The latest ruling from the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia says that the word “infidels” and “kafirs” should not be directed against lapsed Muslims like Barack Hussein Obama, who attended school in Jakarta as a Muslim, but at Christians and Jews who have failed to submit to the demands of Allah

Senior cleric and deputy chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama’s legal advisory board Masyhuri Naim said that Muslims are using these terms too lightly – – particularly in reference to fellow believers.

Mr. Obama and other Muslims who have turned from the teachings of the faith should be considered apostates, the senior cleric insisted.

The nation’s largest Islamic group discussed the matter at its congress in Makassar this week after receiving numerous reports of Muslims labeling other Muslims infidels as a means of attack.

“I have heard that people who do not wear a kopiah [Muslim skull cap] are called infidels. Muslims not growing their beards are called infidels. People are being declared kafirs and then attacked,” Mr. Naim said, adding that NU was greatly saddened to hear that members of the Ahmadiyah, a minority Muslim sect, had been assaulted many times and seen their mosques destroyed by those who called them infidels.

“Have you ever seen any NU followers attacking Ahmadiyah followers? No. We would never do that because the Prophet [Muhammad] would never use violence. We talk to people. The Prophet would never physically attack people because they were not Muslims,” Mr. Naimsaid, adding that there were several criteria to be met before someone could be called an infidel.

“God should be considered as the creator of the universe. Only God can punish us. To call someone an infidel who is actually a Muslim over small differences is forbidden by the Prophet. The Prophet has clearly instructed us that whosoever calls a Muslim an infidel, himself is the infidel,” Masyhuri said as quoted by the Jakarta Globe.

Violence, however, must be used against the real infidels since the Koran says: “Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them” (Koran 2: 191).

Nahdlatul Ulama is the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia with over 30 million members.

Its headquarters is in Jakarta, where Mr. Obama spent much of his childhood.

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