Thursday, February 16, 2012
Government Tackling Ahmadiyah, Yasmin Church Cases Seriously
Source: ANTARA News
Jakarta - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has vowed to maintain religious harmony in the country.
He said the government has taken serious steps to settle Ahmadiyah and Yasmin church cases.
The president was speaking on government policies and recent developments in the country during a meeting with 128 ambassadors and representatives of international organizations at the foreign ministry compound on Wednesday.
He said, during 2011 and 2012, conflicts had indeed occurred but in general inter-religious relations in the country are stable.
"The government policy on dealing with such cases is very clear. We are firm that religious freedom must be guaranteed. There is no impunity," he said.
"Although it is not reported in the media, a lot of conflicts have been resolved through mediation. We choose legal approach but this does not always settle problems, so we opt for dialogue and mediation," he said.
President Yudhoyono said there were instances in which state authorities were found less effective in finding a solution to such conflicts.
"I admitted that in some instances security authorities have been less effective and unprofessional. The way they explain the situation to the public has also often been ineffective, leaving a negative impression," he said.
With regard to conflicts over the Ahmadiyah case, President Yudhoyono said his government had always respected religious freedom, but certain regulations are needed to ensure its smooth implementation.
"In Ahmadiyah case, the government has never banned the sect, but it is drawing up a regulation to ensure conflicts don't occur in Indonesia, whose population is 90 per cent Moslem and differences surface over teachings.
"So, I reiterated that we legislate laws to prevent conflicts and spread goodwill."
On the Yasmin church case, President Yudhoyono said the government had pushed for dialogue among parties concerned.
"It is about a permit and relations with local residents. We keep managing it through legal and non-legal approaches. Sometimes legal approach is not effective and an additional approach can even settle problems permanently," he said.
President Yudhoyono said: "The government keeps mediating, hoping for a solution in the near future. I urge the mayor, governor and local residents to continue holding dialogue.
"I wish church members could carry out their religious service in Bogor (West Java) peacefully. All citizens have a right to carry out religious services."
The meeting was attended by all cabinet ministers and other high ranking officials.
President Yudhoyono said he is keen on holding such meeting regularly.