To SBY: Mr. President, Enough!

By N. Mark Castro

Print Edition 6, 9 2012

With the complexity of the issue and the diversity of the nation, with over 17,000 majestic islands, various recognized languages, and different cultural traditions, familial obligations, and the belief in God in whatever shape or form, this is the best the Minister of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia can say.

Ironically, it is the same department which is accused of being one of the most corrupt ministries in the country, yet it will receive a staggering amount of USD 4.37 Billion Dollars Annual Budget for 2013, of which 79.67% will be spent on Islamic education and another 7% on Islamic community guidance, while the $2 Million budget for promoting religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue in 2012 had been entirely scrapped.

Yes, this is Religious Affairs Minister Surya-dharma Ali, custodian of the Holy Will of Allah, who thinks he is a Minister of Islamic Affairs and not the title by which the public, through the President, has bestowed upon him.

In one year, he has managed to dispense his religious wisdom upon issues which he should be protecting, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia which, in all its essence, has lost its spirit and meaning.

In one year, he has managed to destroy the very foundation of the unity in diversity from which the country rests its soul.

In one year, he has managed to say all these:

  • April 20, Presidential Palace 

On the joint decree limiting Ahmadiyah

There may have been something wrong in the region. We must promote discussion to settle these kinds of issues. But the Ahmadis must also obey the law.

  • March 28, House of Representatives

On fashion

There must be a set of universal criteria to define something as pornographic, one of which will be when someone wears a skirt above the knee.

  • Jan. 26, House of Representatives

On Shia Islam

The Shiite branch is an aberration of the main Islamic principles.

  • Jan. 18

On the GKJ Yasmin standoff

If a meeting on the issue is canceled, you cannot say that the government lacks good intention to resolve the issue.


And in the midst of attacks on religious minorities, he had the gall to say that Indonesia is the most tolerant country in the world.

No, Mr. Minister, under your watch, it has not been so.

Indonesians are the most tolerant people in the world but, the country, under your religious watch, the extremists have taken control over the basic human rights of what it is to believe in God.

Mr. President, what have the people done so bad that you have to subject them to the sheer torture of Religious Affairs Minister Surya-dharma Ali.

Cukup, Mr. President, Cukup.


About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the Southeast Asia Director of JUMP DIGITAL Asia, which is an internationally-awarded and fully integrated digital marketing agency with 5 out of 10 offices in the ASEAN region. He is also the Secretary General of the Philippine Business Club Indonesia, managing and assisting the traffic of investments between the Philippines and Indonesia. He shuttles between Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore, Cambodia, and Australia. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on September 7, 2012, in General, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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