Joko Widodo “Indonesia is still a tolerant nation”

Indonesian President  Joko Widodo has argued that the country is still a tolerant nation that embraces pluralism despite growing concerns about religious freedoms and crackdowns on the LGBTI community.

In a new interview the Indonesian President said the country still embraced a moderate form of Islam.

“Pluralism has always been a part of Indonesia’s DNA,” Joko Widodo told news agency Reuters. “Despite many challenges, Islam in Indonesia has always been a force for moderation.”

Concern has been raised by human rights groups after the former Governor of Jakatta Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was charged with blasphemy and sentenced two years in prison.

The country has also had a growing crackdown on LGBTI people despite homosexuality not being illegal in the large majority of the country. The Aceh province operates a strict form of Islamic Sharia law, earlier this year two men were publicly caned for having a same-sex relationship.

Despite his own Defence Minister labeling homosexuality a “national security threat”, and a religious leader calling for coffee chain Starbucks to be banned in the country – because of their support for LGBTI rights, President Widodo said Indonesia is still a tolerant place.

“Indonesia remains a tolerant nation” the President said, telling a reporter that the constitution respected people’s rights.

“We are the largest majority Muslim country so Indonesia has its own religious norms, unique values and also cultures that must be respected.” Widodo added.

OIP Staff


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