Muslims and non-Muslims in Indonesia will not be divided.
Today, Indonesians are mourning. Our people were taken away from us, and dozens of others were injured as a result of horrendous acts of terrorism in Jakarta that you claimed responsibility for. Several hours later, Indonesian authorities and the media reported that the attacks were perpetrated by Daesh, aka the “Islamic State.”
For us—the people who adhere to the same faith that you claim to belong to—the incident is painful. You have slandered our religion that does not propagate violence or murder against innocent individuals.
Do you realize that by committing such actions, you actually demean Islam itself? Have you ever thought what non-Muslims must think when they learn that an organization with the name “Islamic” is killing innocent people in such brutal and barbaric ways? Did you ever stop and think that the people whom you target may themselves be your brothers and sisters in Islam?
Do not forget that the country you attacked on January 14 has the largest number of Muslims in the world.
We do not understand exactly what you want. But if you aim to separate Indonesians into an “us” and “them,” it will never happen. We, the people of Indonesia, have implemented the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad to live side by side with those of other faiths. We understand the noble values of religion as an expression of affection, and we uplift these values in the form of humanitarianism. We share happiness, not fear. We promote peace and tolerance, not hate.
If you do not believe this, then come to Indonesia. Put down your gun. Pick up a pen. And watch and record our daily lives.
To our brothers and sisters in Daesh, we understand your anger over the wars in various parts of the world that are perpetrated by Western governments. But we also read in newspapers that you target Western nations.
Brothers and sisters, we need more concrete and savvy ways to promote peace. Whether you know this or not, Indonesia has made several efforts to help our oppressed brothers and sisters around the world. An Indonesian hospital in Gaza that was recently opened is one example. Although our government was initially reluctant to accept Rohingya refugees escaping persecution, we put pressure on Jakarta to act. We also have humanitarian aid workers who are struggling day and night in Syria, Palestine and Myanmar.
If that is not enough, please tell me how much more we should do rather than committing acts of terrorism in our country.
Today, you have murdered innocent people. The ones who did nothing wrong. The ones who perhaps did more sadaqa (charity) than you. The ones who may have stood at night for Qiyam al-Layl (night prayer) to bow down to the almighty. The ones who perhaps did good deeds that only God knows about.
You have taken the lives of people we care about. It is very painful. But we will move past this. Why? Because we cling to brotherhood and kinship, not revenge and violence.
What have you done in Jakarta will not divide Indonesians. Our non-Muslim community will embrace and love us and we will embrace and love them. Our mosques, churches and temples will continue to be places of peace and tolerance. We are not afraid. We will stick together and keep struggling to create a better world.
We have no idea what you plan next for our country. But if you read this letter, we pray that you may be given guidance from God.
The people of Indonesia
Note: This post first appeared on the Fair Observer.