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    » 05/17/2013, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Indonesian President named for religious freedom prize. Anger and indignation of minorities

    Mathias Hariyadi

    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.

    Jakarta (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.


    Fr. Suseno 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.

    The award 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 cancellation. On 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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    See also

    20/05/2013 INDONESIA
    As fresh anti-Ahmadi violence breaks out, presidential spokesperson says Yudhoyono protects religious freedom
    Extremists target an East Java mosque used by Muslim "heretics". The presidency and minority leaders continue to spar after a Jesuit priest and philosopher who wrote an open letter is accused of stirring sectarian tensions and portraying the country in a bad light.

    07/09/2005 INDONESIA
    Christians fear attacks in the workplace
    Catholics and Protestants are used to celebrating mass at their workplace on Friday when their Muslim colleagues go to mosques. The government pledges to review the law on places of worship.

    06/09/2005 INDONESIA
    Three Christian women jailed for 'proselytising'
    The women were accused of trying to convert Muslim children. The sentence was pronounced after four months of constants threats from Muslim extremists.

    19/01/2015 INDONESIA
    For Jakarta's Wahid Institute, the state is behind sectarian violence
    According to a report by the prestigious institute, 51 per cent of cases of violence can be attributed to public officials and agencies. Police and security forces are negligent or share responsibility in attacks on minorities. Although the number of cases of violence has dropped, government policy has not changed. Even reformist newly elected president Jokowi has been inattentive to minority rights.

    22/10/2004 INDONESIA
    Former Indonesian President defends a Catholic church

    Former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid (aka Gus Dur) is a moderate Muslim leader who says that religious freedom must be guaranteed for Catholics or he will take their case to court. Some 500 attacks have been reported in the country in the last 14 years.





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