Archive for the 'Indonesiana' Category

The Elite’s economic system

Back at the dotcom era (do you still remember that?), I was tempted to try the stock market. Before that, I managed to escape from Indonesian’s 1998 economic crisis relatively unscathed, thanks to the habit of my father — he has routinely put some of his savings in foreign currency (and some other forms) since I was little.

He doesn’t know that there’s a term for that – risk spreading. To him, it’s just common-sense. I followed his way, and when the Rupiah crashed, some of my savings were in US$ dollars.

The gain was really crazy. I bought the dollars before it reached Rp 10.000, and I sell when it’s close to Rp 20.000. The gain covered my losses – and then some.
I don’t like it though, and felt uneasy.

I’m used to hard work, and earning my income. My colleagues in my first job (Takaful) probably still remember how our job was in its IT department; long hours, impossible tasks, razor-thin budget, sky-high goals.
And low pay. But, I earned it. And I was happy.

This money I got from my foreign currency savings was like magic money. Out of thin air **poof** loads of money.
I don’t really understand the economy system back then, but I got the suspicion that while I benefit in this way, others losses. I just didn’t know who exactly, confused at the intricacy of the world’s monetary system.

Back to my interest in stock system – dotcom era were the time of crazy, easy, massive profit from unknown stocks. Nearly any dotcom company can go IPO in a few months, and their stock’s value will multiply faster than rabbits in no time. This is really intriguing to a layman like me.

I almost (really close) to putting my money on the market, when I got thinking, shouldn’t I test the waters first ?
So I started looking for software or website, which will enable me to get a feeling of the system, gain knowledge, and hone the skills needed. Soon I signed up to a website where we were given virtual money and able to trade it in its stock exchange – with real time data from real stock exchanges.

Soon I realize that there’s something wrong : if you’re with the masses, you’re bound to become losers.

When I’m learning something new, I immediately try to get the feeling of it as a whole; not bothering with the details at first.
On this system, it quickly became pretty clear that it’s been designed to profit the few. Not us. I got dismayed, but I continue my (then practice, now) experiments.

My conclusions after some time :

[ 1 ] You need information (loads of it) to make informed (thus, profitable) decisions
[ 2 ] This is not doable for most people. You need to specialize in this, else you’ll end up overloaded with information, and made the wrong decision instead.
[ 3 ] However, many are doing it anyway. They ended up losing, while the experts are profiting.
[ 4 ] Most disturbing however the non-experts who are rich enough to hire experts to work for them. They can rack obscene amount of profit, at the expense of the people.
[ 5 ] Then there are those who have access to the elite circles. This in turn gives access to various obscure knowledge of the system. They exploit it, and kept each other safe.

Quoted from Wikileaks :

One can only guess at how many insiders profited under JP Morgan’s “insider trading program,” leaving small investors holding the bag.

This economy system, one basing itself heavily on virtual items & predictions, is not a good one for the small people; like me.

So I drew myself from pursuing the stock market, and continued working as usual.

Then the dotcom bubble imploded. Too many people were left way poorer, holding in their hand worthless junk, used to be prized at millions. Many became unemployed, and scrambling to find a job, anything at all.
I was only able to watch them sadly. Some of my friends loses their entire savings.

It was deja vu when I read the news today – The fall of the investment house giant – Bear stearns.
It’s just the effect of the worsening economy. Bear was still healthy just a year ago. But now, when JP Morgan acquired it, it’s stock was only valued at one-hundreth of what it was last year. Yet The Feds still have to put US$ 30 billion guarantee for the deal to go through.

Quoting Dean Baker :

There is something a bit obscene about billions of taxpayer dollars going to the country’s richest people, when average workers can’t afford health care for their kids.

This bubble economy is going down again.

The crazy interest system – I was shocked when I find out several years ago that loan rates ARE variable / it can (and according to Murphy’s law: it will) change; that’s like gambling my car/house/etc on a lousy bet, for easy pickings to others.

Sharia economy is coming to rescue here – even non-Muslim financial institutions are adopting it as fast as they could.
Here’s one tip : get rich quick – become a sharia economy specialist. Also, an IT specialist with knowledge of sharia economy would become the target of many big institutions – it’s harder to find than a Dodo bird. Several days ago a friend just called me and offered me a job at Dubai, which I politely denied (since I’m still having too much fun with this linux/open source stuff here). And so on.

Back to the topic – there are more problems which may not be too visible at first. Among them are the US dollars. Since world economy is pretty much intertwined with US dollars (because US gov’t are promoting it heavily for international transactions); if the US$ is going down, many are going down with it. And the US$ is going down.

First we got the crazy crusade done by Bush to enrich him & his cronies. It’s already costing the US economy at least US$ 1 trillion – a more exact number would be twice or thrice of that. This is the money which can be used to empower real economies, instead it’s being used to blast innocent people to smithereens.

Then we have that interest-ing problem : sub-prime mortgage trouble. We’re talking about US$ 8 trillions market here. When it’s in pain, others is bound to feel it as well, one way or another.
Even the big institutions at the other side of the world have begun to feel the pain – Europe’s interbank lending is in the same trouble spot as it was back at 9/11.

Quoted :

“Banks and institutions are just scrambling for cash, any cash they can get their hands on,” said a money market trader at a European bank.

Third, US economy fell into an even worse shape by the Bush’ policies of heavy borrowing to cover their spending spree. Bush administration has now been confirmed to have borrowed more than ALL previous US president combined.

No idea how he will pay them. He’s going to leave the office soon anyway.
This democracy-thing works really well indeed for him – he can fool so many other with ease, and immunity from being held responsible for those actions.

Brace for impact.
According to Ron Paul, at the end of this, we may even see USA fell as a superpower, and others taking its place.

So back to us again, the little people. What’s the solution ? How can we save ourselves from a few crazy elites ?

[ 1 ] Press our government to focus on real economy. Not the virtual ones.

[ 2 ] Sharia economy system works, and it’s friendlier to small people like us in the bigger picture too. Support it.

If you don’t like the name, then change it. I don’t care. But do please adhere to the its basic, sanity-based system.

[ 3 ] Us, myself : stop losing in the virtual economy, and start to get real.
Be a trader, but trade real things. And so on.

Here’s hoping that we’ll start going on the right direction. And when the world crashed, we’ll be able to stay afloat.

Before I close this posting, this is the time where I’ll salute my friends & my mentors who have struggled very, very hard to get the sharia economy system up & running here back then in Indonesia.
People didn’t believe them at first. Even other muslims were actually ridiculing them.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you…

But they stood fast at the opposition. They clenched their fists, kept their mouth shut, and deliver results. Even when Asia was engulfed in financial crisis.

Then you won

Now even non-Muslim financial institutions are racing to the sharia system. It’s the most sensible one, the one most beneficial to all.
Not just to a few.

It was a privilege & a honour knowing these people. I was most lucky to be able to learn a lot about life from them. May Allah swt reward your hard work in abundance, amin.

Kapolda Jabar: Polisi yang korup sama saja dengan melacurkan diri

My man 🙂 ™ Denzel Washinton @ American gangster

Mudah-mudahan Kapolda Jabar yang baru ini bisa sukses. Mari kita dukung !

Beberapa kutipan :

Kalau ingin kaya jangan jadi polisi, tetapi pengusaha

yang paling berkesan selama ini karena bisa menjebloskan menteri, mantan menteri, dan direktur BUMN, yang memakan uang rakyat. Ada kepuasan batin.

Kalau aparatnya korupsi, tamatlah republik ini.

Kita tidak perlu malu dan takut nama kita jatuh kalau bersih-bersih dari korupsi di dalam. … Kalau perlu, tulis gede-gede itu di koran.

Mengusut kasus korupsi itu jauh lebih mudah ketimbang mengusut kasus pencurian jemuran (!)

