The Islamic fundamentalist group charges that the two organizations "might have secretly donated funds to Israel." The president of the FUUI, Athian Ali Muhammad Da’i, says that the Rotary and Lions clubs "are not social organizations but are part of the Freemasonry and Zionist movements, which could endanger Islam."
Together with its request for the ban, the fundamentalist group is also warning the Islamic faithful: "We urge all Muslims to renounce membership in the Rotary Club and the Lions Club. Otherwise, they can consider themselves infidels." In support of the request, Da'i affirms that other religious organizations - among which he also cites the Vatican - have banned their faithful from joining the two associations.
For the president of the FUUI, the Rotary and Lions clubs "have introduced Jewish ideals to their Muslim members," and "seek information from the members, which are prominent figures in Indonesia’s government and society, which can be used for the Zionists’ political and economic agenda."
Dean Boulding, vice president of the Jakarta Rotary Club, calls the request of the FUUI "funny." "One of our co-founders was a Mason and several of the original Rotarians were also Masons, and in the early days meetings were occasionally held in Masonic halls. But that was more than a century ago."
Freemasonry came to Indonesia during the period of Dutch rule, but it was prohibited by former president Sukarno precisely because of its connection with colonialism, and that ban is still in place.
Ma'ruf Amin, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and an advisor to the president on religious affairs, says that "we have not received any complaints from the organizations yet." The MUI has not taken any measures following the statements from the FUUI, and reserves the privilege of carrying out its own investigations before issuing any fatwas or edicts.
A strange world is this one that looks to the Other believes and faith as something that threats their own believes and communities. What is odd in this statement is not so much the appeal to exclusion and hate of the Islamic sect leader but the way Mr. Maruf Amin puts himself and its organization on this account. "Carrying our own investigations before edicting any fatwas" said him. For those who don't know what a fatwa is, it is an appeal of a “saint war” that Islamic scholars, normally direct, against those who they aim threaten Islam. According with it, the person or the organization target by the edict may be killed or slaughter by any Muslim and the organization persecuted to its own extinction. It is anomalous that in a country that is ruled by the Rule of Law still endures this kind of hate appeal, echoing in the press and within a prestigious Indonesian Islam organization. We understand that every religion has its own fundamentalists but this appeal to violence and bigotry is something outrageous. We have among ourselves, in hundreds of Lodges spread all over the world, many pious Muslims. They are equals to us, Brethren like us. We tolerate all religions, whatever they are. But we don’t bear intolerant and sectarian people, inside our Lodges. We, Freemasons, have been persecuted by Nazism and fascism; also by communism. It seems those ugly days are far from ending, at least in Indonesia. We direct to our Indonesian Brethren a warm and homely embrace of support and Brotherly Love and wish they may be guided by the Grand Architect of the Universe in their decisions and activities. They may find in Its Illumination the Light and the clearance to confront any threat to their personal security and of their Lodge's. This is not a problem of politics but how to deal with intolerance and hate. We would not conceal with intolerance and hatred. Not before, not ever.