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STOP “International Burn Quran Day”

(Jakarta, 4 September) “International Burn Quran Day must be put on a halt to avoid frightful effect,” said Damien Dematra, the National Coordinator of Pluralism Care Movement (PCM) or Gerakan Peduli Pluralisme (GPP), in front of journalists in a demonstration attended by thousands of demonstrators in front of the US Embassy in Medan Merdeka Selatan Street, Jakarta, this morning (09/04).

Ustadz Rokhmat Latib, the Chairman of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), contacted GPP at 10 o’clock, asking us to consolidate giving pressure to the US government to stop the “International Burn Quran Day” plan. Muslims, Christians, and inter-faith groups are standing in the same boat. We heavily disagree with this plan of action as it could lead to world-wide religious conflicts,” he further said.

Presents in the demonstration from Pluralism Care Movement members are Rev. Shepard Supit, Kevin Wu (Leader of Budhayana, a Buddhism Union), and Ustadz Zulvi Aswan, from Pluralism Care Movement who also gave speech exclaiming to the Muslims not to revenge to churches.

The path for peace by Pluralism Care Movement (GPP) has started from 4 August 2010 when together with many religious, community leaders, and artists declared a Statement against the campaign and plan of “International Burn Quran Day” by Dove World Outreach Center in The Communion of Indonesian Churches (PGI). This action followed by a formal visit to the US Embassy (9 August) to give the statement letter to the president of the US. The letter was accepted by the Political Counselor. On 11 August, GPP launched a novel “You Burn I Burn” written by Damien Dematra held in Indonesian Bishops’ Council (KWI) with main goal to fight and prevent the “International Burn Quran Day” through culture and literature communication. This novel was reviewed by the Head of Ulama Council and Nahdlatul Ulama, the secretary of KWI, and an Indonesian senior artist. In the novel was inserted an open letter from Damien to Pastor Terry Jones (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5F3UXtdR0o or in Damien Dematra youtube).

The endeavor to fight “International Burn Quran Day” continued by conducting several Campaign of Peace . On 19 August, GPP sat together with the Ulama Council (MUI) and lobbying for their support to prevent provocation from the Muslims society and to ask Indonesian government to take preventive action to avoid any brutal provocation. On the same day, GPP went to Buya Ahmad Syafii Maarif who is considered as the notable nation teacher, and Mr. Jusuf Kalla, a reputable peacemaker and former Vice President of Indonesia, asking for their supports.

Pluralism Care Movement has made a bridge with the Islamic hard liners leaders. On Friday night (20 August), from 09.30 pm until 01.15 am, Damien Dematra as the National Coordinator of GPP came to a close meeting with Habieb Rizieq (Chairman of Front of Islam Defender or Front Pembela Islam) and four of their high-ranking officials in their headquarters in Petamburan. Jakarta.  On 26 August, Damien Dematra with trans-religions representations and community leaders gathered with main leaders of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) in his main office, asking for their support to condemn the plan of “International Burn Quran Day” and speaking to Indonesian society, especially, the Muslims to refrain themselves from making any retaliation as it would lead to endless conflicts.

On 27 August, GPP, gathered with main leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama, the biggest Muslim organization in Indonesia, asking them to inform all their members to govern their self and to precondition their grass root so that they won’t be shocked, fearing that it could lead to any anarchist situation due to emotional and unalarmed shock.

On 1 September, as one of the result of a mutual agreement for peace on 20 August between PCM and the Front of Islam Defender, they sat down with the Catholic and Protestants main leaders in Indonesia to make an open dialogue. The Catholic and Protestants main leaders welcomed them and they all decried the “International Burn Quran Day” and stated their supports for peace especially in a multicultural and multi religion society in Indonesia. Front Islam Defender also stated for the Islamic society not to make any revenge as low as what the planner of “International Burn Quran Day” do, but to respond their action cleverly and elegantly according to the Shariah Islam; but if the plan continues, then they announce to all Muslim society to seek, chase, and kill all the doers involved as their blood is halal, but not the innocent Christians.

In this gathering, Damien also said that one of the reasons of meetings is to change strategy, from offensive to defensive as the optimism of the cancellation is getting weaker, since the US government’s hands are tight with their freedom to express and have religion although they stand in the same platform, condemning the action. Damien also said, that as concluded in several meetings with major Islamic leaders before, he asked Indonesian government to jump in and be ready to take precautionary actions necessary.


Pictures in Damien Dematra’s web (www.damiendematra.com) can be used for press purpose.

Other press releases and about Pluralism Care Movement can be viewed in: www.gerakanpedulipluralisme.com or www.pluralismcaremovement.com