Daily Archives: May 5, 2019

Mt. Merapi launches pyroclastic avalanches six times

Yogyakarta (ANTARA) – The Center for Investigation and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (BPPTKG) said that Mount Merapi on the border of the Special Region of Yogyakarta and Central Java launched pyroclastic avalanches six times on Sunday.

Head of BBPTKG Hanik Humaida said in a statement here Sunday that the six avalanches recorded at 00.00 to 06.00 (Indonesia western time) had an amplitude of 3-20 mm with a duration of 29-77 seconds.

In addition to the avalanches, on the volcano there was also one low frequency earthquake with an amplitude of 10 mm and a duration of 23 seconds and two times of long tectonic quakes with an amplitude of 3-12 mm for 110-228 seconds.

Meanwhile, visual observations showed the presence of white smoke with thin intensity and high 30-50 meters above the top of the crater.

On the volcano, the wind blew weakly to the east and southeast, the air temperature was 15-19 degrees Celsius, the humidity was 68-84 percent, and the air pressure was 629-689 mmHg.

Until now BPPTKG maintained the status of Mount Merapi at Level II or Alert and for the time being did not recommend climbing activities except for the purposes of investigation and research related to disaster mitigation.

BPPTKG asked residents not to carry out activities within a radius of three kilometers from the summit of Mount Merapi, and appealed to residents around the Gendol River flow area to increase awareness because the gliding distance of the hot clouds of Merapi’s fighters was farther away.

Source: ANTARA News

Indonesia’s soft approach to counter terrorism threats

It is obvious that terrorism continues to remain a serious threat to Indonesia. This was reaffirmed by the recent news about a suicide bomber named Solimah who detonated herself at her home in Sibolga, Central Tapanuli District, in March this year.

Since 2000, terrorists have been targeting the country, and until now, the spread of radicalism and terrorism continues to pose a threat to the nation.

In May 2018, a church in the East Java city of Surabaya was attacked. Three years ago, ISIS supporters in Indonesia had launched a suicide bombing and shooting attack in Jakarta on January 14, 2016, which led to the death of eight people, including three innocent civilians.

The government and its security personnel are, indeed, fully aware of this threat. Therefore, in dealing with this problem, the related government and security agencies have launched both hard and soft approaches.

Apart from the approaches the government adopts, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto believes that the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) cannot work alone.

Instead, combating acts and threats of terrorism is a collective responsibility of the entire nation, and according to Wiranto, the BNPT should be able to garner support from the entire nation to carry out counterterrorism measures, and all related ministries and agencies must be encouraged to assist preventive counter-terrorism measures.

In promoting the implementation of deradicalization programs from the upstream, for instance, the country’s counterterrorism agency needs to cooperate with the Social Affairs Ministry, without which it will practically be impossible for the agency to implement its deradicalization programs.

“Where does it get the money from? So, working with the Ministry of Finance, the National Development Planning Agency, and the Ministry of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reforms is important,” Wiranto argued.

Despite the government’s ongoing counter-terrorism efforts, the threat of terrorism will not vanish. Indonesia should not allow the threat to become bigger.

The Jakarta-based CSIS working paper (2018) revealed that the BNPT has been implementing a soft approach over the past years through programs such as “Pusat Media Damai (Peace Media Center), Cyber Peace Ambassador Initiative, and the BNPT Video Festival”.

Through these soft approaches, the BNPT engages young Indonesians to become influencers and agents of peace, as well as helps create and disseminate narratives that will counter the ideologies of radicalism and terrorism on the internet (CSIS, 2018).

Due to the fact that most Indonesian youngsters now have access to the Internet, they are more vulnerable to the spread of this radical ideology. Several of them may even have been affected by the proliferation of radicalism.

To protect youngsters from being influenced by the teachings of radicalism and terrorism, the BNPT officials are also engaging ex-terrorists and terrorist inmates into their counter-terrorism strategies.

To this end, on Friday, Head Commissioner General Suhardi Alius and his colleagues visited a former terrorist and an inmate connected with terrorism in East Java to cultivate a sense of familyhood in the agency’s deradicalization efforts.

The two figures were Ali Fauzi Manzi, who is presently head of the Peace Circle Foundation (YLP), and Umar Patek, serving a 20-year prison term at the Porong Penitentiary.

Alius and his colleagues paid a visit to Manzi, the younger brother of Ali Imron, Muklas, alias Ali Gufron, and Amrozi, involved in the first Bali bombing, at the foundation secretariat in Tenggulun Village, Solokuro Sub-district, Lamongan District.

After visiting Manzi, Alius and his entourage then headed to Porong Prison in Sidoarjo District to meet Umar Patek.

Alius was quoted as saying that Manzi and Patek have changed for the better, and forging a sense of familyhood between them and their family members was a positive step forward.

