Indonesia Minorities Slam President’s Interfaith Award

By Agence France-Presse on 06:39 pm May 20, 2013
Category Featured, News

An Indonesian Ahmadi reacts as he checks the condition of an Ahmadiyah mosque in Tasikmalaya, West Java, after it was attacked by the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) on May 5, 2013. Indonesian religious minorities slammed a decision by a US interfaith group to honor President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with a “World Statesmen” award at a time when attacks against minority faiths at home are on the rise. (JG Photo/Rezza Estily)

An Indonesian Ahmadi reacts as he checks the condition of an Ahmadiyah mosque in Tasikmalaya, West Java, after it was attacked by the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) on May 5, 2013. Indonesian religious minorities slammed a decision by a US interfaith group to honor President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with a “World Statesmen” award at a time when attacks against minority faiths at home are on the rise. (JG Photo/Rezza Estily)

Indonesian religious minorities on Monday slammed a decision by a US interfaith group to honor President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at a time when attacks against minority faiths are on the increase.

The Appeal of Conscience Foundation, which campaigns against crimes committed in the name of religion, has named Yudhoyono its “World Statesman” of 2013, and he is due to collect the award at a ceremony later this month in New York.

But attacks against minorities in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country have been rising in recent years, and Yudhoyono has been repeatedly criticized for failing to take action.

Minority Muslim groups, such as Ahmadiyah and Shiites, and Christians, have been targeted by Muslim radicals in the Sunni-majority country, with places of worship attacked and in some cases worshippers even killed.

Ahmadiyah cleric Rahmat Rahmadijaya, who has been locked inside a mosque near the capital Jakarta since April with a group of other sect members after it was sealed by hardliners, said he was “disappointed” at the award.

“He only listens to the voice of the majority and allows the discriminatory acts against us to continue,” he told AFP. “If he accepts the award, he must be shameless.”

Ahmadis, unlike mainstream Muslims, do not believe Muhammad was the last prophet.

Palti Panjaitan, a Christian cleric whose congregation on the outskirts of Jakarta has been locked out of its church by Muslim hardliners, accused the president of “turning a blind eye” and failing to act.

“He blows his own trumpet at international conferences to paint a picture that all is well in Indonesia but in reality, that’s not the case,” he told AFP.

But presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah defended the award as a recognition of Yudhoyono’s accomplishments in many areas, including the economy, democracy and human rights.

“The cases of intolerance should not be a yardstick against which to measure Indonesia,” he said.

The Appeal of Conscience Foundation did not respond to a request for comment.

Agence-France Presse

  • Roland

    What minorities. There are no minorities in Indonesia. All out of free will converted!

  • http://sairyou.me/ Daniel Budiarto

    What yardstick should we use then? Social equality? Oops.

  • Tatanka

    Has anyone noticed the invitation to the award. Two items worth mentioning:
    1. The sponsor is United Technologies Corporation represented by it’s CEO & Chairman. People should wonder what the company has in mind. Perhaps, to get some concession from the Indonesian government for it’s operation or initiative in Indonesia? If so, it is money politics.
    2. Will the ACF founder present the award? If so, president SBY will be receiving the award presented to him by a Jewish Rabbi. Don’t some radical muslims usually make an issue about this sort of things? Just curious.

    • PakLe

      does the Rabbi even know that his brothers and sisters in Israel aren’t even allowed to come to Indonesia?

  • Good,Bad and Ugly

    As this is an award for tolerance for religions and interfaith harmony, then what might be the yardstick for judgement?

  • Muffinman

    Maybe he should also get a bigger yardstick….and a new pair of glasses.

  • blightyboy

    It is quite extraordinary to read this story directly alongside –
    “Twenty Ahmadis Convert to Sunni Islam in West Java”

  • sheldon archer

    Send your comment to the people who awarded him: appealofconscience@msn.com

    • Good,Bad and Ugly

      I have written 3 times – no reply -

      • DD

        same

  • Fasdunkle

    interfaith is a joke

  • itrack

    Gus Dur should get the award.