps to aggravate the conflict.”

With regard to the United States, he charged that it had not kept its commitments in Syria and that the relationship between Washington and Moscow was at a very low point.

Medvedev chuckled when Levy asked him if Russia had interfered with the US elections.

He quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin, when he stated that “the United States is not a banana republic.”

The US, he said, was a large and strong country and could not be influenced in that way. “It doesn’t matter who will be elected, but what policy they will execute,” he said.

“Its clear [that either candidate] will act in the best national interest of the US,” Medvedev said.

He called Republican candidate Donald Trump brilliant and said he had never met him. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, he said, was professional and known to him from the times he met with her when she was US Secretary of State from 2009-2012.

Russia expects to have a “normal” and “productive” relationship with whichever of the two candidates wins the White House, Medvedev said.

With regard to the Russian initiative to hold a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Presdient Mahmoud Abbas, Medvedev said that Moscow was not looking to replace the United States or anyone else when it comes to the peace process.

On the other hand, he said, there are very discouraging signs with regard to that conflict and there have been no advancements to speak of on the Israeli-Palestinian track over the last few years.

“It’s very sad,” he said.

(Philosophy/Poem) I Saw An Angel Of The Lord And Lived

I Saw An Angel Of The Lord And Lived

 

This poem is derived from a writing of King David of Israel about one of his sins in regards to the counting of the people of Israel even though God told him not to do it. This Scripture is found in 1 Chronicles 21: 15-27.

 

O my Lord my God what evil I have done in your sight

You told me not to number, but yet I ordered it done

Nine plus months my Generals did gather the count

One point one million ready to draw the sword

Not counting the women and children they do guard

 

 

The message from God, an arrow through my soul

Three choices, to heavy for any one man to bare

Three days of pestilence upon God’s holy land

Seven years of famine upon the King and the land

Or, flee for three months before those that want my head

O Lord how greatly I Your servant have sinned

 

 

The pestilence I have chosen upon your people and land

My sin, caused the death of seventy thousand valiant men

O’ Lord You have opened my eyes, my ego You have crushed

The Lord’s Angel now I see, my fright now deep into my bones

Lord thank you for staying the hand of Your Angel

Thank you Lord for sparing Your Holy City, Jerusalem

 

 

For fifty shekels of silver, Oman’s threshing floor I did buy

Offering to you Lord, sweet fragrances to your Throne on high

Thank you Lord for staying Your Angel’s wrath from our head

By the gift of Your great mercy O Lord I’ll not disobey again

My eyes have seen one of Your Holy Angels my sweet Lord

By Your mercy O Lord, I and Your people You allowed us to live

Quiet Night

 

Quiet Night

Doth one tremble in the day

Anxiety ripping through one’s flesh and bone

Trembling for what the night’s darkness holds

Do we stumble and fall while in the light

So afraid of what the night will show

Turn not thy foot from the door as night doth set

If we step into the dark of night

Doth the shimmering light still guide our step

As it fades ever dimmer beneath the streets

Do we fear that which we do not know

Do we stumble upon that which we cannot see

Do the stars shine does the moon give it’s glow

O child of man so foolish are we

Bed down in your castle

Where candles and lanterns abound

Walk in the light while it still can be found

Keep your door closed to the darkness

The viper awaits, no sound did it make

Attached to your shin your death it awaits

Six feet closer to Hell in the darkness you wait

You chose to walk in the darkness of this world

Now the lake of your new Master awaits

Can you smell the sulfur as Your Soul He takes

In Your Beginning: That You Do Not Understand

 

How is it that you know nothing

How is it that you see nothing

How is it that you do not understand

O’ man, how is it that you’re deaf to my words

You send machines to the planets

But you do not understand

That it is by My hand, and My love

That you are, and that you have

A place on which to stand

 

Lend me your ears now my children

Daughters, Sons, now open your eyes

I will show you now once again plainly

Some things which you have missed

Through ignorance, and worldly deceit

My truth to you has been disguised

Cloaked, by He whom I cast out, with burning eyes

 