Artikel selengkapnya :

Kapolda Jabar Irjen Pol. Susno Duadji,
“Jangan Pernah setori Saya”

Pikiran Rakyat, Edisi 10 Februari 2008

RABU (30/1) lalu, Kapolda Jabar Irjen Pol. Drs. Susno Duadji, S.H., M.Sc., mengumpulkan seluruh perwira di Satuan Lalu Lintas mulai tingkat polres hingga polda. Para perwira Satlantas itu datang ke Mapolda Jabar sejak pagi karena diperintahkan demikian. Pertemuan itu baru dimulai pukul 16.00 WIB.
Dalam rapat itu, kapolda hanya berbicara tidak lebih dari 10 menit. Meski dilontarkan dengan santai, tetapi isi perintahnya “galak” dan “menyentak”. Saking “galaknya”, anggota Satlantas harus ditanya dua kali tentang kesiapan mereka menjalani perintah tersebut.

Isi perintah itu ialah tidak ada lagi pungli di Satlantas, baik di lapangan (tilang) maupun di kantor (pelayanan SIM, STNK, BPKB, dan lainnya). “Tidak perlu ada lagi setoran-setoran. Tidak perlu ingin kaya. Dari gaji sudah cukup. Kalau ingin kaya jangan jadi polisi, tetapi pengusaha. Ingat, kita ini pelayan masyarakat. Bukan sebaliknya, malah ingin dilayani,” tutur pria kelahiran Pagaralam, Sumatera Selatan itu.

Pada akhir acara, seluruh perwira Satlantas yang hadir, mulai dari pangkat AKP hingga Kombespol, diminta menandatangani pakta kesepakatan bersama. Isi kesepakatan itu pada intinya ialah meningkatkan pelayanan kepada masyarakat yang tepat waktu, tepat mutu, dan tepat biaya.
Susno memberi waktu tujuh hari bagi anggotanya untuk berbenah, menyiapkan, dan membersihkan diri dari pungli. “Kalau minggu depan masih ada yang nakal, saatnya main copot-copotan jabatan,” kata suami dari Ny. Herawati itu.

Pernyataan Susno itu menyiratkan, selama ini ada praktik pungli di lingkungan kepolisian. Hasil pungli, secara terorganisasi, mengalir ke pimpinan teratas. Genderang perang melawan pungli yang ditabuh Susno tidak lepas dari perjalanan hidupnya sejak lahir hingga menjabat Wakil Kepala PPATK (Pusat Pelaporan Analisis dan Transaksi Keuangan). PPATK adalah sebuah lembaga yang bekerja sama dengan KPK (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi) menggiring para koruptor ke jeruji besi.
Berikut petikan wawancara wartawan “PR” Satrya Graha dan Dedy Suhaeri dengan pria yang telah berkeliling ke-90 negara lebih untuk belajar menguak korupsi.

Apa yang membuat Anda begitu antusias memberantas pungli atau korupsi?

Saya anak ke-2 dari 8 bersaudara. Ayah saya, Pak Duadji, bekerja sebagai seorang supir. Ibu saya, Siti Amah pedagang kecil-kecilan. Terbayang ‘kan betapa sulitnya membiayai 8 anak dengan penghasilan yang pas-pasan. Oleh karena itu, saat lulus SMA saya memilih ke Akpol karena gratis.

Nah, waktu sekolah, kira-kira SMP, saya punya banyak teman. Beberapa di antaranya dari kalangan orang kaya, seperti anak pejabat. Sepertinya, enak sekali mereka ya, bisa beli ini-itu dari uang rakyat. Sejak itulah, terpatri di benak saya, ada yang tidak benar di negara ini dengan kemakmuran yang dimiliki oleh para pejabat. Maka, saya sangat bersyukur bisa berperan memberantas korupsi saat mengabdi di PPATK. Itulah tugas saya yang paling berkesan selama ini karena bisa menjebloskan menteri, mantan menteri, dan direktur BUMN, yang memakan uang rakyat. Ada kepuasan batin.

Pengalaman di PPATK itukah yang membuat Anda menabuh genderang perang melawan pungli saat masuk ke Polda Jabar?

Seperti itulah. Akan tetapi, harusnya diubah, bukan pungli. Kalau pungli, terkesan perbuatan itu ketercelaannya kecil. Yang benar adalah korupsi. Pungli adalah korupsi. Mengapa korupsi yang saya usung? Karena sejak zaman Majapahit dulu, korupsi itu salah. Apalagi, jika aparat hukum yang korup. Bagaimana kita, sebagai aparat hukum, bisa memberantas korupsi kalau kitanya sendiri korupsi.

Oleh karena itu, sebagai tahap awal, saya “bersihkan” dulu di dalam, baru membersihkan yang di luar. Bagaimana saya mau menangkap bupati, direktur, dan lain-lain kalau di dalamnya belum bersih dari korupsi. Kalau aparatnya korupsi, tamatlah republik ini.

Tahap awalnya biasa saja. Umumkan, lalu periksa ke atasan tertingginya, yaitu saya, selanjutnya keluarga saya. Setelah itu pejabat-pejabat di Polda. Baru kemudian ke kapolwil, kapolres, dan seterusnya.

Kenapa harus dimulai dari saya. Karena saya pimpinan tertinggi di Polda Jabar ini. Ingat, memberantas korupsi bukan dimulai dari polisi yang bertugas di jalan raya. Kalau di pemerintah, bukan dari tukang ketik, atau petugas kecamatan yang melayani pembuatan akte kelahiran. Akan tetapi, dimulai dari pimpinan tertinggi di kantor itu.

Artinya, saya sebagai pimpinan jangan korupsi. Bentuknya macam-macam, seperti mendapat setoran dari bawahan, setoran dari pengusaha-pengusaha, mengambil jatah bensin bawahan, atau mengambil anggaran anggota saya. Oleh karena itu, saya tidak akan minta duit dari dirlantas, direskrim, atau kapolwil. Tidak juga mengambil anggaran mereka, atau uang bensin mereka.

Jadi, kalau di provinsi, misalnya, ada korupsi, yang salah bukan karyawannya, tetapi gubernurnya. Memberantasnya bagaimana? Mudah saja. Tinggal copot saja orang tertinggi di instansi itu.

Untuk program “bersih-bersih” itu, kira-kira Anda punya target sampai kapan?

Secepatnya. Ya, dua-tiga bulan. Kalau tidak segera, bagaimana kita menunjukkan kinerja kepada rakyat. Kita tidak perlu malu dan takut nama kita jatuh kalau bersih-bersih dari korupsi di dalam. Kita tidak akan jatuh merek dengan menangkap seorang kolonel polisi atau polisi berbintang yang korupsi. Kalau perlu, tulis gede-gede itu di koran.

Dan, anggota saya yang ketahuan korupsi, akan saya pecat. Jika memang saya harus kehabisan anggota saya di Polda Jabar karena semuanya saya pecat gara-gara korupsi, kenapa tidak. Apa yang harus ditakutkan.

Saya yakin, rakyat pasti senang kalau polisi bebas dari korupsi. Polisi itu bukan milik saya, tetapi milik rakyat. Saya justru merasa lebih tidak terhormat kalau memimpin kesatuan yang anggotanya banyak korupsi.

Berbicara soal penanganan kasus korupsi. Betulkah mengusut kasus korupsi bagaikan mengurai benang kusut. Pasalnya, para penyidik tipikor Polda Jabar mengaku kesulitan mengungkap kasus korupsi dengan alasan perlu kajian yang mendalam atas bukti-bukti sehingga memakan waktu lama?

Hahaha…. (Susno tertawa lepas). Mengusut kasus korupsi itu jauh lebih mudah ketimbang mengusut kasus pencurian jemuran. Mengungkap kasus pencurian jemuran perlu polisi yang pintar karena banyak kemungkinan pelakunya, seperti orang yang iseng, orang yang lewat, dan beberapa kemungkinan lainnya.

