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Jakarta Post

Asfinawati: Defending minority rights

  • A. Junaidi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, May 23 2008   /  10:53 am

People may consider her a true representative of two minority groups in Indonesia: women and Acehnese, both groups that have been marginalized for years. Minority groups -- whether based on ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation -- are not determined based on numbers alone, but also on politics and social and economic factors. "I have felt how uncomfortable it is to be a minority. So I decided not to use symbols and expressions, such as assalamualaikum (a Muslim greeting), to avoid causing discomfort among minorities," Jakarta Legal Aid (LBH) director Asfinawati said in an interview with The Jakarta Post last week. Asfin, as she is usually called, first felt like a minority while attending elementary school in Bali. "There was no Islamic teacher there," she said. Religious instruction is mandatory in Indonesian schools. ...