» 05/17/2013, 00.00
Indonesian President named for religious freedom prize. Anger and indignation of minorities
In late May in New York Yudhoyono will receive the World Statesman Award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACF). The recognition for the protection of minority rights and freedom of worship. Indonesian Jesuit: he has never done anything to protect the rights in a country at risk of Islamization.
(AsiaNews) - Catholic leaders, civil society and prominent figures of science
and faith in Indonesia are protesting against the choice of an American
foundation to reward President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for the promotion of
interreligious dialogue. Philosopher
and Jesuit priest Fr. Franz
Magnis Suseno has sent a letter to the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACF),
based in New York, criticizing the choice to grant the World Statesman Award to
the Indonesian head of state. There
have been a series of protests and demonstrations against the award, which will
be given to a politician who - in reality - has done very little to ensure
interfaith harmony and protect minorities.
points out that "during
the eight-and-a-half years of his presidency, Yudhoyono has never told
Indonesians to respect minority rights. He obviously does nothing to protect
minority groups." As
a result, he adds, it can be said that "no one has ever done anything
concrete" to protect them. In
the letter addressed to the leaders of the New York-based foundation, founded
by Rabbi Arthur Schneier in 1965, he recalls the drama of hundreds of Shiites
and Ahmadis expelled from their areas or killed because they were considered
heretics in a nation that is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim.
The Jesuit priest
also asks with concern "will Indonesia's condition worsen and eventually become like Pakistan
and Iraq, where Shiites are killed every month for religious motivations for sectarian reasons." And
finally he adds the daily problems experienced by Indonesian Christians, from obtaining
building permits to build places of worship to small episodes and
discrimination cases. "Intolerance
- he concludes - is rooted in the depths" of society.
ceremony is scheduled for the end of May, although the associations for human
rights and civil society members promise to continue the battle for its
May 6 there was a demonstration in the streets of Jakarta, where the
participants tried to deliver a "petition" to the U.S. Embassy
calling for the withdrawal of approval. "We
have been the subject of repeated violence - recalls the Shiite leader Emilia
Az J. Rakhmat - I just can not understand how they can reward [Yudhoyono] ".
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