Kalau kasus korupsi, tidak perlu polisi yang pintar-pintar amat. Misal, uang anggaran sebuah dinas ada yang tidak sesuai. Tinggal dicari ke mana uangnya lari. Orang-orang yang terlibat juga mudah ditebak. Korupsi itu paling melibatkan bosnya, bagian keuangan, kepala projek, dan rekanan. Itu saja. Jadi, kata siapa sulit? Sulit dari mananya. Tidak ada yang sulit dalam memberantas korupsi. Kuncinya hanya satu, kemauan yang kuat. Harus diakui, itu (memberantas korupsi) memang susah karena korupsi itu nikmat. Apalagi, saat memegang sebuah jabatan.

Contohnya saja posisi kapolda. Siapa sih yang tidak mau jadi kapolda. Ibaratnya, tinggal batuk, apa yang kita inginkan langsung datang. Pertanyaannya, mau atau tidak terjerumus di dalamnya (korupsi). Kalau saya, jelas tidak. Itu hanya kenikmatan duniawi sesaat saja. Untuk apa sih duit banyak-banyak hingga tidak habis tujuh turunan. Gaji saya saja sekarang sudah besar. Mobil dikasih. Bensin gratis. Ada uang tunjangan ini-itu. Sudah lebih dari cukup. Anak-anak saya juga sudah kerja semua. Bahkan, gajinya lebih besar dari saya.

Lalu, langkah apa yang akan Anda buat agar Polda Jabar giat mengungkap kasus korupsi?

Seperti saya katakan tadi, bersih-bersih dulu di dalam. Jika sudah bersih di dalam, baru membersihkan di luar. Dan kasus korupsi akan menjadi salah satu target kami. Kami akan genjot pengungkapan kasus korupsi biar Jabar bergetar.

Untuk itu, kami akan berkoordinasi dengan PPATK untuk mengusut kasus-kasus korupsi di Jabar yang melibatkan pejabat publik. PPATK pasti mau membantu asalkan anggota saya bersih dan bisa dipercaya. Kita juga bisa diberi kasus-kasus. Kalau tidak bersih dan tetap “bermain” bagaimana bisa dipercaya. Kalau orang sudah percaya sama kita, maka banyak kasus yang masuk.

Akan tetapi, bukan karena basic saya di korupsi sehingga korupsi digenjot. Kasus lainnya juga dikerjakan. Dan, untuk itu harus tertib administrasi, salah satunya dengan membuat sistem pelaporan perkara berbasis IT yang terintegrasi dari polsek hingga ke polda. Untuk apa? Agar kita tahu setiap ada perkara yang masuk.

Jadi, alangkah bodohnya seorang kapolda jika tidak mengetahui jumlah perkara di jajarannya. Kalau jumlahnya saja tidak tahu, bagaimana tahu isi perkaranya. Dalam sistem pelaporan perkara tersebut, nantinya ada klasifikasi perkara. Perkara mana yang porsinya polda, polwil, polres, dan polsek. Untuk polda, misalnya kasus teror dan korupsi. Soal lapor boleh di mana saja.

Kita juga harus mempertanggungjawabkan hal itu ke pelapor dengan mengirim surat kepada pelapor bahwa kasusnya ditangani oleh penyidik ini, ini, dan ini. Kemajuannya dilaporkan secara berkala. Ini akan menjadi standar penilaian untuk penyidik. Dan kapolda mengetahui semua ini karena sistemnya ada sehingga tidak pabaliut. Saya paling tidak suka yang pabaliut-pabaliut. Mungkin, bagi sebagian orang, pabaliut itu enak karena sesuatu yang tidak tertib administrasi itu paling enak untuk diselewengkan. Benar tidak?

Langkah Anda memberantas pungli dan korupsi di tubuh Polda Jabar kemungkinan akan memberi efek pada pengungkapan kasus dengan alasan anggaran yang minim. Menurut Anda?

Kalau kita pandang minim, pasti minim terus. Kapan cukupnya. Kalau anggaran sudah habis, jangan dipaksakan memeras orang untuk menyidik. Mencari klien yang kehilangan barang di sini, memeras di tempat lain. Siapa yang suruh? Bilang saja sama rakyat, anggaran kita sudah habis untuk menyidik. Kita tidak perlu sok pahlawan.

Perilaku memeras atau menerima setoran itu zaman jahiliah. Tidak perlu ada lagi anggota setor ke kasat lantas atau kasat serse, lalu kasat serse setor ke kapolres, dan kapolres setor ke kapolwil untuk melayani kapolda. Jangan pernah setori saya. Lingkaran setan itu saya putus agar tidak ada lagi sistem setoran.

Bukan zamannya lagi seorang kapolsek, kapolres atau kapolwil bangga karena mampu membangun kantornya dengan megah. Dari mana duitnya kalau bukan dari setoran orang-orang yang takut ditangkap, seperti pengusaha judi, dan penyelundupan. Tidak mungkin dari gaji, wong gajinya hanya Rp 5-6 juta.

Menurut saya, anggota yang melakukan itu hanya satu alasannya, ingin kaya. Kalau ingin kaya, jangan jadi polisi, tetapi jadilah pengusaha.

Sikap Anda tersebut kemungkinan memunculkan pro dan kontra di lingkungan kepolisian?

Lho, kenapa harus jadi pro dan kontra. Peraturannya sudah jelas mana yang boleh dilakukan dan mana yang tidak boleh. Korupsi jelas-jelas dilarang dan ancamannya bisa dipecat. Jadi, tidak perlu diperdebatkan. Titik.

Bagi saya, siapa yang menjadi pemimpin harus mau mengorbankan kenikmatan dan kepuasan semu. Nikmat dengan pelayanan, dengan sanjungan, serta nikmat dengan pujian palsu. Malu dong bintang dua jalan petantang-petenteng, tetapi anak buah yang dipimpinnya korupsi dan memberikan pelayanan tidak sesuai dengan standar. Malu juga dong kita lewat seenaknya pakai nguing-nguing (pengawalan), sementara rakyat macet. Itu juga korupsi.

Polisi yang korup sama saja dengan melacurkan diri. Jadi, kalau saya korup dengan menerima setoran-setoran tidak jelas, apa bedanya saya dengan pelacur. ***

Asia Blog Network launched

Finally Budi Putra has revealed another project of his, Asia Blog Network. Since he quit his full time job as a journalist, people thought he “just” blog, since that’s his current title anyway – professional blogger.

Well, now you know that’s not really the case 🙂 professional blogger doesn’t mean a limitation to just “blog and slap some adsense adverts on my blog. then lay back on my couch wait for the money to pour in“. I can’t blame these kind of opinions at all, especially with the previous “failure” of professional bloggers such as Kottke. In reality, professional blogging nowadays can be so much more than that, the great thing about it is that you’re only limited by your creativity. Trust me when I say that Budi still has many more up his sleeve.

Budi has been working hard behind the scene on various creative projects related to blog. Asia Blogging Network is just one of it, and it’s quite spectacular in my opinion. Of course I’m highly biased 🙂 since I’m one of its co-founder. But I do like and agree with his visions, and admire his creativity; and that’s why I agreed to assist him on this project. I especially most interested to empower the citizens’ voice — you, me, all of us. Blog is one of such platform which enable us to do just this. And all of the founders are passionate about it. I’m so lucky to be able to find such group of people.

Here’s looking forward to the success of Asia Blogging Network.

Islam’s Middle Path

Since I was a kid I’ve been observing Islam with great interest. It’s my religion anyway.
At first I noted how my elementary teachers and our adults are preaching something, but doing entirely different things. Also we’re taught that Islam is all about dogma. There’s almost no compassion on it. There is no joy. The religion seems to be all about mumbling on prayers in language that we don’t understand, five times a day. And anyone dare not doing it may face public humiliation and/or physical punishment.
The Ramadhan was especially tormentous – we couldn’t eat nor drink during the hot days (30 – 35 degrees celcius). The night prayers are 11 rakaat, and followed by a very long (and very boring) sermon.
Nobody cared to really explain to us what’s all these about. We’re just supposed to do it without asking any questions.