In the beginning, as it has been written

There were two creations of mankind

The Gentiles first I planted in all the lands

Yet they were in My eyes A couple absent links

Above the Monkeys, Dogs, and the Swine

They populated the Earth as they were told to do

Then A Royal Bloodline In My Garden I planted

 

I watched sometimes in amusement

But most times in horror

At all the scenes before my eyes unfolded

Through the years your tribes did blend

Through time you looked more like Us

Than the places in which you began

 

I planted My Garden between Urmia and Nod

There I breathed life into the First Earthly Man of God

From his side a mate, to share these pleasures

The rivers flowed peacefully for this Royal Blood Line We gave them

Red Eyes slithered into My Garden We had given to them

Deceived the woman, then she her man

Their eyes now open to their sins, then I did clothe them

I cast My children out into the world of the Heathen Gentiles

Two beginnings, Two Peoples, amazing you cannot understand

 

Open your eyes so you can see it

Blood of My Lamb spilled

For your Souls to be redeemed

Soon I will come to see you

But, will you wish to see Me

If you’re as blind to the end

As you are to your beginning

After My Trumpet sounds, your pleas

Will not be worth one of your pennies

A Hollow Vessel

(A Kab), a hollow vessel, be ye not

For God’s gathering place is Holy

Know ye not that your body is a Holy vessel

It is a Promised Land, a Home to the Spirit of God

Be ye not vacant, nor your Spirit in drought

For a vacant house is open to the Master of death

Clean thy thoughts O man, for the Lord knows them

Thy heart knows thy words before they touch your lips

Please, seek ye purity of heart and of your Soul

There is nothing that we know that was not given before unto us

Kiss the ground and bow thy head O man, walk with eyes wide open

Evil is trying to snare your life and Soul with your every step

Friends we must keep the stoop to our Souls as clean as we can

At the door to our Soul, the Lord Jesus stands knocking

All of our bodies are a Home for a Spirit, either of God or Satan to dwell

If your Soul lacks God, your hollow vessel, all the way to Hell Satan will indwell!

India: PM Modi, Sir India Is Not A Democracy If You Do Not Have Religious Freedom

To India’s Prime Minister Modi:

This article is in regard to a story I read earlier today from the Christian Post. In several regards this article if it is true shows that India is not yet a true democracy. For any country to actually be a democracy there are many issues that must be addressed, in this article I am only going to try to address a few of these ideals. In a true democracy there has to be equality in areas of their caste system where anyone can move up, or down in the financial arenas depending on their own abilities. All adults must be allowed to vote for whomever they chose at least as long as they are not convicted felons who are in jail at the time of the elections. This last issue I have with your government is in regard to India not having true honest religious freedom.

 

I do believe that India is a great country right now yet it could be so much more if the political will is there. The article today in the Christian Post said that six Christian adults were arrested last month for taking 72 Christian children of Christian parents to a ‘vacation Bible school’. A State can not prosper for all of its citizens if they cannot worship their God as they see fit. The only exception to this rule should be if the religion is telling people to go into the population and attack and or kill people who don’t agree with them and their ‘God’s’ teachings. If a person actually knows anything about the New Testament Scriptures of the Bible then they know that the Scriptures do not teach violence toward anyone. As you well know Mr. Modi there are some ‘Religions’ that do teach such violence and not even as arbitrarily, but as a requirement. Mr. Modi, is the Hindu Religion really one of these Demonic Cults? I believe that the Nation of India can be the greatest Democracy size wise on this planet in about 20 or 30 years and you may think it is now but with these glaring flaws that is not so, not yet. If the politicians in your country do not fix these serious issues I believe your future will look like a mixture of Iran and China except not Islamic or Atheist but a horrible debased Hindu State that will end up having no semblance of Democracy or freedom.

