The Jakarta Globe reports that the courageous Islamic reformer, Irshad Manji, was stopped from speaking in Indonesia on Saturday. A Muslim supremacist group, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), protested that Manji (who is gay) was promoting homosexuality among Muslims. She was actually trying to discuss her new book, Allah, Liberty and Love. The police halted the event after 15 minutes.
Apparently this leading newspaper in the world’s largest Islamic country (by population) does not have as firm and nuanced a grasp on Islam as American intellectuals and U.S. government officials. The Globe describes Irshad as “a critic of traditional mainstream Islam” who instead advocates a “progressive interpretation.” Don’t the folks running this rag realize that Islam already is progressive and tolerant and moderate and peaceful and all things bright and beautiful?
The report adds that Ms. Manji had to be escorted from the Salihara cultural center in South Jakarta under heavy guard. The FPI is now calling for her to be thrown out of the country. By the way, reliable studies and polling indicate that Indonesia is, in fact, one of the most tolerant Islamic countries in the world — considerably more so than what even al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri now calls “the Arab Spring countries.”
UPDATE: Irshad Manji was stopped from speaking again today at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, due to a protest by hundreds of Muslims. Jakarta Globe again has the details, here. (Thanks to Andy Bostom.)