These are the traditionalists.
Islam is just believing, no thinking. You just do. Don’t ever ask.
I asked once, and the teacher ended up stuttering and scolded me for it. I don’t ask again after.

It’s enough to make some kids lose faith and care about Islam, but I held on. I think, there’s an explanation to these, and I shall make the journey to find it.

When I’m older, in my high school years, I found out about Islam’s sects. With open mind, I joined one after another, most interested in widening my horizon. I noticed though that many of them are not good to be in for long term.
In the beginning, they will be nice to you. You’ll be called brothers and sisters. For those who didn’t find love at home, bullied at school, and so on; this is pure joy. Suddenly you feel needed, and wanted.

But after a while, they will try to draw you into their community. Locked you in, and started the weird part of their teachings.
Each sects have their own peculiarities – getting as much money for the sect using any (and I mean any; cheating, stealing, killing) way possible, made you swear an oath of allegiance, teaching irrational hatred for people (even Muslims), brainwash you, allows prostitution, make their syaikhs (gurus) close / to the same level of a prophet or even God, and many other horrible things.

All of them are the same in this regard – they all claim to be based on Quran and hadits, but interpret it to their own wishes. They’re extremist in this regard.

Anybody who dare to question their sect will be excommunicated from the group. This may seem trivial – however, after years of intense involvement in the group; most will find themselves suddenly alone in the world. Their old friends and families have long gave up on them. It’s truly heart breaking.
The fear of this kept many as the member of the group, even though the inner heart are crying.

Indeed not all groups are like that. A few are good and on the right path. But sadly, they seem to be the minority on the scene, and can be quite hard to find.

Then I went to UK, work there for 5 years, and found something else – the Liberals.
At first they seemed good – they preached upon tolerance, open-mindedness, equalities, justice, and critical thinking.

However, digging deeper, I found troublesome things.
They preached upon tolerance, yet they will get rid of their opposition and have no hesitation on silencing their voices whenever possible.
They preached critical thinking, yet they’re cherry-picking verses from Quran and Hadith to support their claims. Many times, they’ll just plain lie to you. If they can have the opportunity to assassin your character, they will.
And just like the sects, these liberals claim to be based on Quran and hadits; but they interpret it so liberally; it’s as if they’re telling you that an apple is really an orange. They’re just as extreme as the sects, but worse since they claim to be of a superior intelligence.

I don’t like to be taken as a fool, so I distanced myself from them.

Found myself alone again, with weird people around me. I continued my journey. I tried to find more about Islam, with my limited time and capability. I worked hard to filter the wacky interpretations, and goes straight to the source and original interpretations. And what I found have made the journey worth it.

Islam : is all about compassion, good behaviour, and love to others. The prophet stated that his mission is to make us better in our akhlaq. That is it.

I’ve been presented with spins from Liberals & Islam-haters, trying to rebuke it. But I always managed to find out every single time the truth behind it – some are not presenting the whole picture, some are presented without its context, some are misinterpretation from the original language, some are very liberal translation, and some are downright lies.
Many of the Islam’s problems they presenting are actually really Muslims problem. And they dare claiming to be the superior thinkers ? I don’t think so.

Islam : wants their believers to think and use their brains. The command “Afala ta’qiluun” – have you think about that ? It’s written many times in Quran.
My journey was emotionally and intellectually painful. I’ve had to wade through so much crap and non-sense, sometimes even from people I thought would know better. This command kept me going, enduring the pain.

The result is, not perfect, but definitely a better me – one who finally understood the essence of his religion, and at ease with it. The old cliche is still true – no pain, no gain.

I also found several inspirations from some other good people :

  1. Amar Ma’ruf Nahi Munkar : This is the principle of da’wa / calling people to Islam, meaning “call people to good, and prohibit them from bad”.

    Notice how the call for good is mentioned first. Then I noticed that the most successfull preachers are those who busy themselves in calling people to the good – with sympathetic words, understanding of people’s problems, and positive attitude in helping people to get over with their problems — instead of just criticizing people on their faults.

    People become attracted to the good, and automatically, they leave their bad side.

    These preachers solve problems, instead of adding more of it.
    I shall try to do the same.

  2. Care for others : This must begin with your closest ones. If you claim you care for others, while neglecting your own family, I’ll call you a hypocrite.

    When people care about others, Islam will be able to fulfill its promise as the rahmatan lil ‘alamin – a blessing to the world.

I’ve realized now that the problem with Islam is really the problem with Muslims. Many are ignorant, led by ignorant (or downright evil) ulama / syaikh / community leaders.
We need to awaken them by tapping on them gently and using kind words. Not kicking and screaming on them – and later wondered why they ended up beating you into a pulp. The way of Islam is the middle path – kind, gentle, soothes, and most importantly, enlightens.

So I begin my new journey. May God look upon me kindly and strengthen this weak shell and its soul for this journey, which shall not end until my death.

A Preacher For Traders

For the past few weeks, every Saturday morning, I joined in a gathering in friend`s house. Called “pengajian”, or muslims gathering, usually there`s a preacher (ustadz) speaking, and the others are listening. The topic is strictly religion-related. This one is a bit different though.

First, almost all of the audience are traders; all from west sumatera region. Second, the preacher is a trader too. A millionaire in fact. Third, questions and discussions are most welcome at any time, even if it will interrupt the speech.

Needless to say, every meeting is a heated and lively one. Religious dogma got interconnected with real-life cases seamlessly. The preacher happened to be an expert in Qur’an, instantly citing the related verses for each cases. He also happened to be a senior trader among us, definitely the richest. His responses are very much based on his Quranic expertise as much as on his trading experiences. The audience however doesn’t always accept everything willingly, questioning everything critically. The speaker responded in clarity, satisfying everyone.
There are cases sometimes when he doesn’t know the answer, and he’s willing to admit it. To which of course we have no problem.

Some of the interesting discussions :

  1. Bribery / commission : The slippery slope. A trader complained that many of his corporate customers are asking for commission. Otherwise, they’ll buy from other supplier, causing him great loss for each customer.

    The speaker responded that he definitely avoid marking-up practice; where you inflate the price on the corporate invoice, and give the difference to the person.

    However the trader raised another issue, where he didn’t do that, and he actually lowered the price so the company is getting the best deal – and on top of that he still had to give the person some money (out of his own pocket).

    Everyone agreed that this is kind of a grey area. First, this can be categorized as bribery, since he won’t give the money if that person is not the company’s staff (this is among the definition of bribe). However, on the other hand, if he doesn’t give the money, that company’s employee will buy from other supplier; which actually sells at higher price with lower customer service quality.

    A trader then told his experience as a supplier to a foreign company; he gave gift to the contact as usual; but the contact declined. But the surprise doesn’t end there, a few days later another company’s official showed up on his shop and asked him for name of employees who has received gift from him. To which he said none (which is the case).
    He was then told that if there are any of the company’s staff dared asking for gift (bribe) from him, just report them, and they’ll be sacked immediately.

    We wished if only all companies, especially local ones, are like this. It will make life much simpler for us.

  2. Government siding with conglomerates, and killing traders in the process. Especially with the rise of multi-story malls, while ignoring various planning regulations; killing traditional markets in the process.

    One of the solution is to move into “modern” market, aka the malls. But this is not always easy, and definitely is not cheap. A shop in traditional market can cost only about 20% of a shop in a mall — and generate more money. In malls, the traditional traders will have to compete with well-known, international brands. It’s as if we’ve gone to the war againts giants.

    People will need to go to the malls less often, and to the traditional markets more. And planning regulations (eg; no hypermarket in town, etc) needs to be executed properly.

  3. Business in the remote areas : surprisingly, this can be very profitable. Reason being no one else is looking to do business there. So when you come, there’s usually no competition. The speaker have even traded in East Timor, during the war time. He made serious amount of money back then, because everyone else was too scared to trade in a war zone.

