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Catholics want Muslim 'national hero'
Abdul Rachman Baswedan's fight for tolerance and equality 'should be recognized'Jesuit Father Augustinus Setyo Wibowo (with microphone) speaks during yesterdayâ€™s meeting in Jakarta
- Konradus Epa, Jakarta
- April 15, 2011
Abdul Rachman Baswedan (1908-1986) was a nationalist, politician, journalist, writer, diplomat and freedom fighter.
â€śAlthough he was of Arab descent, he had friends from different religious and cultural backgrounds, including Catholic leaders,â€ť said Harry Tjan Silalahi, a Catholic intellectual, at a seminar yesterday at the Catholic University of Atma Jaya in Jakarta.
During his political life, he was part of a committee that prepared for Indonesian independence, and later served as deputy minister of information. He was also a member of parliament and of the 1956-59 constitutional assembly.
His skills as a diplomat also earned Indonesia international recognition.
Baswedan ignored conservative Arabian traditions and bravely joined revolutionary movements, because, â€śhe wanted to live together with people of Chinese descent,â€ť Silalahi said.
Alois A. Nugroho, a lecturer at the university said diversity was no barrier to Baswedan.
â€śBaswedan developed a democratic nationalism, which respected other religions and cultures,â€ť the Catholic layman said.
In his speech, the universityâ€™s rector F.G. Winarno said Baswedan should be declared a national hero.
â€śWe propose the title of national hero for Baswedan for promoting tolerance and fighting to get rid of religious and cultural divisions,â€ť he said.