October 17, 2012
Protests Delay Indonesia's Inauguration of Christian VP in Jakarta
(UPDATED) Religious tensions continue in world's most-populous Muslim country.
Update (Feb. 19): AsiaNews notes that a second Muslim-Christian ticket is poised to win another important political post in Indonesia. According to the article, "Voters appear drawn to tickets that include moderate Muslim and Christian candidates, hoping that they might bring good government in places where officials have tended to pursue their own personal or business interests."
Yesterday Jakarta, capital of the world's most-populous Muslim country, officially installed its new leadership—including deputy governor Basuki Tjahaja, a Christian with Chinese origins.
But the inauguration, originally scheduled for Oct. 7, has not taken place without opposition. Government sources cited an administrative delay last week when they rescheduled the event, but Asia News reports that the delay was "due to protests by extremists who want non-Muslims banned from all key positions of responsibility."
Adding credence to this theory: the discovery yesterday of two policemen murdered as they investigated the bombing of a Christian politician's home.
Hundreds of members of the Islamic Defense Front rioted in Jakarta's streets last week, making good on their earlier promise to protest the election of governor Joko Widodo, a moderate Muslim, and deputy Tjahaja.
Widodo, a moderate Muslim, and Tjahaja beat outgoing Governor Fauzi "Foke" Bowo and his deputy Nachrowi Ramli in a runoff election on Sept. 20.
According to the New York Times, Indonesia has long been considered a model of religious tolerance, but recent religious tensions, including the demolition of 20 churches and protests over attacks on Christians by Muslim extremists, suggest the country may be having trouble maintaining harmony between religious groups.