    He noted that other traders have commented that the more dangerous the area, the easier to trade, because “you can make your own laws”. Needless to say, he doesn’t recommend this.

I’m currently looking forward for the next gathering.

Indonesia never got any share of profit from ExxonMobil’s operation in Natuna

After 12 years of operation in Natuna, it was revealed by Alvin Lie, a member of the parliament, last week that Indonesia never got any share of the profit from ExxonMobil, the company which got the contract to manage the natural gas resources in Natuna. It’s among the most interesting, with an estimate of 46 trillion feet cubic of natural gas when surveyed on 1973.

This has been confirmed by Kardaya Warnika, Head of Oil and Gas Management (BP Migas). He said that from 1980 to 1994, Indonesia still got a percentage of profit share from ExxonMobil’s (then Esso) Natuna operation. But on 1994, Pertamina and Esso changed the contract, entitling Esso to 100% of the revenue from the operation. Indonesian central government only got the tax payment from them.

Oil expert Kurtubi said that this is very strange, considering that normal profit-sharing agreement usually divides profit in 60% – 40% scheme — the government getting 60% of the profit, and the contractor entitled to 40% of it. And this is after paying the tax.

ExxonMobil’s speaker, Deva Rahman, refused the allegation. He said that the Natuna situation is different. With over 70% CO2 content, it require high cost and technology for its operation. He said that the agreement has been understood and mutually agreed between the parties involved.

Speaker for Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM, Jaringan Advokasi Tambang), Andre S. Wijaya, said that this is not the only case. He said that ExxonMobil also works on a scheme that put Indonesian government and people in a losing position in their Aceh operation.

Source: Radio Nederland

A peek on corruption in Indonesia

A few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting with a few of my old friends. The initiator, I’ll just call him DL, chose Bakoel Koffie, because he’d like to “support local companies”. Fine with me. Can’t really stand Starbucks coffee anyway (the one I drank back in UK tasted quite terrible).
I made the mistake though of ordering an exotic one by name of “Turkish coffee” – hours after I finished the drink, my heart was still beating faster than usual. Pretty scary, come to think about it. But I must admit, it tasted really nice.

Anyway, a bit of chit chat, and I found out that DL now works for ICW, Indonesia Corruption Watch. I congratulated him and feel very happy. This is a man who hated himself even years after he had to bribe a Customs officer (in order to save his friend’s belongings from getting confiscated unjustly). A man of his words, and one who’s always on time (a notable achievement for Indonesian).
DL is also pretty known for his scepticism. He won’t just believe everything he heard or saw, until he’s really sure about it. He’d also say things as it is, especially if it’s bad. Which is good, for a man in his position.
I imagine he’d fit right in right away, and indeed he did.

So I joked a bit about SBY’s high-profile war on corruption, and asked him whether it had caused any effect at all.

To my surprise, unflinchingly, DL responded “yes”.
Despite what the news said almost everyday – DL actually confirmed that indeed, SBY’s war on corruption is working.

Seeing my speechless, amazed face, DL quickly explained his answer. Among the proof he’s seeing is the fact that while we’re already on the 8th month of year 2006, yet only 20% of APBN (yearly spending budget) is used. Reason being the bureaucrats are too scared to use the budget; they’re too scared that if they use it up for a project, they may fetch some for themselves out of habit – and got busted by KPK (Committee for Corruption Eradication) for it.

He further explained that even though the reformation has now been running for 8 years (since the fall of the dictator, Soeharto), it’s yet to touch the bureaucrats on the lower levels.
Finally SBY got on it, and it is scaring them.

His opinion is that this is good, but this is just the first step – the shock therapy. The bureaucrats finally realized that they’re not invincible anymore. Now SBY need to go through and finish it – actually eradicating all corruption, while keeping the development projects up and running.

We had to interrupt our short chat because others interrupted, and we joined back the group chat.
But I know that if it was he that said it, that really means it. Finally there’s hope.

Note that I was not a supporter of SBY back in the last election, among other things because I don’t know him well enough (a rather common problem with implementation of democracy anywhere – most of us choose someone we barely know). Now, I don’t feel so bad about my choice failing to become president.

Anyway, the road is still long and it’s a hard journey. Hopefully the good men in our government can overcome certain oppositions wanting to exploit our country for their own gain again (it’s a story for another post). Here’s one hoping it, for our own sake.

Thanks DL for the good news. Please keep up your good work there.

Quicklinks – Israel vs Hizbollah crisis

Israel was just defending itself from Hizbollah ? Wrong, the kidnapping of 2 Israel soldiers (previously thought as the cause of the war) were caused by Israel’s (almost daily) violation of the border :
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0801/p09s02-coop.html

The current war is premeditated and already very prepared. Hizbollah’s kidnap of 2 IDF soldiers provided Israel with the excuse to finally launched it :
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1839282,00.html

To Israel with love – why the Americans are so overwhelmingly pro Israel ?
http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7255198

Israel ranked better economically than even Brunei, but it’s also the top receiver of aid from US gov’t :
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1834555,00.html

Earthquake and Vertical / EQ Cloud

There have been quite a buzz lately in Indonesia in regard to Earthquake (EQ) clouds. News have been broadcasted about sightings of (allegedly) EQ clouds, and the fact that there were EQ of great magnitude that happened afterwards.

Rovicky was kind enough to share his geological expertise, and have concluded that predicting EQ through cloud sighting is not scientifically feasible.

I found the topic, earthquake prediction, interesting. Personally, living very close to a fault (running through west of Sumatera then continues on south of Java), I would really love to be able to know when a quake would occur. So I set aside a bit of time and did some research on the subject. Especially on the vertical / EQ cloud, since it’d be the easiest for us.

Found an article on LA weekly, about an interview with Shou. Quite interesting, and reveal more about this Shou’s person. The journalist himself was probably driven to write this piece after a personal experience – his wife acquired the ability to accurately predict earthquake when she was pregnant.

Still, there’s a showstopper with Shou’s current work:

“How do you know it’s not just a regular cloud?” I ask him.

“Experience tells the difference,” he says

Scientists will need to make this a measurable process, not just one based on intuition. If Shou died, the knowledge may be gone with him, and we’ll have to start from the beginning again.

Returning back to Rovicky briefly – he complained that Shou’s work is not yet of practical application, but still of research quality. I agree with that.
On the other hand, he also complained that of all websites the discusses this, none are from .edu or .gov domain. I must say that I found the contrary.

For example, Rovicky noted the paper on GIS development.net as an example. However, this paper was actually published on a UN workshop on Tehran. GIS development.net just republished it again.
It was originally published by UNOOSA.org. Despite its .org domain name, I think it can be considered as a reliable source since UNOOSA is short for United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

I also found links/discussions to Shou’s work from GEsource.ac.uk, PSIgate.ac.uk. There were other academic sources, but many of them are in Turkish or some other language I don’t understand at all.

Also I found a discussion among (I assume) geological scientists, where it took a report of a vertical cloud sighting, and even proposed another explanation for it.

This seems to be in the line with this paper published on Taiwan gov’t website, where the appearance of EQ cloud was considered as “important”.

Conclusion :

  1. The Earthquake (vertical) Cloud theory still needs a lot of work. Particularly in exposing the exact science of the cloud shape, differentiating EQ cloud with other cloud, etc. This can be started for example by giving Shou access to more satellite images, getting scientists on other fields to work together, and so on.
  2. Therefore (point #1), it is not yet fit for public consumption. This is to avoid public chaos in case of appearance of similar clouds, and other concerns
  3. On the other hand, it is also not in the best public interest to just dismiss Zhonghao Shou’s work and theory. Noting the rather good track record (60%) and that even the misses (according to Z.Shou) are not all prediction errors.
  4. One day we may be finally able to predict Earthquake; but not by just using a method. It may very well achieved by implementing several methods, cross examining the results, and making a more accurate predictions based on those.
  5. In the mean time, we need to work on our preparations. We need to get used to live with earthquakes. Buildings that won’t fall down, educating people, getting crisis plan prepared and implemented by local governments, and so on.
    If we can do this comprehensively, then our need for EQ prediction may become much less

Blogging in English

Just would like to say “well done” to Fatih Syuhud for his excellent post about why we should blog (more) in English.
I especially like point #6, this is after reading far too many news / article written by outside journalists but with very little information on Indonesia. I can’t blame them because sometimes the article was written in good intention, only lacking in in-depth information. We can only blame ourselves in that case I think.

