Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 497,668 confirmed infections, 15,884 deaths (23 November 2020)
23 November 2020 (closed)
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1 June has been a national holiday in Indonesia since 2016. On this day the Indonesian people commemorate Pancasila Day. On 1 June 1945 Indonesia’s first president Sukarno gave a famous speech to the Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence (Badan Penyelidik Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia, or BPUPKI), wherein he outlined the Pancasila; the five principles or guidelines that should form the foundation of the huge and diverse nation.
1. Belief in one supreme God
2. Justice and civility among peoples
3. Unity of Indonesia
4. Democracy through deliberation and consensus among representatives
5. Social justice for all the people of Indonesia
Indonesia has been plagued by ethnic and religious tensions since Christian, ethnic Chinese former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (better known as Ahok) decided to run in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election. Tensions intensified when Ahok was accused of blasphemous speech (against Islam) for which he was later sentenced to two years in prison, a verdict that caused outrage across the world.
Considering these cases many conclude that hardline Islam has gained ground in Indonesia and this would be a disaster for the level of tolerance within the country because hardliners reject secular governments and any form of tolerance toward non-Islamic views.
A good example of these radical Muslims is the Islamic Defenders' Front (Front Pembela Islam, or FPI), a hardline organization that often uses violence (or the threat of violence) to impose their conservative will upon society. Strangely, the organization has not been banned by the Indonesian government even though it seriously undermines the government's monopoly on violence. In fact, during the anti-Ahok demonstrations in Jakarta between November 2016 and May 2017 it even directed its hate speech against the government.
But despite advocating conservative Islamic doctrine the founder of the FPI, Rizieq Shihab, has been named suspect in pornography case by Indonesian Police. The cleric allegedly violated Indonesia's anti-pornography law by exchanging graphic messages and pornographic pictures with a lady called Firza Husein.
However, Shihab left Indonesia in late April 2017 to go for the small pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He has never returned, presumably because he knew he is wanted by police. He failed to show up, twice, when police summoned him to come in as a witness earlier in the case. Now, he has been declared a suspect and issued a warrant for his arrest. This implies there is a serious chance he will need to go to prison (considering Indonesia's tough anti-pornography laws). He could face up to five years in prison if found guilty. Indonesia's Immigration Office now plans to revoke his passport.
But, back to Pancasila Day. Indonesian President Joko Widodo gave a speech at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs complex in Jakarta today (01/06) emphasizing that unity in diversity is the foundation for Indonesian society and must not be undermined by any religious or political organizations.
He added that the Pancasila values have recently been threatened by religious organizations that promote an Islamist political restructuring of society on social media and in mass street actions. Therefore, "I encourage Islamic priests (ulemas), clerics, priests, pastors, Hindu and Buddhist monks, educators, art workers, media, the military and police, and all other elements of society to come together to safeguard Pancasila and our way of live, represented by our national motto, 'Bhinneka Tunggal Ika' [Unity in Diversity]," Widodo said.
The government is committed to act firmly against any of these organizations or movements that promotes ideologies that undermine the Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution and Indonesia's motto, Unity in Diversity. However, the whole Ahok case actually shown the opposite. And therefore the Shihab case is a new test case. Not only is he accused of violating pornography laws but he has also repeatedly insulted the government. If the government is serious about its commitment to defend the nation's "principles of tolerance" then it should start with eliminating one of the biggest examples of intolerance.
It is also worth mentioning that the Indonesian Press Council's website was hacked by an unknown person or unknown people on Wednesday morning (31/05). The hacker - apparently a supporter of a united Indonesia - placed a text on the website: "When the Garuda is re-injured because of the provocation of evil creatures. When the slogan 'Unity in Diversity' is undermined again by the actions of the person in name of religion. When the verses of scripture become the subject of debate by people who feel they own paradise. When the heroes' struggle of the independence has been forgotten by those who feel the most meritorious. Please stop all of this disintegration, Sir. My country is not a one-religion country and does not belong to one cultural nor one class."
This unknown hacker surely knows the true spirit of Pancasila Day.