In a surprising move, Indonesia’s new government plans to restore religious freedom to all minorities, as per the country’s 1945 Constitution. After less than a month in their posts, the President, along with the Ministers for Religious and Home Affairs, have been taking steps to ensure freedom of worship for all, bringing hope to the country after years of religious persecution. Mr Joko Widodo was inaugurated President of Indonesia on 20 October 2014, in this Sunni-majority country, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim has announced that a new law is to be introduced within six months to protect minorities from attack ensuring all citizens have the same rights. He also promised to make it easier for minority groups to obtain permits for building places of worship. On 5 November, Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo met with representatives of minority religions. It is significant that this was the Minister’s first official meeting after being sworn in on 27 October. Significantly, Mr Kumolo has proposed the government scrap religious affiliation from Indonesian identity cards, a move which has angered Islamists.
Addressing the regional implementation of these new laws, Mr Kumolo said, “We have national standards. Leaders of every region should formulate bylaws according to these standards.” Christians have welcomed the election of President, Joko Widodo, who is known for his tolerant attitude towards religious minorities and who came under fire from Islamists rejecting his appointment of a Christian woman while he was governor of Jakarta.
Source: Barnabas Fund
BIBLE STUDY: Psalm 64:9-10
PRAISE God for this extraordinary development. PRAY for President Widodo and his government to have the wisdom to implement these changes.