President Widodo urged to address religious intolerance
The International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief has written to the President of Indonesia, encouraging him to “to protect religious minorities in the Republic of Indonesia and also address rising religious intolerance.”
The letter was signed by 25 Parliamentarians from 12 different nations – including the Bishop of Coventry, Baroness Berridge, Lord Singh, Baroness Cox and Lord Alton from the UK.
The letter highlights that:
“Indonesia faces a number of challenges that currently restrict or otherwise violate genuine religious freedom.”
For example, those perceived to have insulted Islam often face trumped-up blasphemy charges, and Shi’a, Sufis, and Ahmadis are considered “deviant” for not following traditional Sunni practices. Laws and regulations such as the 2008 anti-Ahmadiyya Joint Decree and the 2006 Joint Regulation on Houses of Worship are discriminatory and contravene international standards. Religious sites, whether churches or mosques, and the followers who worship there encounter closures and violence.
“These are just some of the critical challenges to religious freedom Indonesia needs to address in order to strengthen freedom of religion nor belief. Tackling these issues will require courageous and consistent direction from the highest levels of government. We stand ready to assist you in this important work.”
IPPFoRB has written several letters to heads of state about religious freedom issues, including the Pakistani Prime Minister, the President of Burma and Pope Francis.