Taliban not ‘well-informed’ on peace conference, says Ulema Council in Indonesia

13-Mar-2018 Intellasia | Arab News | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Indonesia presses on with plans to hold a trilateral ulema conference scheduled to be held in Jakarta later this month, despite a call from the Taliban to boycott the meeting aimed to support the peace process in Afghanistan.

In a statement posted on their official website on Saturday, the Taliban described the peace process as “deceptive” efforts and that their enemies were going to trick respected Islamic scholars into gathering in Jakarta.

In a message they sent to Afghan, Pakistani, Indonesian and other Islamic countries scholars, the Taliban called on them to avoid participating in such conference.

“Do not afford an opportunity to the invading infidels in Afghanistan to misuse your name and participation in this conference as means of attaining their malicious objective,” the statement said.

Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), which is tasked by the Indonesian government to host the meeting, said the trilateral conference is not aimed to lecture or patronise ulemas from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Maybe the Taliban is not well- informed and received the wrong information about the conference,” MUI’s head of international relations department, Muhyiddin Junaidi told Arab News.

“We just want to listen to them and share our experience in resolving conflicts. We also want to synchronise our procedures on issuing a fatwa,” Junaidi added.

He said the three countries will send 15 scholars each to attend the meeting, which was originally scheduled for March 15-16 but has been postponed to sometime later this month.

“We think that the ulemas proposed to attend the conference is not representative enough and does not include much of the Taliban,” he said.

MUI Secretary-General Anwar Abbas said they expect representatives from the Taliban to attend the meeting since this is part of the peace process efforts.

The Foreign Ministry’s director for the South and Central Asia region, Ferdy Piay, told Arab News that the ministry is aware of Taliban’s statement but declined to comment further, saying that the ministry will need to review the statement first.

“In principle, Indonesia continues to make preparations for the meeting,” Piay said.

In November, a delegation from the Afghan High Peace Council led by its chair Karim Khalili came to Indonesia and held meetings with President Joko Widodo and vice President Jusuf Kalla during which the council asked Indonesia to support the peace process in Afghanistan through the role of the Ulema.

Last week, Foreign minister Retno Marsudi said that after the vice president’s meeting with several parties in Afghanistan in late February, they got a sense that all parties would be willing to accept Indonesia’s role in the peace process. Kalla was in Kabul to attend the Kabul Process conference where he was the guest of honor.

Kalla is credited to have played a crucial role in brokering the peace that ended decades-long secessionist conflict in Aceh and communal conflicts in other parts of the country.

“Indonesia is perceived as neutral and we don’t have direct political or economic interests. Moreover, Indonesia has a good track record in peace diplomacy and these are what makes Afghanistan ask Indonesia to contribute in peacebuilding and the peace process,” Marsudi told journalists after a meeting at MUI office on Wednesday with Kalla.

“We hope the meeting will result in agreement on how to make peace in Afghanistan,” Kalla said.

“None of the ulemas want to the war between Muslims to continue,” he added.



Category: Indonesia

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