He thereafter shed light on YLP’s efforts to support deradicalization efforts by promoting the ideology of a moderate Islam along with accommodating former terrorists and offering them economic access.

Owing to its positive role, the foundation has currently become a role model for the international community in its efforts to fight terrorism, he noted.

“This is the example that we need to endorse in this republic, so that those who did not know much about nationalism and nationhood earlier can now develop a sense of love for the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. They are also eager to become our envoys,” he noted.

Alius further averred that visiting Manzi and Patek was testament to the state’s contribution to the deradicalization efforts, in which both former terrorists and terror inmates, who had been transformed, would be engaged and aided optimally.

Engaging them in the collective effort to fight against committing crimes against humanity and spreading the ideologies of radicalism and terrorism will help Indonesia win the war on terrorism. EDITED BY INE

Source: ANTARA News

Indonesia’s soft approach to counter terrorism threats

It is obvious that terrorism continues to remain a serious threat to Indonesia. This was reaffirmed by the recent news about a suicide bomber named Solimah who detonated herself at her home in Sibolga, Central Tapanuli District, in March this year.

Since 2000, terrorists have been targeting the country, and until now, the spread of radicalism and terrorism continues to pose a threat to the nation.

In May 2018, a church in the East Java city of Surabaya was attacked. Three years ago, ISIS supporters in Indonesia had launched a suicide bombing and shooting attack in Jakarta on January 14, 2016, which led to the death of eight people, including three innocent civilians.

The government and its security personnel are, indeed, fully aware of this threat. Therefore, in dealing with this problem, the related government and security agencies have launched both hard and soft approaches.

Apart from the approaches the government adopts, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto believes that the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) cannot work alone.

Instead, combating acts and threats of terrorism is a collective responsibility of the entire nation, and according to Wiranto, the BNPT should be able to garner support from the entire nation to carry out counterterrorism measures, and all related ministries and agencies must be encouraged to assist preventive counter-terrorism measures.

In promoting the implementation of deradicalization programs from the upstream, for instance, the country’s counterterrorism agency needs to cooperate with the Social Affairs Ministry, without which it will practically be impossible for the agency to implement its deradicalization programs.

“Where does it get the money from? So, working with the Ministry of Finance, the National Development Planning Agency, and the Ministry of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reforms is important,” Wiranto argued.

Despite the government’s ongoing counter-terrorism efforts, the threat of terrorism will not vanish. Indonesia should not allow the threat to become bigger.

The Jakarta-based CSIS working paper (2018) revealed that the BNPT has been implementing a soft approach over the past years through programs such as “Pusat Media Damai (Peace Media Center), Cyber Peace Ambassador Initiative, and the BNPT Video Festival”.

Through these soft approaches, the BNPT engages young Indonesians to become influencers and agents of peace, as well as helps create and disseminate narratives that will counter the ideologies of radicalism and terrorism on the internet (CSIS, 2018).

Due to the fact that most Indonesian youngsters now have access to the Internet, they are more vulnerable to the spread of this radical ideology. Several of them may even have been affected by the proliferation of radicalism.

To protect youngsters from being influenced by the teachings of radicalism and terrorism, the BNPT officials are also engaging ex-terrorists and terrorist inmates into their counter-terrorism strategies.

To this end, on Friday, Head Commissioner General Suhardi Alius and his colleagues visited a former terrorist and an inmate connected with terrorism in East Java to cultivate a sense of familyhood in the agency’s deradicalization efforts.

The two figures were Ali Fauzi Manzi, who is presently head of the Peace Circle Foundation (YLP), and Umar Patek, serving a 20-year prison term at the Porong Penitentiary.

Alius and his colleagues paid a visit to Manzi, the younger brother of Ali Imron, Muklas, alias Ali Gufron, and Amrozi, involved in the first Bali bombing, at the foundation secretariat in Tenggulun Village, Solokuro Sub-district, Lamongan District.

After visiting Manzi, Alius and his entourage then headed to Porong Prison in Sidoarjo District to meet Umar Patek.

Alius was quoted as saying that Manzi and Patek have changed for the better, and forging a sense of familyhood between them and their family members was a positive step forward.

He thereafter shed light on YLP’s efforts to support deradicalization efforts by promoting the ideology of a moderate Islam along with accommodating former terrorists and offering them economic access.

Owing to its positive role, the foundation has currently become a role model for the international community in its efforts to fight terrorism, he noted.

“This is the example that we need to endorse in this republic, so that those who did not know much about nationalism and nationhood earlier can now develop a sense of love for the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. They are also eager to become our envoys,” he noted.

Alius further averred that visiting Manzi and Patek was testament to the state’s contribution to the deradicalization efforts, in which both former terrorists and terror inmates, who had been transformed, would be engaged and aided optimally.

