Indonesia’s largest Muslim group, once led by struggling President Abdurrahman Wahid, is set to declare Islamic law allows the killing of his enemies, an official said on Tuesday.
Deputy head of Nahdlatul Ulama’s (NU) lawmaking body Masdar Farida Mas’udi told Reuters his group had prepared a draft approving the killing of people involved in “bughot,” an Arabic term meaning unholy rebellion.
“The resolution will justify people waging war against bughot,” he said.
The Jakarta Post daily newspaper reported NU deputy chairman Achmad Bagdja saying some NU members believed efforts to topple Wahid could be considered bughot.
Hundreds of NU members have already signed up for suicide squads — called the Brave Movement to Die Defending Gus Dur (Wahid) — unofficially sanctioned by the 40-million strong group.
The Post also quoted NU deputy secretary-general Masduki Baidlawi saying Islamic law allowed the killing of those involved in bughot.
“The blood … is halal,” he said, using the term for anything sanctioned or approved under Islam.
Wahid led the Nahdlatul Ulama, founded by his grandfather, for 15 years until he was elected president in October 1999.
The group’s stronghold is in populous East Java, also Wahid’s political heartland, and many of its members are fanatical supporters of the ailing Muslim cleric.
But many analysts believe political forces rising against him will force him from power, possibly within months.
Pressure is mounting on Wahid after he last week rejected a parliamentary censure over two graft scandals. The censure could ultimately lead to his impeachment late this year.
His enemies accuse him of erratic leadership and failing to make any real progress in dragging Indonesia out of almost four years of social and economic chaos and failing to end communal violence that has killed thousands.
The NU suicide squads say any move to oust Wahid before his term ends in 2004 will be met with force.
“The punishment for bughot is war,” squad organizer Wiro Sukiman told Reuters.