(AsiaNews) - Municipal authorities have confirmed the appointment of Susan
Jasmine Zulkifli, a Protestant, as head of Lenteng Agung, a largely Muslim
sub-district, rejecting requests made by a small part of the Islamic community that
she be dismissed.
officially and legally Lenteng Agung's sub-district chief, despite the fact
that she is not Muslim," said Eko Haryadi, a spokesman for the Jakarta
Municipal Authority. "All procedures and administrative requirements needed to
undergo a selection to become sub-district chief have been properly and well
done," he added, thus putting an end to a controversy that has raged for two
The case broke out on Tuesday when Naser Nasrullahe, a Muslim
resident of the sub-district, claimed that he had a list of at least 2,300
names, 1,500 backed with ID information, of people who wanted her dismissal.
The fact that
the sub-district chief was a Christian was the main reason since the area is
predominantly Muslim as evinced by its 22 mosques, 59 prayer centres and
hundreds of smaller sites for Qur'an reading.
request for resignation was phoney, local sources noted because no official
petition was ever presented to the City of Jakarta, which alone can dismiss local
an element of doubt surrounds the list of names of people supposedly in favour
of the sub-district chief's dismissal. In fact, for most Indonesians, the request
was an "unfounded pretext" to satisfy Muslim extremists.
Over the past
couple of days, more and more people on the Internet and on social networks have
come to Susan Jasmine Zulkifli's defence, including human rights organisations
like the Lenteng Agung Residents for Reformation Forum (Formala), which reiterated
its support for the woman.
It is clear that,
in the world's most populous Muslim country, Muslim extremists behind the
attack are trying to delegitimise Christian leaders who have carved a wider
political space for themselves.
freedom and equality are guaranteed under Indonesia's constitution and stand as
the foundations of the Indonesian state, they have not always been respected.
leaders, the one who has attracted the greatest Islamist resentment is Jakarta Deputy
Governor Tjahaja Basuki Purnama, a Protestant better known by his nickname of
Together, Ahok and
Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo (Jokowi) have formed a duo that has improved the
quality of life in the capital, adopting a series of measures that won high
praise from the population.
people in the country are using religion for purely political reasons to attack
and discredit opponents in order to regain lost support.
In the coming
months, such attacks will likely increase, Indonesia experts warn, with Jakarta's
governor and deputy governor as the main targets.
dislike seeing Christian and Muslim leaders work together, even and especially
when they get great results as in Jakarta.