Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - The presence of the new governor of Jakarta, the Muslim, Anies Baswedan, at the 90th anniversary of the prestigious male college, Canisius College, run by the Jesuits in Indonesia, generated a limited but evident controversy against the governor. As Fides learns, the governor was invited by the school at the ceremony held in recent days at the big “Jakarta International Expo” Convention Center to recall the foundation of the Institute of Superior Studies opened in the Indonesian capital in 1927. Among the present, the well-known pianist Ananda Sukarlan, a former student of the College, and other pupils, literally stood up and abandoned the classroom when the governor took the floor to pronounce his speech. The protesters claimed that "his values contradict the principles taught at school".
When the governor left the event, the protesters returned to their seats. Ananda Sukarlan, today a well-known musician, criticized the organizers for inviting Baswedan.
Jesuit Franz Magnis-Suseno, among the most well known and appreciated professors of the institute, stigmatized the "militant" clash and protest. Speaking to Agenzia Fides, Magnis-Suseno declared that "the invitation of the organizers to the governor of Jakarta was appropriate and correct", referring to his satisfaction for the governor's participation at the ceremony. By expressing dissent over the dispute, prof. Magnis-Susen states that "it would be justified if the governor had said anything obscene or offensive", but to contest "a priori" in an event that was not at all of political nature, "demonstrates public hostility and prejudice that does not certainly do well and can be counterproductive, fomenting conflict towards intolerance in a vulnerable country".
The Jesuit observes: "Should the governor not be given the opportunity to prove who he is and what he wants to do? We Catholics cannot choose the country we live in. 57% of voters in Jakarta chose Anies Baswedan and we have to respect the choice and be able to live with him. Canisio College must carry out its mission whatever the administration is to govern Jakarta and for this I think it is right to have Governor Anies Baswedan as an institutional representative". Also, "one has to respect a guest even if one personally does not agree with him; one could have criticized, at a later time, the Organizing Committee. Launching an open argument against the governor is an abuse of opportunity", he remarks. Canisius College "will continue its mission of high education in the field of education even in the future, much so if the social and political situation in Indonesia becomes more difficult", said Prof. Magnis-Suseno.
New governor Baswedan was elected in Jakarta in April 2017, at the end of the controversial election campaign characterized by the case of the other Christian candidate, defeated in the election, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as "Ahok", accused and sentenced to jail for blasphemy. Baswedan, a Muslim from the university environment, was accused of endorsing the support of extremist Islamic groups to gain consensus and reach power. His first public speech caused criticism as Baswedan used the term "pribumi", referring to Indonesian natives, in opposition to ancient settlers, inviting them to "regain their land" and fomenting ethnic and religious divisions in society. Even Said Aquil Siradj, general president of "Nahdlatul Ulama", the largest Indonesian Muslim organization, publicly invited him "not to use religion as a political instrument". (PP-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 15/11/2017)