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03/25/2021 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – In a recent online seminar, an Indonesian professor warns that there is a mission behind the discourse of proposing West Sumatra Province to become the Special Region of Minangkabau (separated from West Sumatra to form its own province): to make West Sumatra implement Sharia rules.

Professor Ade Armando who teaches at the University of Indonesia shared his concern in the webinar titled, “Discourse of MINANGKABAU SPECIAL REGIONS, Threats or Blessings?” The 3/23 event was organized by the Ugla Mentawai Simariuriu Foundation, in collaboration with IMMJ and several alliances of Mentawai Youth/Student Organizations throughout Indonesia.

Ade suspects that the background of the proposed MINANGKABAU SPECIAL REGION comes from the radical Islamic circles of West Sumatra who want to make West Sumatra like Aceh, an autonomous region that implements Sharia law. This is why they proposed “Special Region of Minangkabau,” not “Special Region of West Sumatra,” for they pursue a narrative for the Minangkabau ethnicity to be based on Sharia according to the Book of Allah.

There are signs in that direction now, as illustrated in the enforcement of Sharia law in schools in West Sumatra, which recently caught nationwide attention –

a vocational high school in Padang City obliged its non-Muslim students to wear the hijab.

Meanwhile, Juniator Tulius, an anthropologist from Mentawai, said that the MINANGKABAU SPECIAL AREA would be a threat to pluralism and this could be dangerous not only among the regions but at the national scale. “We remain alert to all developments in the West Sumatra region. A lot of information will appear in the media that we need to monitor to what extent there is an attempt to legalize it as a MINANGKABAU SPECIAL REGION,” he said.

The speakers at the workshop urge the local residents, young and old, to speak up and prevent the establishment from happening.

From 3/19-3/21, Densus 88 Anti-terror unit in Indonesia also arrested 18 suspected terrorists in North Sumatra in a silent operation. A number of items of evidence were successfully secured, including 31 charity boxes used to collect funds from the public to support their activities. This shows that terrorism is still active and potentially growing on the island of Sumatra.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: [email protected].