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Yudhoyono defends minorities amid continuous oppression

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  • Sunny
    res: This is one of the ways SBY defends minorities, click : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L-9HcTb1es
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 18, 2013
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      res: This is one of the ways SBY defends minorities, clickhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L-9HcTb1es

      Yudhoyono defends minorities amid continuous oppression

      Ina Parlina and Margareth S. Aritonang, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sun, August 18 2013, 10:06 AM

      As Indonesia’s global reputation as a model for Muslim democracy deteriorates due to rising intolerance, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made his strongest remark in his state-of-the-nation address on Friday to defend the

      The President, however, stopped short of mentioning the plight of Shia and Ahmadiyah followers in facing religious persecution. “I would like to remind the people that the state fully guarantees the existence of individual or minority groups,” Yudhoyono said in his speech, which was delivered to commemorate the 68th anniversary of independence at the House of Representatives.

      “We cannot justify imposition of belief by the any religious group on a minority, especially by using threats, intimidation and violence,” he said, adding that every citizen should uphold the Constitution that guarantees freedom of religion.

      Indonesia, he said, is a pluralistic country and the people should take it as a blessing in order to be able to manage it. “We have to prevent communal clashes and violence, which may disrupt peace in our society as well as our national unity,” he said.  

      He acknowledged that cases of intolerance still occurred and should be addressed, but that did not mean that Indonesia was no longer a tolerant country. He went on to cite a number of Indonesia’s achievements in boosting its standing as a champion of pluralism by initiating dialog among different faiths and civilizations.

      “Since 2004, Indonesia has become the initiator of such dialogues in Asia and the Pacific, as well as within the framework of the Asia Europe Meeting or ASEM,” he said. “Indonesia also supported the formation of the Alliance of Civilizations at the United Nations.”

      The President’s remark came amid mounting criticism against his administration for failing to stem the rising cases of intolerance. Incidents of religious intolerance have increased steadily in the last four years, as reported by the Wahid Institute, which promotes pluralism and peaceful Islam. The report showed the number of religious intolerance cases in 2012 stood at 274, up from 267 in 2011. In 2010, the institute recorded 184 cases and 121 cases in 2009.

      Only recently, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali drew public outrage following reports that he allegedly condoned the forced conversion of Shia followers, who fled their villages in fear of persecution from their Sunni neighbors. In his defense, the minister said the government was only supporting a “reconciliation program” aimed at “enlightening” the Shia followers to allow peaceful coexistence.

      Several Shia members decided to renounce their faith and return home in Sampang, East Java, while others, who have been living in a camp in Sidoarjo in the past year, refused to do so and remain in limbo until now. 

      Human rights activists criticized the President’s speech and accused him of being out of touch with the reality of Indonesia. “The speech was made without considering the facts and reality that occurred in Indonesia,” Choirul Anam of Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) said, calling the speech “apologetic”.

      “Yudhoyono forgot that he failed to ensure all state officials to respect religious freedom which was shown by numerous discriminative policies across the country.”

      Yudhoyono also touched the issues of separatism in Papua and Aceh, saying the two remained an integral part of Indonesia. He also called on the Indonesian people to ensure that the elections run peacefully through a free and fair process.

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