Note that you don’t have to blog 100% in English. Create a special category (I just created “In English” and “Indonesiana” category), and post more in English, that’d be already much better.

So here again kudos to Fatih, and hope a lot of people will follow.

Indonesian Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a novel project. An effort to build an encyclopedia, which content is contributed by anyone willing to do so. The content then will be examined by anyone as well, and anyone may have their say regarding whether a specific content is appropriate or not. A form of the true democracy indeed.

When I first experienced the Internet back on 1996, I thought, wouldn’t it be great, if this (the Internet) can be used to pool our collective knowledge ? With Wikipedia (among others), the idea became a reality.

Even better – Indonesian Wikipedia has shown up for some time now. It’s the same Wikipedia too, built by Indonesian people, for Indonesian, in Indonesian language.
The amount of its contents has reached about 1000 MB (this is just the texts, not yet including pictures). This is quite an accomplishment and we should salute all of the contributotors of the project.

However, there’s one problem – the server (Indonesian Wikipedia) is located abroad. Due to limited external bandwidth, most of the time, access to this encyclopedia can be painfully slow.
Also there has been ideas to compile an offline version of it, which then can be distributed to schools and anyone who may need it. This would be rather troublesome with the current situation.

Thanks to Groups.or.id efforts, we can now enjoy Indonesian Wikipedia at blisteringly fast speed. This mirror will be updated roughly every week.

Note that the mirror is read-only. Which means if you wish to contribute to Wikipedia, then you’ll need to go to its main server.

Information is now not only free, but also can be obtained speedily. Thanks to everyone involved.

Link:
[Mirror of Indonesian Wikipedia ]

Save the Indonesian Catholics

I read a news titled “Indonesian Catholics to face firing squad on Saturday” on Catholic News this morning. Seems like many Catholic groups are asking Indonesian Gov’t to spare the life of the accused.

Actually some non-Catholic groups are asking the same thing too. Although for different reason – several Muslim organization suspected that these 3 men are just puppets. The masters are still safe behind the curtain.
If these men got executed, then the secrets will die with them. And justice will not be delivered.

By saving the life of these 3 men, then hopefully we’d be able to investigate further and find the real masters behind the massacre. The ones who really responsible for it.

The chance is really slim though.

AnsweringIslam.org

I noticed that a member of my family was browsing this website. I mentioned to him that he’ll need to take everything with the biggest grain of salt, but had to finish my tasks and he was gone before I could elaborate or listen to his inquiries.

Anyway, there’s so much disinformation in this website, it’s going to need a dedicated team to clarify them. I’m just a layman with almost no spare time, so I decided to pick up only 2 pages from that website and clarify them.

[ 1 ] Hamzah’s “Testimony”

The author began by saying :

This testimony of Hamzah is very special. He was a learned Muslim scholar. He was educated and shaped under Islamic and Quranic teachings since his childhood. After getting his Islamic education for more than 16 years he successfully obtained his Islamic School Certification. It is clearly evident that his knowledge of the Quran and Islam has already been sufficiently deep and well developed. Nevertheless after three years of struggling with his theological and spiritual questions – searching honestly within both Islam and Christianity, Hamzah finally surrendered his life into the gracious hands of Isa Al-Masih (Jesus Christ) – his most loving and compassionate Saviour!

Somehow I doubt that. (the emphasized text)

An example, he said that :

I was surprised to learn who shall come to release the World from the evil Dajjal’s hand – he is no other than ISA Al-Masih (Jesus Christ) as the Imam Mahdi himself!

He got this messed up. Imam Mahdi is not the same person as Al-Masih.

Imam Mahdi is an Arab, whose lineage can be traced back to Muhammad. While Al-Masih is Prophet Isa (Jesus), who’s sent back down by God to destroy Dajjal.
When reading the whole text in relation to this story, it’s mentioned that after defeating Dajjal, Isa Al-Masih then pledged allegiance to Imam Mahdi and recognize him as his leader (King).
Imam Mahdi then ruled the Muslims (including Al-Masih) and bring back peace and prosperity to them.

This is a fairly well-known story, and Hamzah (the scholar) missed it ?
Is he really a scholar ?

The next example :

But he (the christian) said very coolly: “Oh for me that is not a problem, whether there is a new religion or not … because for me, by FAITH I will surely enter heaven!”

Hearing this, I was very shocked …! Because in my 10-plus years of study at the Islamic pesantren centres and four years study at the advanced Islamic Institute, never had I heard that entering heaven is something sure or definite for normal Moslems!

That’s is really weird – because all muslims will enter heaven. But this “scholar” doesn’t know.

However, there’s a difference. While some Christians boasted that they’ll go straight to heaven, Muslims with sins will be cleansed first in Hell. Once they’ve paid for their sins, then they’ll enter Heaven. Personally, I think this is justice.
Imagine if by faith only you’re guaranteed heaven – then you can wreak havoc, rape/steal/lie/kill people, and still got heaven ? This world will soon fall into chaos, with people trying to avoid becoming the victim / loser.

And so on. AnsweringIslam.org tried to convince their case by presenting this “scholar”, but it only exposes their true identity.

[ 2 ] Top ten reasons why Islam is NOT the religion of peace

Some zealots are going to label me as “muslim apologetics” because of this 🙂 without even trying to read it thoroughly, but I have a duty to rebuke these lies/misinformation within my capability, so here it goes :

10. Muhammad nicknames his weapons : This is a pretty silly argument, but anyway – These (weapons) are instruments which is crucial to one’s continued life, so I guess it’s ok if one gets a bit sentimental about it. This is common practice among soldiers – even to this day. Yes, today’s modern, God-less, soldiers.

9. Muhammad commands in his Quran that adulterers and adulteresses should receive a hundred lashes : Well, most westerners indeed may have problems with this because of vast culture differences. If you’re one of them, remember; just a few centuries ago, you were doing it as well, and you find it ok.
But while western moral standards changes continuously (causing some to become confused as to what is right and what is wrong, now), Islam’s moral standards remains consistent, even after centuries of the Prophet’s death.

Another poison is this, in relation to the execution of a woman due to adultery :

It is true that Muhammad told Khalid to be gentler, but how gentle does one have to be when one throws a rock at a woman buried up to her breasts? Is the rock required to go only 30 miles per hour or 40? Perhaps Muhammad was ordering Khalid not to curse her. In any case, the prophet prayed over her dead body and then buried her. Truthfully, how effective was the prayer when Muhammad and his community murdered her in cold blood? They should have forgiven her and let her go to raise her child.

Seems that the author doesn’t understand Islam. Yet, somehow managed to create this long article.

Even the Prophet, much less the others at that time, does not have the right to forgive such sin – a sin which is committed against God. Which only God alone have right to forgive.
The lady understood this, therefore she knows that if she does not receive her punishment in her lifetime (because of Muhammad’s hesitation to execute it), then she’ll receive it in Hell; and it’ll be far worse.

Therefore, she forced Muhammad (by her persistence) to deliver the punishment. After many tries in many months, finally Muhammad agreed, and did it.

After the execution, Muhammad then praised her bravery :
Thereupon he said: She has made such a repentance that if it were to be divided among seventy men of Medina, it would be enough. Have you found any repentance better than this that she sacrificed her life for Allah, the Majestic?“.

