Of course, Indonesia are not within the interests of the "Noisy Arabs', despite being the most populous Muslim nation and the 3rd largest democracy.. Most Arabs know Indonesia as only source of housemaids, exotic travels or 3000 islands.. The radical groups had already infested the country, which will not enable Jokowi to restructure and spread development.. Already, their hatred videos and propaganda had aired..
Indonesia GDP is $ 1.3 trillion; equals to both KSA & UAE, or one third of all Arab world.. Their 300,000 housemaids are not stigma, but honored way of earning living, rather than typical Middle Eastern parasitization, prostitution or beggary
Despite his love to Metal music, he had invented Health Cards for the unprivileged people of Jakarta.. The presidential campaign started by questioning his religious belief; a note about the forthcoming battles.. Changing the platforms from corruption, dictatorships, political dynasties and corporate lobbying is not an acceptable roadmap for the ruling powers.. yet, he symbolizes people against beneficiaries..
Shall he succeed..?
I'm not sure..!!!
Shall he succeed..?
I'm not sure..!!!
Anyone who values human rights and democracy, and especially freedom of religion, will be breathing a sigh of relief after the announcement that Joko Widodo (known as "Jokowi") has been elected as President of Indonesia says Benedict Rogers.
After one of the most polarising presidential election campaigns in Indonesia's recent history, and the most crucial, Indonesia has chosen as its new President a candidate who represents the future, is committed to strengthening democracy, and has a track record of defending religious pluralism and promoting harmony.
In contrast his opponent, Prabowo Subianto, posed a serious threat to democracy and religious pluralism, and represented the past. An ex-General who was the son-in-law of former dictator Suharto, Prabowo has been accused of masterminding kidnappings of activists, overseeing massacres and other serious human rights abuses during Indonesia's years of authoritarianism. His character and rhetoric during the campaign harked back to those years, and he publicly declared that he thought democracy was a "bad habit" that Indonesians should give up. He held out the prospect of ending direct elections, and hinted at his admiration for fascism, with his campaign featuring a music video which evoked Nazi imagery.
Perhaps most worrying, however, was Prabowo's willingness to use religion as a political weapon. Even though his own mother and brother are Christians, and he personally defends pluralism as enshrined in Indonesia's founding state philosophy, the 'Pancasila' (five principles), Prabowo built a coalition of hardline Islamist parties and gained the support of the violent vigilante group, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), responsible for many church closures and attacks on the Ahmadiyya and Shia Muslim sects. His manifesto included a pledge to "purify religion", which raised alarm bells for Indonesia's non-Sunni minorities. He used dirty tricks to try to discredit his opponent, falsely claiming Jokowi was Christian and Chinese when in fact he is Muslim and Javanese. Jokowi had to make public displays of piety, including a pilgrimage to Mecca a few days before polling day, to counter the smears. In Indonesian politics, religious and ethnic identity still plays a bigger role than it should.
It has been announced that Jokowi has won 53%, versus Prabowo's 47%. Prabowo has refused to concede defeat graciously, instead withdrawing from the race, calling on world leaders not to recognise the result, and threatening a legal challenge. There are also fears that some of his supporters may unleash unrest. But most analysts say with Jokowi's six per cent lead, it is hard to see how a legal challenge will stand up in court, and so unless something extraordinary occurs, Jokowi should be inaugurated as President later this year.
The task now, therefore, is to look at what a Jokowi presidency means for religious harmony. During his predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's ten years in office, religious intolerance has grown significantly. My report, Indonesia: Pluralism in Peril – The rise of religious intolerance across the archipelago, launched in February in London and Brussels and in four cities in Indonesia – Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Medan and Bandung – in June, details this. It also contains 25 recommendations for action for the government of Indonesia, which I hope Jokowi's team will study carefully.
As Governor of Jakarta, and previously Mayor of Solo, in Central Java – known as a centre of radical Islamist groups – Jokowi consistently promoted pluralism. His deputy in Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known as "Ahok"), now Acting Governor, is a Chinese Christian. Last year, when a Christian was appointed as a sub-district head, Jokowi dismissed protests by hardline Islamists, arguing that people should be appointed on merit alone. Churches in Jakarta which faced threats from the FPI received police protection from the Governor. His record gives cause for hope.
But hopes for action to curb religious intolerance should not rest on Jokowi's character alone. His government should prioritise concrete steps including, for example, providing leadership and resources to the police to pursue a policy of zero tolerance towards radical organisations preaching intolerance and carrying out violence. Until now, police have failed to intervene to protect vulnerable minorities or to bring perpetrators of violence to justice, in part because they did not feel supported by President Yudhoyono. If Jokowi leads from the front, the police will follow.
The new government could also consider removing the religion column on identity cards, and reviewing all regulations which currently conflict with the Constitutional guarantees for freedom of religion. And in cases where the courts have ruled that places of worship should be allowed to open, and local Mayors are refusing to allow this, as in the cases of GKI Yasmin church in Bogor and HKBP Filadelfia church in Bekasi, steps should be taken to ensure court rulings are implemented and the rule of law upheld.
The announcement this week gives cause for hope, in the same way that the opposite result would have been cause for fear. There is still a long way to go for Indonesia in seeing off the challenge of radical Islamism, upholding its founding values of religious pluralism, and deepening its democracy, but the majority of Indonesians approached the crossroads which this election represented, and chose hope over fear.
Benedict Rogers is East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a human rights advocacy organisation working for freedom of religion or belief for all.