Silencing of the lambs
(or goats or cows)
Today is Idul Adha
, the Day of Sacrifice.
For Muslims it represents two monumental events: the culmination of the Haj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, and the slaying of sacrificial animals, usually a goat or cow, whose meat is then donated to the needy.
According to Islamic
(and Christian) scripture, Idul Adha commemorates the Prophet Abraham's obedience to God, who substituted a ram as a last minute dispensation from the intended sacrifice of Abraham's son.
People around the country, regardless of their religion, rejoice at the coming of such religious commemorations mainly because it means an extra day off work. Let us turn Idul Adha and other religious events - whether Islamic, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist - as moments to knit together the many ethnicities and faiths to make Indonesia a more compassionate nation.
Jakartass Towers has been my residence for all the 17+ years that I've lived in Indonesia. Apart from its convenient location in respect to the routes in and out of town, I don't want to move because we don't live next door to a mosque.
At jam maghrib
, sunset and the time for evening prayers, I settle on my terrace with a good book and take in the peace of, at that particular time, a quiet street with the accompanying sounds of the Koran being broadcast from the umpteen mosques in nearby streets. It's quite pleasant ambient music to my ears; the volume is sufficiently discreet.
At other quiet times we can also hear the dulcet chimes of distant church bells which, for me, seem almost nostalgic.
Indonesia is the world's most Muslim country in terms of the number of adherents. By and large, here it is a moderate religion, and an accepting country yet folk are defined by a religious label. 'Er Indoors is a Batak, from North Sumatra. When I mention this to other Bataks they ask me what marga
(clan) she is; when I reply I get told that she must be a Muslim. On paper she is and, due to marital rules, so must I be.
When I am asked what my religion is, I reply that "it's a secret". After all, too much strife is the result of belief differences ~ from American fundamentalists targeting abortion clinics to shit stirrers in the Moluccas and Central Sulawesi here in Indonesia, the list is endless.
Religion has become a major topic in the local blogosphere. Divine intervention has been blamed for much of the loss of life from the tsunami, albeit without always noting the ecumenical nature of the retribution. Read Dogfight At Bankstown
for an in-depth look at proselytising in Aceh where there have been the evangelists proposing to place Acehnese orphans in Christian environments
and our local Muslim thugs 'volunteering' their J.I. services. To be fair, FPI, the group that trashed
drinking haunts during Ramadan, are currently searching for bodies
The Brit in Malaysia
, like me 'An Average Londoner Trying To Make Some Sense Of The World'. ponders Muslim fundamentalism and through The Swanker
, I discovered that Jodi at Asia Pages seems to have caused quite a kerfuffle with her recent comments about the modus operandi of Christian missionaries in South Korea. so much so she's had to post a rebuttal.
I'm quite sympathetic to her frustration. Not only is it unusual in many parts of Asia to admit that one does not believe in a god, it may even be seen as an insult or a deficiency in one's character (in Indonesia
in the Suharto era, you
could have been labelled a 'communist' and shunned).
I don't like labels, but I was interested to know where I stand in relation to others' perceptions of God (and me?) and, thanks to the inestimable J-Walk Blog
I have found the perfect tool.
Even if YOU don't know what faith you are, Belief-O-Matic does. Answer 20 questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, and more, and Belief-O-Matic will tell you what religion (if any) you practice ... or ought to consider practicing.
So this is the Jakartass Religious Profile
1. Liberal Quakers (100%)
2. Secular Humanism (100%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (95%)
4. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (85%)
5. Neo-Pagan (76%)
6. Theravada Buddhism (74%)
7. Orthodox Quaker (73%)
8. Taoism (71%)
9. Mahayana Buddhism (67%)
10. New Age (65%)
11. Nontheist (64%)
12. Bahá'í Faith (61%)
13. Jainism (56%)
14. Reform Judaism (53%)
15. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (43%)
16. Sikhism (41%)
17. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (40%)
18. Hinduism (40%)
19. Seventh Day Adventist (39%)
20. New Thought (39%)
21. Scientology (38%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (32%)
23. Jehovah's Witness (28%)
24. Eastern Orthodox (23%)
25. Islam (23%)
26. Orthodox Judaism (23%)
27. Roman Catholic (23%)
I'm disappointed that Animism
isn't listed. This most ancient of beliefs is of concern to Christians
, an influence on Islam - read the book by Samuel M. Zwemer, F.R.G.S
., the subject of debate, both ancient
, and a nice little earner for David Huckleberry
And Jakartass is an ecumenical non-meat eater who believes that some religious folk are bird-brained