Same event, but now it no longer seems that Muhammad is a cold blooded bastard as portrayed in the original article.
This event also act as a caution to Muslims – when someone is accused of adultery, do not believe it (and definitely don’t punish) straight away ! Because even when it’s already proven, Muhammad still give the choice – now, or later.

8. Muhammad in his Quran permits husbands to beat their wives. – what they failed to mention is that it’s strongly encouraged to solve the problem amicably, and the punishment only as last resort.

Unfortunately, our own fault too, many Muslim tend to execute the last resort first, and in abundance.
It has become the local culture in many places. In some cases, women got killed because of this.

It’s said that “Among the Muslims, the most perfect as regards his faith is the one whose character is most excellent, and the best among you are those who treat their wives well.

And so on…. sorry I’m running out of time, so I’ll skip right to the number one :

1. Muhammad launches his own Crusades. – as if Islam taught us to “convert, or kill, everyone”, like how the Christians were instructed on the Crusades. Not.

Muhammad actually give other nations choice. Agreed to be lead by Muslims, and pay tax like everyone else. The concept of dhimmitude saves and protects people, not humiliate them. Or you can refuse (a King was asked; he refused politely, and treated the messenger well. Nothing happened)
But if you acted dishonourably, then we promised you an honourable war.

If you look into that time, there’s simply no other nation doing this. If you can’t defend yourselves, then be prepared to either die or become slaves.

For example, the past Christians’ crusades – very cruel and sadistic :

Radulph of Caen said : “In Maarra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.“

Islam defined a very strict code of conduct on war. Even the trees are not to be harmed (hello suicide bombers). Only combatants (those that endanger your life) may be killed.

Summary: methods of brainwashing used by AnsweringIslam.org = one sided facts, partial information, failure to discuss the data in the proper context, and so on.

Again, a team of (truly) knowledgeable scholar (unlike our friend Hamzah) will have no problem rebutting this website. Gotta go now, hope it helps to clarify things.

MuslimHeritage.com

Found this website by accident – MuslimHeritage.com. Shows what Muslims were in the past – rahmatan lil ‘alamin, a blessing for all.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case now. Not yet, I hope.

Note: If you’re a Muslim (or not) blogger, please help spread the word. Link to this article (or the website), so others may find it as well.
We may not have the money and facilities of the big media, but together, we can bring back the balance. Thank you.

A few interesting articles :

[ 1 ] The tolerant & humane muslims

The conquest of Mecca :

as Scott says: `with a magnanimity unequalled in the annals of war, a general amnesty was proclaimed and but four persons, whose offences were considered unpardonable, suffered the penalty of death.’

Unequalled indeed, as the norms was as below :

…in 1098, during the first crusade (begun in 1096), when the Crusaders took Ma’arrat an’Numan, the slaughter never stopped for three days so that the Franks killed more than 100,000 people.

“‘Our men’ said the pious and charitable chronicler (Lebon’s words) `walked through the roads, places, on the roofs, and feasted on the slaughter just like a lioness who had her cubs taken from her. They cut into pieces, and put to death children, the young, and the old crumbling under the weight of the years. They did that in groups… Our men grabbed everybody who fell into their hands. They cut bellies open, and took out gold coins. Oh detestable cupidity of gold! Streams of blood ran on the roads of the city; and everywhere lay corpses. Oh blinded nations and destined to death; none of that multitude accepted the Christian faith. At last Bohemond brought out all those he had first invited to lock themselves in the tower of the place. He ordered that all old women be put to death, and also old men, whose age had rendered useless; then all the rest he ordered to be taken to Antioch to be sold as slaves. This massacre of the Turks took place on 12 December; on Sunday; but on this day not all work could be accomplished; so the following day our men killed all the rest.” — Robert the Monk

Radulph of Caen said : “In Maarra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.

And yet, even when Muslims were slaughtered en masse, still they found reserves of unequalled humanity. Finucane tells how in 1221, the defeated Christians were visited by their (Muslim) enemies, who brought them food to save them from starvation.

Be valiant; die rather than yield; be merciful; slay neither old men, nor women, nor children. Destroy no fruit trees, grain, or cattle. Keep your word even to your enemies.” — Caliph Abu Bakr

That’s how jihad is really done.
Bus bombings, bali bombings, civilian killings – it’s now clear that those are not jihad. Very contrary to what the media / propaganda machines tells us nowadays, isn’t it.

About tolerance :
“the Muslims of the seventh century had abstained from persecution and had permitted Jews and Christians to practise their own laws and to elect their own judges. Yet nearly a thousand years later, people in Europe were still being tortured and burned alive for their faith. And in general, the Ottomans continued the policy of religious toleration which they had inherited from the Arabs.” —- Glubb

Muslims, Christians, Jews living together — an absurd and crazy idea ?
Definitely not. And it has been done, when Muslims were in charge and practiced the true Islam :

Araya Goubet, too, notes how `religious tolerance, Islamic inspiration, permitted the harmonious coexistence of Christians, Moors, and Jews until the end of the fifteenth century. The dominance of the Christian clergy led to the gradual exclusion, subjugation, and expulsion of the other religious groups, starting in 1492 but culminating in 1567 when Philip II published a decree forbidding Moriscos [Christianised (ex) Muslims] from using Muslim names and the Arabic language. The Moriscos were finally expelled in 1609. Ultimately the history of the Iberian people can be summed up as `living togetherness’ until ‘its breaking apart beginning in the fifteenth century.

In this article I’d like also to call my brothers & sisters in Islam to start washing away their kafir-phobia.
There are bad kuffars (kafir/kuffar = non-muslim) indeed, but there are much more of the good ones (although most of them are silent). It’s injustice to sentence them all as bad, and Islam abhors injustice.

We can live together in peace. Deal with the bad ones, and live peacefully with the rest of them.

In Cordoba, there were eight hundred public schools frequented alike by Moslems, Christians and Jews, where instruction was imparted by lectures. The doors of the college were open to students of every nationality, and the Andalusian Moor, Scott adds, received the rudiments of knowledge at the same time and under the same conditions as the literary pilgrims from Asia Minor and Egypt, from Germany and France and Britain.

In this very field of scholarship, doors were open to all scholars whether they were Chinese, Indians, Africans, Europeans, Jews, and all thrived. Some of Islam’s earliest and most prominent scientists at the Abbasid court, Ishaq Ibn Hunayn and Hunayn Ibn Ishaq were Nestorian Christians. Thabit ibn Qurrah, the astronomer, was a Sabean. The Bakhishtu family who held most prominent positions in the court in the ninth century were Christians, too. And so were the historian-physicist Abu’l Faraj; ‘Ali ibn Ridwan, the Egyptian, who was the al-Hakem’s Doctor; Ibn Djazla of Baghdad, and Isa ibn ‘Ali, another famed physicist; and so on. The Jews had the most glorious pages of their civilisation under Islam, too. If one just sifts through the hundreds of pages of Sarton’s Introduction to the History of Science, one is amazed at the many names of Jewish scholars who worked in the midst of Islamic civilisation on all subjects. Some were not only scholars, but even occupied some of the most trusted positions in the Islamic jurisdictions. Maimonides (philosopher-physicist) was Salah Eddin Al-Ayyubi’s doctor, and Hasdai ibn Shaprut, followed by his sons, held some of the most prominent positions in Muslim Spain. Nearly all Muslim envoys to Christian powers were Jews; and most Muslim trade was in the hands of the Jews.

Even when Islamic land was threatened by both Crusaders and later the Mongols (mid-thirteenth century) so that much of the population was wiped out (800,000 deaths in Baghdad alone in 1258), minorities, whether Jewish or Christian (even if allies of the Crusaders) still survived under Islamic rule to our present day with all their powers, privileges and wealth intact. This fact is surely a far cry from the stereotyped image of Islam as the religion of intolerance. Which highlights the true character of Islamic civilisation, a character that has remained completely alien to their successors. The Muslims did not attack the faith and practice of others. Difference of faith is a state with which Muslims could, and can live.

