The leader of the Democratic Party (PD) faction at the House of Representatives, Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, blasted those comparing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's stance on religious freedom to that of Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo's.
Nurhayati said it was unfair to compare a new governor like Jokowi to the President, especially as the latter was politically committed to upholding religious freedom in Indonesia.
"Pak Jokowi doesn't deserve the comparison. He is only a governor. It's all political. I don't know why people even do that because Pak SBY has proven his commitment on religious freedom," Nurhayati told reporters on Monday, referring to Yudhoyono with the latter’s initials.
Nurhayati was responding to critics, including Rev. Palti Panjaitan from the beleaguered HKBP Filadelfia church, who called on Yudhoyono to follow Jokowi and defend Lenteng Agung subdistrict head Susan Jasmine Zulkifli regardless of the religiously-driven opposition she faced.
Nurhayati, who claimed to have spent years living abroad, said Indonesia was among the most tolerant countries in the world.
"There are cases of course, but they don't reflect the government's stance on the matter. We must also understand that we cannot blame all problems on Pak SBY. All officials must work together," she emphasized.