China: The registered Church and why it is a problem

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF MISSION NETWORK NEWS)

The registered Church and why it is a problem

China (MNN) – When 20 world leaders get together, there’s bound to be some tension.
Before the summit, the United States Commission of International Religions Freedom (USCIRF) urged President Obama to discuss religious freedom with President Xi Jinping. And while he seems to have taken this advice, according to several news stories, it doesn’t appear that the conversation was productive.

Status of religious freedom in China

Outside of China, it’s hard to get a feel for how things are in China. For many of us, it seems like China is doing a lot better when it comes to human rights than they have in the recent past.

vbb-china-2

Photo courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders.

Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders says that’s not really true.

“The perception to the West is, China’s life is so much better, people are doing better economically. We sometimes have this perception that China’s free, it’s open. It’s not.”
He cites an event that took place a little over year ago. An explosion in the busy city of Tianjin killed over a hundred and left several hundred injured, says BBC News. According to the Washington Post, media coverage of the event was heavily covered, and independent blogs and video postings were taken down.
Klein says, “They don’t have freedom of speech, they don’t have freedom of religion, and I think we need to be very careful that we don’t think that China is free just because economically they have prospered. When we see what’s going on with the Church, they’re stepping up the persecution more and more.”
church-1589702_1280The USCIRF says discrimination from authorities and the government has targeted Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners alike. This includes torture, forced disappearances, imprisonment, etc.
Ministries like Vision Beyond Borders sees examples of this first-hand. Klein has been visiting China for 30 years. He says what’s happening there is a good reminder that ultimately, our hope is with Jesus Christ.
“We’ve heard 2,000 churches have had their crosses removed, we’ve heard stories of pastors being arrested, pastors even being put in mental institutions. We’ve seen crackdowns at the border more and more. I just came back from China just a week or two ago and I was surprised to see so many police.”
Earlier this year, a government-backed church demolition ended in the death of a pastor’s wife. China Aid says they both had been buried alive, but his wife wasn’t able to escape and suffocated under the rubble.
Klein says the government finally allowed Churches as long as they were registered. They thought that Christianity would die out with the older generation. But that’s not what happened. Instead, Christianity grew, and quickly.

The registered Church

vbb-china

Photo courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders.

Some might think this looks like a move towards religious freedom for Christians. Why not just join a government Church? But the truth is, it enables the government to control the Church better, and therefore do its best to blot out the Gospel message.
“What the government is saying now is they want to bring all religions under the umbrella of the communist party. Which is to say that the first devotion is to the government, not to God.
“And then once you register with the government, then what will happen is there’ll be spies will be coming to the Church, they’ll be listening to the pastor’s sermons. If the pastor preaches on the second coming of Jesus, if he talks about healing or miracles, or if tells the people that their first devotion is to God, not to the government , that pastor will be arrested.”
This is why many Christians choose to meet secretly instead. BBC did an article earlier this year which goes into detail about why Christians make this decision even under the risk of punishment. When the Government church preaches that Jesus would be a communist if he walked the earth today, the political influence in these churches becomes obvious.
Vision Beyond Borders, who works to provide Scripture materials worldwide, disagrees with registering with the government to protect the Message from being muddled. He says even the Bibles used in these churches often have to remain in the churches. They bear the stamp of the government.
Even if Scripture hasn’t been tampered with in these government controlled copies, it limits the Christians ability to study it for themselves.
“We believe you should be able to have access to the Word of God anytime you want it, 24/7,” Klein says.

And that’s what they work to do, though he says you have to be careful. Christians can legally buy a few copies of the Bible, but once they purchase a few too many, they will be followed—their congregation found and shut down.
“We’re not trying to overthrow governments,” Klein says, “But we’re just trying to help people to know what the Word of God says and to follow Jesus and to put God first in their lives.”