In regard to race / skin colors :

In Islam, simply, and for fourteen centuries, no person was stigmatised for their colour. The offspring of a non-white mother and white father was entitled and admitted to full equality, and was not excluded from high office. From 946 to 968, Egypt was governed by Kafur, a Negro born in slavery. Whether in tenth century, or today, says Levi Provencal, there is no lack of coloured people in the ranks of aristocracy or the merchant classes: this has always been an essential feature of Muslim worldview.

I love the idea of Muslims as a group of colour-blind people :

….the colour-blindness of the Muslim world’s religious society and the colour blindness of the Muslim human society: these two influences had each been making a greater impact, and an increasing persuasion against my former way of thinking.” — Malcolm X

In Mecca there were `no segregationists-no liberals’; indifference to colour was spontaneous, and for Malcolm X this was evidently a shattering experience:
`I shared true, brotherly love with many white complexioned Muslims who never gave a thought to the race, or to the complexion, of another Muslim.

Do you think only westerner millionaires give inheritance to WWF or other animal-welfare causes ? Think again :

Thevenot noted persons who leave enormous wealth to feed cats and dogs.

Thevenot also observes that the charity of the Turks extends to animals and birds. On market days many people buy birds which they soon set free.

Benevolence was a form of charity which was commended by the Prophet as the first of all virtues; a benevolence which, indeed, is extended to all animals.

[ 2 ] The world-class University of Sankore, Timbuktu

The very mention of Timbuktu will give an image of a place so desolate, so remote, no one will go there except Donald Duck (even then just when he owe big to his Uncle Scrooge / when he need to disappear after messed something up real bad)
But do you know that way back to 989, Timbuktu used own a world-class university, with students coming from all over the world to study there ? Bet you didn’t know that (me neither).

Quoted:

The Sankore Mosque was founded in 989 by the erudite chief judge of Timbuktu, Al-Qadi Aqib ibn Mahmud ibn Umar. He had built the inner court of the mosque in exact dimension of the Ka’abah in holy Makkah. A wealthy Mandika lady then financed Sankore University making it the leading centre of education. The Sankore University prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world, especially under the reign of Mansa Musa (1307-1332) and Askia Dynasty (1493-1591).

The inventor of intellectual freedom in modern universities ?

The University of Sankore had no central administration; rather, it was composed of several entirely independent schools or colleges, each run by a single master (scholar or professor). The courses took place in the open courtyards of mosque complexes or private residences. The primary subjects were the Qur’an, Islamic studies, law and literature. Other subjects included medicine and surgery, astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, philosophy, language and linguistics, geography, history and art. The students also spent time in learning a trade and business code and ethics. The university trade shops offered classes in business, carpentry, farming, fishing, construction, shoe making, tailoring, navigation etc. It prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world.

It was claimed that the intellectual freedom enjoyed in Western Universities was inspired from universities like Sankore and Qurtuba (Muslim Spain) universities.

University Campus

International students ? They’ve had it centuries ago :

Like all other Islamic universities, its students came from all over the world. Around the 12th century, it had an attendance of 25,000 students, in a city of 100,000 people. The university was known for its high standards and admission requirements. It produced world-class scholars recognised by their publications and graduates.
Quoting the French author Felix Dubois in his book, Timbuctoo the Mysterious:

The scholars of Timbuctoo (Timbuktu) yielded in nothing, to the saints in the sojourns in the foreign universities of Fez, Tunis, and Cairo. They astounded the most learned men of Islam by their erudition. That these Negroes were on a level with the Arabian savants is proved by the fact that they were installed as professors in Morocco and Egypt. In contrast to this, we find that Arabs were not always equal to the requirements of Sankore.” — Felix Dubois

Unfortunately, 10 centuries later, the Sankore University fell into darkness. Most, again including me, never heard about it. It’s waiting the Muslims to regain their glory again.

And there are tons of other excellent articles there. You can spend a whole day there and still not finished with it. Go now and take a look.
Enjoy.

TCCO – Quran Gratis

My friend once told me about muslims in a corner of Russia looking for free quran, because they’re so poor and can’t afford it – yet they really would like to study it. I knew there are institutions giving Quran for free, but I wasn’t able to find it at that time.
I only found it out after a few months. It was too late.

So to avoid that, I’ll try to gather all information about free Quran in this post.
Hope it’ll help anyone who needs it.

If you know any other resources which is not yet here, please comment, so I can include it.
Thanks.


Free Quran (book)

  1. Information from Converts To Islam.com
  2. CAIR : Explore the Quran (USA residents only)
  3. Free Quran.org
    (non-USA residents may need to pay the shipping cost)
  4. Free Quran.ca (Canada residents only)

Free Quran (software)

  1. Quran in 27 languages

Free Quran (mp3 / audio file)

  1. Juz-Amma (the 30th chapter) – recited by Syaikh As-Sudais
  2. From quran.mangga.com (the whole book)

Free Quran (for mobile phone)

  1. Juz-Amma (the 30th chapter) in AMR format

Why many hates United States of America

This would be a good, comprehensive, start:
[ http://www.flagrancy.net/timeline.html

Note that we hate the US government, not the people. Compared to other terrorists, US gov’t still tops so many of them.
American hegemony is something real, and it’s really scary. So many lives at stake, and wasted. So many didn’t get justice they deserved.

Hope it’ll become better sooner than later.

And Justice For All ?

No chance, not even in the USA. The rich, even when they’re wrong, is the right ones.

For those who still thought the current democracy and judicial system as the best one – wake up, and smell the reality.

So many are still sleeping..

Inside Indonesia’s War on Terror

I was alerted by a friend of mine about a special documentary made by SBS titled “Inside Indonesia’s War on Terror”. He said that this documentary has exposed the terror-network which involves USA government, Indonesian Police & Army, Interpol, and so on.

Unfortunately, SBS has pulled down the show’s transcript from its website. “The transcript is currently unavailable”, that’s all to it there.

However, copies of it has spread all over the Internet. A copy of it can be read here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20051014&articleId=1085

Indonesia is no stranger to this kind of set ups. Many of us still remember the “Komando Jihad” (translation: Jihad Commando) – it was created by General Ali Moertopo.

Today is truly the time of “fitnah” / lies.
I hope God will continue to help us to expose these, and brings peace soon to our world. Amen.

Below is a copy of the show’s transcript for your convenience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mind your own business, Uncle Sam

US gov’t and its allies (especially Australia & Singapore gov’t) would love to see Indonesia to crumble apart to small nations. That would mean less one potential threat, and a lot of weak nations to bully for its natural resources.

We have had numerous revolts here, which have enjoyed external assistance. Indonesian army and police have caught many weapons and goods shipment to these rebels.

While we rejoiced at the moment for the peace treaty on Aceh, US gov’t continue its work. Now it demanded that Papua to be given independence.

I saw in Republika newspaper today (last page), that Lynn Pascoe said that Papuan people has not enjoyed good service from Indonesian gov’t.

Excuse me, Sir ! Please stop acting so righteous, Mr I-am-so-Perfect.
Mind your own people first. Stop making your own children’s suffering.

And more importantly, stop acting oh-so-good for YOUR own benefit.
(no problem if it’s really sincere, but history told us that’s not the case)

Forest fire in Indonesia

Indonesian Embassy in Malaysia was protested several times during the forest fire, which caused thick smoke to engulf Singapore, Malaysia, and even as far as Thailand. The smoke has dropped visibility in main Malaysian cities, and caused respiratory problems for Malaysian citizens.

However, it turned out that the offenders are Malaysian-owned companies in Indonesia.
They burned the forest to clear the land. And in the process, caused serious problems for thousands of people.

I sure hope these criminals got the full 15 years sentence. They richly deserved it.

            








SEObox: Web Hosting Murah Unlimited Komik Indonesia Homeschooling Indonesia