ASIA/INDONESIA - A Jesuit: President Yudhoyono is an accomplice of religious intolerance

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - The President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is in fact, an accomplice and creator of the climate of religious intolerance and violence against minorities that exists in Indonesia. The strong complaint was publicly made by Fr. Franz Magnis-Suseno SJ, a Jesuit priest and professor of philosophy in Jakarta, one of the leading scholars of dialogue and religion in the Indonesian Church. Fr. Magnis-Suseno, who is also collaborator of the international magazine "Oasis", wrote an open letter to the "Appeal of Conscience Foundation" (ACF), a prestigious institute in New York with regards to the news that the Foundation is going to bestow this year’s Award to President Yudhoyono " because of his merits regarding religious tolerance ".
In the letter, sent to Fides Agency, the Jesuit stresses: "This is a shame," which "discredits an institution with moral intentions." Fr. Magnis-Suseno asks: "Do you know the growing difficulties of Christians to get permits for opening places of prayer, about the growing number of forced closure of churches, about the growth of regulations that make worshipping for minorities more difficult, thus about the growing intolerance on the grassroot level? ".
The complaint recalls "the shameful and quite dangerous attitudes of hardline religious groups towards so-called 'deviant teachings' meaning members of the Ahmadiyahoe and the Shia communities, and the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has not said or done anything to protect them." "Hundreds of people – have under Yudhoyono presidentship –been driven out of their houses, they still live miserably in places likesports halls." Faithful Ahmadis and Shias have been killed "only for religious reasons." And President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, during his eight and a half years in office "has not a single time said anything to the Indonesian people, that they should respect their minorities. He has shamefully avoided any responsibility regarding growing violence."
The Jesuit said he was "appalled by so much hypocrisy" and warns against supporting, even indirectly, those who "want to purify Indonesia of all what they regard as heresies and heathen." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 23/05/2013)