*The Caveat of Prof. Franz Magnis-Suseno, SJ to ACF*
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACF),
I am a Catholic Priest and professor of philosophy in Jakarta. In Indonesia we learnt that you are going to bestow this year’s World Stateman Award to our President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono because of his merits regarding religious tolerance.
This is a shame, a shame for you. It discredits any claim you might make as a an institution with moral intentions.
How can you take such a decision without asking concerned people in Indonesia? Hopefully you have not made this decission in response to prodding by people of our Government or of the entourage of the President.
Do you not know about the growing difficulties of Christians to get permits for opening places of prayer, about the growing number of forced closures of churches, about the growth of regulations tha make worshipping for minorities more difficult, thus about growing intolerance on the grassroot level? And particularly, have you never heard about the shameful and quite dangerous attitudes of hardline religious groups towards so called deviant teachings, meaning members of the Achmadiyah and the Shia communities, and the government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono just doing nothing and saying nothing to protect them? Hundreds of their people have under Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s presidentship been driven out of their houses, they still live miserably in places like sports halls, there have allready Achmadis and Shia people been killed (so that the question arises whether Indonesia will deteriorate to conditions like Pakistan dan Iran [favor of President G. W. Bush] where every months hundreds of Shia people are being killed because of religious motivations)?
Do you not know that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his up to now 8 1/2 years in office has not a single time said something to the Indonesian people, that they should respect their minorities? That he has shamefully avoided responsibility regarding growing violence towards Achmadiyah and Shia people?
Again, whom did you ask for information before making you award choice? What could be your motivation to bestow upon this President a reward for religious tolerance who so obviously lacks any courage to do his duty protecting minorities?
I have to add that I am not a radical, not even a “human right extremist” (if such exist). I am just appaled about so much hypocrisy. You are playing in the hands of those – still few – radicals that want to purify Indonesia of all what they regard as heresies and heathen.