National

Renowned priest protests
award for SBY

Rev. Franz Magnis Suseno, a philosopher and renowned Jesuit priest, has sent a letter to the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACF), objecting to its plans to bestow the World Statesman Award to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for promoting religious tolerance in Indonesia.

"During the eight-and-a-half years of his presidency, Yudhoyono has never told Indonesians to respect minority rights. He obviously does nothing to protect minority groups," Suseno said, as quoted by tempo.co.

In his letter, Suseno mentioned that hundreds of Ahmadis and Shiites have been expelled from their hometowns or killed because they were considered heretics.

"A question arises: will Indonesia's condition worsen and eventually become like Pakistan and Iraq, where Shiites are killed every month for religious motivations?" wrote Suseno.

He also mentioned the difficulty faced by local Christians in obtaining church permits. "Intolerance flourishes at the grassroots level," he said, as quoted by tempo.co.

Suseno questioned the ACF's deliberations in giving the award to Yudhoyono. "How come they did not ask the Indonesian people's opinion before they decided to give Yudhoyono the award?" he said.

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