Whilst waiting for the Election Commission to make the Jokowi win official, I was scanning the local news and found a week-old ray of sunshine, emanating from, of all places, the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
I say ‘of all places’ because until recently that government department languished in the hot little hands of a white-hot bigot, Suryadharma Ali, a man I can most kindly describe as unspeakable.
Given the job of running religious affairs in a pluralist country, the nasty fanatic distinguished himself by turning up to gloat at rituals where members of the harmless Ahmadi minority ‘converted’ to his brand of Sunni Islam -no coercion, of course!
- He also insulted the Shia minority, smearing them as ‘heretics.’
The measure of his drivel can however perhaps be best gauged by his cretinous assertion that skirts that allow knees to be visible are in violation of a ‘universal criterion.’
What a dork!
Check him out on our search engine. .
Much to the delight of many, he resigned not long ago, obliged to do so amid corruption allegations. Now, to my surprise, I can actually use the words ‘Minister of Religious Affairs’ and ‘admirable’ in a context other than contradiction!
On July 15 the new Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin broke the fast with representatives of minority religious communities, which to date remain legally unrecognized by the state…
Well glory be!!
A Minister of Religious Affairs who knows the decent thing to do – and DOES IT! And not just sitting down to break bread with these persecuted people, but better still…
In his dialog with the religious minority communities, the minister promised to look into irregularities in government rules and regulations that contravene the spirit of religious freedom.
After the long years of shameful oppression, including arson, ethnic cleansing and brutal murder, which minorities here have suffered, this supper, and those words, are almost revolutionary!
And yet the only reference in a news search was a brief item in detik.com, http://news.detik.com/read/2014/07/17/054826/2639565/10/kisah-menag-lukman-hakim-bertemu-kelompok-minoritas?9922032 which didn’t even identify the minorities involved!!
That only came to light in the Jakarta Globe yesterday, here. http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/old-rules-people-stifle-freedom-religion/
Amazingly, Lukman hails from the same party, the PPP, which spawned ‘Apostasy Ali.’
I note that in detik.com he said that he and his guests might ‘little by little’ handle the problems together.
Maybe with a President prepared to act rather than just talk, that ‘little’ can become large, the first big obstacle to tolerance being the iniquitous Tri-Ministerial Decree, which deliberately discriminates against Ahmadi religious freedoms.
Morning in Indonesia?