Religious freedom should be priority for Jokowi govt: Church

In his victory speech, Widodo has launched an appeal for national reconciliation, calling for the unity of the nation for the good of the country.

Indonesia
Jul 25 2014, 2:45 PM
Religious freedom should be priority for Jokowi govt: Church
Joko Widodo

The priority for the new president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, and his government should be addressing the issue of the growing religious intolerance in Indonesia, the nation’s Churches and NGOs stated on knowing the election results.

Religious intolerance has become a national concern, and the religious minorities had shown their preference for ‘reformist’ former Jakarta governor Widodo (nicknamed ‘Jokowi’) over his rival, ‘hardliner’ former general Prabowo Subianto.

According to the official count, Widodo obtained 53.15% of the votes, while, Subianto received 46.85%. Subianto has challenged the election results and announced of a legal recourse for the review of the results.

In his victory speech, Widodo has launched an appeal for national reconciliation, calling for the unity of the nation for the good of the country.

Widodo, in his political career, has openly defended the freedom of religion and the Indonesian tradition of religious pluralism. In his presidential election campaign he pledged to protect the Constitution, which provides for freedom of religion.

Intolerance and religious violence remains a serious problem in the country; NGO Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) had reported that in recent years there has been an increase of abuses, discrimination and violence on Christians, Ahmadis and Shia Muslims, followers of traditional indigenous beliefs. The NGO recently published a report titled ‘Indonesia: Pluralism in danger, the rise of religious intolerance’, which provides a detailed analysis of the increasing violations of freedom of religion or belief, and proposes 25 recommendations to the Indonesian government.

Mervyn Thomas, Director of CSW, called on the new president "to protect and promote freedom of religion in Indonesia, placing it as a priority for the new government. It is urgent to take measures to curb religious intolerance. We hope that the government is committed to enforcing constitutional guarantees on freedom of religion, for example, by removing the indication of religion on identity cards, revising the discriminatory and unjust laws, enforcing the judgments issued by the courts. We hope that Joko Widodo’s election inaugurates a new era of freedom of religion, peace and stability in Indonesia."

Source: Agenzia Fides

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