2017-04-01 15:11:00

Archbp. of Jakarta calls on citizens to vote against extremism and partisan interests

Jakarta Archbishop has issued a pastoral letter exhorting his Catholics  to exercise their civil rights and cast their votes in the election of April 19 for Jakarta Governor.   The March 31 pastoral letter of Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo, aims to counter the extremist drift and pressure campaigns carried out by pro-Muslim parties. Particular attention is paid to the choice of the governor of the region of Jakarta (DKI Jakarta).

On Friday thousands of Muslims, members of Islamic organizations, at the end of Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque Istiqlal headed towards the presidential palace, to ask once again for the resignation of the Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama. Behind the protest, is an alleged blasphemy case that actually seems politically motivated to oust the governor, a Christian of Chinese descent, in the most populous Muslim nation in the world.

Among the pretexts used to attack Ahok is that he not ‘a native Indonesian’, a term used to describe the Indonesians of Chinese origin.   According to analysts and experts, the intimidation campaign by Islamic groups is aimed at provoking a mass exodus of "non-natives" to prevent a second term for Ahok.

According to Archbishop Suharyo, the choice of candidate should be based on the people’s conscience centred around the welfare of the entire population, free of personal and party interests.

"A good vote - writes the archbishop - is a significant contributor to guarantee the unity of the Republic of Indonesia, according to the philosophy of Pancasila [the founding principles of the state, which emphasize equality in diversity]". Finally, he invited the faithful to remain calm and to refrain from violent acts or those that could exacerbate the electoral environment.

Earlier  on Friday, Indonesian police arrested Muhammad Al Khaththath, the leader of the Muslim Peoples Forum umbrella group, and four ‎other activists for suspected treason.  Their followers said they were not deterred by the arrests. ‎(AsiaNews)

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