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Religious leaders want rebuke for SBY

President under scrutiny for failing to stop anti-Christian violence

Father Antonius Benny Susetyo Father Antonius Benny Susetyo
  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • February 16, 2011
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Dozens of religious leaders and rights activists have urged Indonesia’s People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), to reprimand president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono following recent attacks on Ahmadiyah followers and on churches in Java.

A warning is needed so the government can re-focus on national principles, Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, told MPR Chairman Taufiq Kiemas at a February 14 open meeting.

The assembly is Indonesia’s judicial branch of government.

The priest said the recent attacks highlighted the need for the MPR to remind the government that it needs to take “concrete action.”

Three Ahmadiyah sect members were brutally killed during an attack by over 1,000 orthodox Muslims on worshippers at a house in Banten on February 6. Two days later, in Temanggung, mobs ransacked three churches after a court jailed a Christian for five years for insulting Islam. The mobs had demanded the death penalty.

“We hope the MPR is brave enough to warn president about his failure in enforcing the law and protecting citizens,” Father Susetyo said.

In reply, Kiemas promised he would meet the president to discuss the attacks. “Violent acts must be stopped,” he said, “and the government must play a significant role in preventing these acts from happening.”

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