How you can help the Chinese Church

BBC says there may now be more Christians in China than registered members of the Communist party. This is exciting news. But there are many, many Christians who are still without Bibles in China. It’s a reality many of us can’t even imagine, some of us having multiple copies ourselves.
If you would like to help, the first step is to pray.
“We need to be praying for the Church in China,” Klein says, “There’s a lot of persecution going on, a lot of the mainstream media’s not talking about it, but I think it’s important for Christians to be talking about it and be praying and to say, this is an illusion that China’s free, China’s open, people can do whatever they want, it’s not true.”
If you’d like to support the life-changing work Vision Beyond Borders is doing, click here.

China: Christianity Growing By 100,000 Members Yearly Despite Xi’s Crackdown On Christians

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

The growth of the Christian faith in China continues its remarkable rise, with one pastor reporting as many as 100,000 new followers of Christ per year, despite the worsening human rights abuses and crackdown by communist authorities.

image: http://d.christianpost.com/full/108743/590-443/china-raid-on-christian-gathering.jpgimage: http://d.christianpost.com/full/108743/590-443/china-raid-on-christian-gathering.jpg

(PHOTO: REUTERS) Chinese believers express their faith during a church service.

The Rev. Erik Burklin of China Partner, which trains Chinese Christian leaders, said that God is in the business of “changing lives” and “building His Church.”

“Like Jesus said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my church.’ When He said that, He said, ‘I will build my church.’ Not, ‘You Christians build my church,’ but, ‘I will,'” Burklin told Mission Network News.

He talked of surprising developments, such as a person with the central government donating close to $7.3 million for a new chapel at Union Theological Seminary in the city of Nanjing.

“I was just scratching my head, thinking to myself, ‘How in the world is it possible that in China, where Communism still runs the country, a person in the Central Government would donate so that a local school — in this case, the national seminary in China — can finish constructing their chapel?’ It’s unbelievable,” Burklin stated.

Moreover, the Chinese continue coming to Jesus on a growing basis.

“Then we met with leaders for dinner that night, and we asked the pastors there, ‘How many baptisms did you have last year? How many new converts did you have in your city?’ he then gave us an overview of what God is doing in their whole province. He was proceeding to explain to us that they have up to 100,000 new believers on the average every year. … That’s unheard of,” Burklin described.

The atheistic government of China has for the most part been carrying out a large-scale crackdown on religious belief, especially against underground Christians worshiping in nonsanctioned house churches.

It has been destroying church rooftop crosses, leading to clashes with hundreds of congregants, and arrests of Christian pastors and human rights activists. Leaders of the government-controlled Catholic churches that have spoken out against the cross demolitions have also faced arrest.

Groups such as Freedom House have said that 100 million people face persecution in China, including Christians of various denominations, with Protestants facing “high” levels of persecution.

Although Chinese President Xi Jinping has tried to establish cordial relationships with the West and major institutions, such as the Vatican, persecution watchdog groups, like China Aid, continue sharing the stories of people who have suffered atrocities under his regime.

Li Heping, a Christian lawyer, talked about the “sadistic torture” he suffered following his arrest on July 9, 2015, as part of a crackdown. “There were times that I wanted to commit suicide. I survived because of my Christian faith, the courageous advocacy of my wife and the attention of the international community.”

China Aid President Bob Fu argued in The Wall Street Journal last week that Xi has “sought to eviscerate China’s network of human rights lawyers and rights advocates, viewing their peaceful efforts at legal reform as a national-security threat.”

“Mr. Xi has re-instituted the Maoist practice of televised public confession and embraced a system of torture so horrific it demands an international response,” he added.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-reports-100000-new-converts-to-christ-per-year-despite-ongoing-crackdown-in-china-186814/#AFMZa6U002Gl8cUQ.99

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-reports-100000-new-converts-to-christ-per-year-despite-ongoing-crackdown-in-china-186814/#EhZ11LeIVmbDPZES.99

Ivanka Trump makes ‘deeply meaningful’ visit to Western Wall

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Ivanka Trump makes ‘deeply meaningful’ visit to Western Wall

Ivanka Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit the Western Wall.

Story highlights

  • Ivanka Trump visited the Western Wall on Monday
  • She is traveling with the President

(CNN) President Donald Trump made history on Monday when he became the first sitting president to visit Jerusalem’s Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism. But the trip was also “deeply meaningful” for daughter Ivanka, who appeared to cry as she visited the wall.