Engaging them in the collective effort to fight against committing crimes against humanity and spreading the ideologies of radicalism and terrorism will help Indonesia win the war on terrorism. EDITED BY INE

Source: ANTARA News

Challenges of Observing Ramadan in Non-Muslim Countries

For the next 30 days, Tarannum Mansouri will arise at 3 a.m. at her home in Vadodara, India, being careful not to awaken her toddler son. She will bathe and then join the other women in her family in the kitchen to prepare the morning meal.

A filling breakfast of homemade bread, vegetables, perhaps a chicken curry and fruit will be washed down with tea by 4:30 a.m., before the break of day.

So begins the holy month of Ramadan for more than 1.6 billion Muslims around the world.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, when Muslims believe the holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel in the seventh century. It is a month of fasting, prayer and reflection for Muslims. It is a time when practicing Muslims refrain from all food, drink, smoking and sex from sunrise to sunset.

“It is a holy month,” says Hibo Wardere of London. A month “that you are dedicating to God.”

The last 10 days of Ramadan are considered the most holy. “That is when the seven steps to heaven are open,” Wardere adds. The most important is Laylat al-Qadr, or the “Night of Power,” believed to be the holiest night of the year.

“It is a night everybody stays awake” and prays, she says. “It means all your prayers will be heard, it means all your sins will be forgiven, it means you will get what you dreamed of.”

Islam takes into account that not everyone is able or willing to fast during Ramadan. Children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are exempt from fasting.

Others who are old or ill can also forego fasting, but they must feed one poor person for each day of a missed fast. The practice is called fidya and how much it costs depends on where one lives.

In the U.S., “it comes out to $10 per day or $300 for the month,” says Minhaj Hassan of the nonprofit charity Islamic Relief USA. In Britain, Islamic Relief UK has set the daily rate of fidya at 5 pounds or 150 pounds for the month.

On the other hand, “kaffarah is paid by individuals who miss a fast for no good reason,” says Hassan. “The amount is $600 a day, or feeding 60 people in need (the Arabic term is miskeen).” In Britain, the price is 300 pounds per day.

One can also atone for a missed or deliberately broken fast by fasting for 60 straight days.

Observance in non-Muslim countries

Fasting during Ramadan is “a million times more difficult” in a non-Muslim country “than back home,” says Wardere, who is from Somalia but has lived in London for most of her life.

In the U.S., an estimated 3.2 million Muslims will fast during Ramadan, a small number compared to the 327 million population. By contrast, a 2013 Pew Research Center study shows 94% of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa fast for the month.

“The practice of fasting in Muslim nations is presumably much more common during Ramadan, since there are likely to be more practicing Muslims,” says Hassan. “And fasting is a part of the daily culture during this month. Thus, if people you know are fasting, you’re likely to do the same.”

Most Muslim countries also make it easier for people to fast. Across the Middle East, Ramadan must be observed in public. Which means, even non-Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking and smoking in public. In most of these countries, religious police patrol the streets and violators are usually punished. Most cafes, restaurants and clubs are closed during the day although some hotels serve food in screened-in areas or through room service.

Most public offices and schools are closed and private businesses are encouraged to cut back their hours to accommodate the fasters.

“Being part of an environment or community where fasting is encouraged and accommodated can increase the likelihood of people fasting successfully,” Hassan says. “In some Muslim countries, accommodations are provided for fasting, which may not always be the case in the West” or in other non-Muslim nations.

“Observing Ramadan as a minority has its challenges. But it is not significant enough to make it impossible to fast,” says Naeem Baig of the Islamic Circle of North America. He says it is made easier because “people from other faiths generally are respectful and supportive towards their Muslim colleagues or neighbors.”

Making accommodations

Mansouri, in India, will have to accommodate her fasting while spending weekdays at her job as a teacher in a Hindu school. She says she will try to keep herself busy so as not to think of food when teachers and children take their lunch break.

Similarly, Baig says, “We encourage Muslim parents to inform the schools their children attend and let the teachers know that their children will not be going for lunch break. In most public schools, Muslim children of fasting age can go to the library during lunch and are exempt from PE (physical education).”

Organizations such as the nonprofit Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding work with businesses to help them accommodate the needs of those observing Ramadan.

“Muslim employees observing Ramadan may be fasting during this period. Some may request scheduling accommodations and your company may find that more employees require space for prayer during this time,” writes the group’s deputy CEO, Mark Fowler, on its website.

He encourages his clients to avail themselves to the group’s fact sheet regarding scheduling, dietary restriction, and greetings during Ramadan.

Ramadan 2019

Muslims in the West, Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, and much of the Middle East, including Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, will begin observing Ramadan on Monday. But millions in India, Pakistan and Iran will likely be marking the start of the lunar month on Tuesday, based on moon sightings there.

Ramadan will end on June 3 or June 4, depending on when it started.

After 30 days, Ramadan ends with a three-day celebration known as Eid al-Fitr, when families and friends get together, exchange gifts and feast.

Source: Voice of America