EU Hopes Indonesia to Maintain Tolerance and Pluralism

Flags of the European Union and its member countries – EP photo.

Jakarta, 13 Sha’ban 1438/10 May 2017 (MINA) – Jakarta (ANTARA News) – A delegation of the European Union to Indonesia and Brunei has called on Indonesia to maintain its long held tradition of tolerance and pluralism.

The statement apparently came following a courts decision on Tuesday to mete out two years imprisonment for outgoing Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) for insulting Islam.

“The European Union has always appreciated the Indonesian leadership as the worlds largest Muslim country, as a strong democracy , proud for its tradition of tolerance and pluralism,” Antara News reported, citing a statement uploaded from the official website of an EU delegation to Indonesia and Brunei.

Indonesia and the European Union have agreed to promote and protect rights mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights such as freedom of thought, inner self, religion and opinion expression.

The EU said the freedoms constitute interrelated and interdependent rights, protecting all persons including rights to express opinions on religions and faiths in line with international human rights.

“The European Union is consistent in its statement that law that discriminatory criminalization of insult of religion could bring about serious hindrance on freedom of expression and religion and faith,” the EU delegation said in its statement.

In addition to the EU, support for Ahok also came from British Ambassador to Indonesia Moazzam Malik.

Through his twitter account @MoazzamTMalik, the Ambassador, who himself is a Muslim, said he knew Ahok and admired his performance during his governorship.

“I believe he is not anti Islam. I pray for Mrs Vero (Veronica Tan, wife of Ahok) and family members. Leaders should be able to maintain tolerance and harmony,” Moazzam wrote in his account.

The North Jakarta District Court sentenced the outgoing Jakarta governor to two years imprisonment for insulting Islam. He was sent directly from the court house to the Cipinang detention house.

Ahok said he would appeal the verdict, which is heavier than demanded by the public prosecutor, who asked the court to give him only a probation of two years.

Hundreds of Ahok sympathizers rallied in front of the Cipinang detention house protesting the verdict saying the verdict was politically motivated.

Ahok and Djarot Saiful Hidayat were to serve as governor and Vice Governor until October this year after they were defeated by the pair of Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno in a regional head election (pilkada) held on April 19. (T/RS5/RS1)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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