The Western Wall sits in Jerusalem’s Old City, which was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. There are separate areas for men and women’s prayer.
Accompanied by first lady Melania Trump and the Rabbi of the Western Wall’s wife, Yael Rabinovich, Ivanka Trump solemnly placed her hand on the women’s area of the Western Wall for a full minute. She smiled as she walked back toward the women and appeared to wipe away a tear, looking visibly touched by the experience.
“I am grateful to have experienced a deeply meaningful visit to the holiest site of my faith and to leave a private note of prayer,” she posted on social media shortly after the visit.
The President’s eldest daughter converted to Judaism ahead of her 2009 wedding to Jared Kushner, and previously visited Jerusalem in 2010. She and her husband are practicing Modern Orthodox Jews.
She has spoken about her faith very rarely.
“We’re pretty observant, more than some, less than others. I just feel like it’s such an intimate thing for us,” she told Vogue in 2015. “It’s been such a great life decision for me. I am very modern, but I’m also a very traditional person, and I think that’s an interesting juxtaposition in how I was raised as well. I really find that with Judaism, it creates an amazing blueprint for family connectivity.”
She also wrote about observing Sabbath from sundown Friday to Saturday night in her book, “Women Who Work.”
“During this time, we disconnect completely — no emails, no TV, no phone calls, no Internet. We enjoy uninterrupted time together and it’s wonderful. In addition to being a sacred part of our religion, we live in such a fast-paced world that it’s enormously important to unplug and devote that time to each other,” she said.
Trump traveled to Saudi Arabia with her father, stepmother, and key advisers. She will also travel with the group to Rome, Italy, later this week.

Rise of Hard-liners Alarms Moderates in Indonesia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

World

Rise of Hard-liners Alarms Moderates in Indonesia

Protesters take to the streets in Jakarta on April 28 to demonstrate against outgoing Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP via Getty Images)

Jakarta, Indonesia- In¬mid-February, Muhammad al-Khaththath, leader of the hard-line Muslim Community Forum, held court on the top floor of a Jakarta fast-food joint. With key deputies gathered around, he explained the direction in which he hoped to push relatively secular, democratic Indonesia.

Sharia would become the law of the land, non-Muslims would lose their leadership posts and thieves, in accordance with Islamic law, would have their hands lopped off, he said. He also criticized Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s pluralist president.

Widodo “isn’t a liberal Muslim,” Khaththath said. “He’s a Muslim who doesn’t get it.”

Six weeks later, Khaththath was detained on treason charges, accused of plotting a coup. But in an April 19 runoff election for governor of Jakarta, his preferred candidate, fellow Muslim Anies Baswedan, defeated the Christian incumbent, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, after a campaign laden with religious overtones.

Since then, hard-line Islamist groups have gained stature; their ability to mobilize huge crowds was considered crucial to securing Baswedan’s lopsided victory. But a strong backlash also has emerged, led by moderate Muslims who worry that conservative Islamists are wrecking Indonesia’s tradition of religious tolerance.

Khaththath had taken over as the leader of a powerful protest movement against Purnama, a Widodo ally, in the months leading up to the gubernatorial election, after the previous leader was summoned by police on pornography charges.

But police came for Khaththath in late March, escorting him from his hotel room to the detention facility where he remains. A few weeks later, on the eve of the election, Khaththath managed to send a letter to his supporters.

“From my detention room, I tap on the sky door,” Khaththath wrote. He hoped the tap would be felt by “every Muslim heart” and would persuade the faithful to “choose a Muslim governor.”

Not every Muslim heart felt the tap, but enough did to secure a clean victory for Baswedan. The high-stakes election campaign was marked by the largest conservative rallies in generations, as well as by intensifying — and controversial — legal efforts by the Indonesian government to rein in the hard-line groups’ leadership.

