News / Asia

Indonesia’s President to Propose Global Blasphemy Protocol

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (file photo)Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (file photo)
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (file photo)
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (file photo)
Kate Lamb
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is to address a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York Tuesday,  to propose an international protocol against religious blasphemy.  But - even as so-called Muslim rage flares across the globe - critics say the proposal is insincere and that the Indonesian president should take care of problems at home, first.  

At the height of the anti-Islamic blowback partially fueled by the provocative amateur film The Innocence of Muslims, some 1,000 Islamic hardliners staged a violent protest at the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, earlier this month.  

Designed to prevent tensions from rising further, the Indonesian government - emulating similar government reactions in Libya, Egypt, Malaysia and Singapore - blocked the film from being viewed on-line in the country.

Now, the Indonesian president is taking it a step further. During his address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, President Yudhoyono is expected to propose an international protocol against religious defamation, to prevent religious motivated violence and promote global peace.

But Phil Robertson, deputy director at Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, says the proposal is hypocritical.

“There is a high level of hypocrisy;  by saying that he is going to be the champion of religious moderation and religious tolerance at the international level, while he has basically presided over a significant decline in religious tolerance in Indonesia,” said Robertson.
Although Indonesia likes to present the image that it is a moderate, Muslim-majority democracy, only six religions are allowed.

And, in recent years, the president has attracted criticism for failing to take a stand against Islamic vigilantes and to protect the rights of religious minority groups from vengeful and sometimes fatal attacks.

Ironically, it was just a few months ago that United Nations Human Rights Commission recommended that Indonesia revoke its own blasphemy law, given the effect it has had on curbing religious freedom.

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Comment Sorting
by: Andi from: Indonesia
September 26, 2012 11:31 PM
...what about Ahmadiyah, difficulty to held church service in bogor, sunni-shiah conflict in madura island ??....your speech only to please particular religion called "peaceful religion" ....what a shame better solve religion problem in your country and action that reflect your Pancasila and bhinneka tunggal ika before talking like that in the UN Assembly

by: KampungHighlander from: Jakarta
September 25, 2012 4:24 PM
Perhaps if Indonesia didn't allow the persecution of religious minorities and atheists by gangs of religious thugs then the words of the President might carry some weight.

by: JJJohnson from: Canada
September 25, 2012 12:52 PM
Mosques blare loud speaker all night.. isn't that blasphemy (or abuse) against other religions in the country? Stop the amplified screaming - and then the President may get some respect for his opinions.
In Response

by: Daffy from: Indonesia
September 25, 2012 10:26 PM
Yudhoyono is truly a big hypocrite. We are the christian as the minority can't build our own church with our own money in the non-muslim housing complex. This will not the case for the muslim who want to build their own mosque with government funding.
In fact, it is much easier to get a permit for a massage parlor (which many turn into hidden prostitution) than for building non muslim prayer house.

He actually agreed with radical muslim movement because he didn't do anything about it. Almost all his political party coalition are from the muslim political parties.

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