Activists protest outside Presidential Palace for religious freedom

Posted by David Khoirul

Islam attacks FPI Jakarta Istana negara gambar fotoThey really did it. These people, consisting of over 1000 activists and Christians, demonstrated outside the Presidential Palace (Istana Negara) this morning, Sunday, in Jakarta, demanding that the goverment guarantee religious freedom in the country. This act was done in response to church attacks and religious violations by Islamic hard-liners in West Java last week. The protesters are mostly from Solidarity Forum of Interfaith Harmony (FSKUB).

"It is an appropriate expression from a minority group which has been conflicted with a certain public organization," the Islamic Liberal Network (JIL) leader ulil Abshar Abdala told kompas.com. Ulil said that the group marched to the State Palace because they thought police force and local government had failed in giving them protection.

Separately, the Indonesian Ulemas Council's (MUI) interfaith harmony department head Slamet Effendi Yusuf considered the peaceful march "exaggerated".

"If the rally consists of all elements (in society and religious groups), I think it is overrated and it gives me an impression of a political movement," he added. Slamet said the government has issued a joint ministerial decree on interfaith harmony, including requirements in building a worship house.

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