Now that the election is over, many moderate Muslim leaders say they are treating it as a wake-up call about the growing power of Indonesian hard-line organizations and the need to take stern action to stop them.

“I am not worried about the candidates who won,” said Sidarto Danusobroto, a former speaker of the Senate and key adviser to the president. “I am worried about the groups that supported them — the Islamic Defenders Front and Hizbut Tahrir.”

“Islam is different from how the Islamic Defenders Front portrays it,” said Mohammad Nuruzzaman, head of strategic research for Ansor, a moderate Muslim youth movement that has been working with the police to break up hard-line Muslim gatherings.

In one of a number of efforts in the past few weeks to curb extremists, police officials and nationalist groups in the central Javanese town of Semarang prevented the Islamic Defenders Front from opening a branch.

“We have a tolerant city,” said Iwan Santoso, a representative from the Red and White, a group that takes its name from the colors of the Indonesian flag. “We don’t want students to be instigated.”

This past week, police in East Java, apparently acting at the urging of moderate Muslims or nationalists, shut down a planned university event featuring Felix Siauw, a Chinese Indonesian convert to Islam who has become a major hard-line preacher. In a Web video subsequently uploaded to his Facebook page, Siauw said, “We should have a nation of laws, and the laws should apply to all.”

But moderate Muslim and civil society groups increasingly are calling for bans on organizations that push for the creation of a caliphate. Nuruzzaman, of Ansor, compared such organizations to the Indonesian Communist Party, a boogeyman from Indonesia’s past.

“The goal of Communists and those who support the caliphate are similar — both want all countries in the world to be run under one system,” he said.

Last Tuesday, police announced that they were reviewing the legality of Hizbut Tahrir because of the international Islamist group’s embrace of a global caliphate. Muhammad Ismail ¬Yusanto, a spokesman for Hizbut Tahrir here, protested that its goal of establishing a caliphate does not violate the Indonesian constitution.

“All we do is convey Islam’s teachings,” he said in an interview. Besides, he argued, the constitution can be amended.

Hizbut Tahrir is banned in many countries around the world, including Germany, China, Egypt and numerous other Arab states. But it has operated for nearly 20 years in democratic Indonesia.

Some rights activists oppose banning the group. Andreas Harsono, Indonesia representative of Human Rights Watch, said that although Hizbut Tahrir’s ideology is deeply discriminatory — toward women, LGBT people and minority faiths — that does not mean the organization should be shut down.

“It is not illegal to say, ‘I want to discriminate against women,’ ” he argued, acknowledging that the case is “complicated.”

More worrying to Harsono are the Indonesian government’s efforts to pursue radical religious leaders for alleged offenses unrelated to their Islamist activism, or on exaggerated charges. Habib Rizieq, perhaps the nation’s most powerful hard-line figure, was brought in for questioning by police over pornographic images he is alleged to have exchanged with a woman who is not his wife, while Khaththath was charged with trying to organize a coup.

“It’s very concerning,” said Harsono, who said he knows of no evidence that Khaththath was plotting the violent overthrow of the government.

Marcus Mietzner, an associate professor at Australian National University, expressed concern that heavy-handed charges would harm Indonesia’s democracy.

“What they should not do is arbitrarily throw criminal charges at individual leaders that are either excessive, like the treason accusation, or unrelated, as the pornography case,” he wrote in an email. “This, in turn, will only increase the sense of victimization among conservative Muslims.”

That already appears to be happening. Achmad Sofyan, a Khaththath deputy who was also investigated by police, said: “It isn’t fair. The case was engineered.”

Mietzner suggested that the government has legal ways to handle hard-line groups but has opted for different tactics in part to avoid a messy public debate. If the state prosecuted these groups, “it would have to argue in front of the courts why Islam should not be Indonesia’s primary legal-political foundation,” he wrote.

For Nuruzzaman, it is crucial to oppose the hard-liners, whatever the difficulties.

“We don’t want the government to take repressive measures,” he said. Nonetheless, “we have to confront them.”

The Washington Post

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