Nov 17, 2018 Last Updated 12:17 PM, Nov 15, 2018

They say I'm not a Muslim

 Gadis Ariva

Translations by Gadis Ariva

 

Three Government Ministers and One Joint Ministerial Decree


Three ministers scratch their heads
looking through a holy book not the constitution
thinking hard about what Indonesia is
Aha! says the minister of justice
Indonesian law fell from the sky
and being not man-made, cannot be opposed
just the same as syariah law
now that is Indonesia! 


Three ministers scratch their heads
looking through a holy book not the constitution
thinking hard about what Indonesia is
Aha! says the minister for internal affairs
This country is not like foreign nations
the people here are moral, those outside are not
let's salute the Islamic Defenders Front
now that is Indonesia!


Three ministers scratch their heads
looking through a holy book not the constitution
thinking hard about what Indonesia is
Aha! says the minister for religious affairs
religion has only one interpretation, which is my own!
backwards forwards, no difference
imprison those who do not comply
now that is Indonesia!


Three ministers scratch their heads
looking through a holy book not the constitution
thinking hard about what Indonesia is
Aha! the three ministers announce in unison:
A Joint Ministerial Decree
together we will put a stop to tolerance
together we will undermine this nation’s principles together we will encourage violence
yes, together, we can!

 

They Say I’m Not Muslim 


for not memorizing scripture
but speaking from my soul


for not repeating words from the Quran
but singing the words of my heart


for not praying in Arabic
but praying in my native tongue

for not saying peace be with you
but saying good morning to all

for not rejecting a different interpretation of the Book
but embracing the love of tolerance

for not adhering to fatwa about what is good or bad
but accepting difference of opinion

for not forcing my child to follow my religion
but letting her choose her own

for not wearing a jilbab
but wearing a bikini instead

for not believing in polygamy
but arguing with religious men

for not making the trip to Mecca
but vacationing on a Balinese beach

for not condemning gays and lesbians
but calling them my friends

for not agreeing with the Pornography Law
but accepting diversity of expression

for not defending syariah law in the regions
but defending a democratic state

for not being adept at Quranic verses
but being more given to constitutional verses

they say I’m not Muslim!

they say I should be silenced!
they say I should be stoned!
they say I should be bombed!

but let them say whatever they want
my free spirit will forever live

 

This extract was originally published in Menagerie 7: People Like Us, John H. McGlynn, Series Editor; Erza Setyadharma, Guest Editor, Lontar Foundation, Jakarta, 2009. It has been re-published here with their permission.

 

Inside Indonesia 124: Apr-Jun 2016

Latest Articles

Essay: Contesting urban beauty in Jakarta

Nov 15, 2018 - JORGEN DOYLE & HANNAH EKIN

Source/ Doyle & Ekin  Wish images

Walking Jakarta’s northern coastline reveals communities experiencing disruptive and rapid change

Photo essay: Hope in the face of disaster

Nov 02, 2018 - MELANIE FILLER & TIM BARRETTO

Source/ Melanie Filler & Tim Barretto

Palu after the tsunami

Surviving while seeking asylum

Oct 26, 2018 - GEMIMA HARVEY

Hazara asylum seeker Shiringul first fled Afghanistan to Pakistan and then when the danger spread to Pakistan, she was forced to flee again, this time to Indonesia. She said the streets outside of Kalideres immigration detention centre were her best option. Source/ Gemima Harvey

A change in Australia’s asylum policy has denied refugees in Indonesia vital support

Review: The killing season

Oct 01, 2018 - FRANK BEYER

More than 50 years on, mis-truths about the 1965-66 killings and what motivated them prevail in Indonesia. Geoffrey Robinson's and other books and films on the issue, based on archival research...

Subscribe to Inside Indonesia

Receive Inside Indonesia's latest articles and quarterly editions in your inbox.

 


Lontar Modern Indonesia

Lontar-Logo-Ok

 

A selection of stories from the Indonesian classics and modern writers, periodically published free for Inside Indonesia readers, courtesy of Lontar